Fox Nut Pops topped with a garlicky nutritional yeast mix makes an excellent snack that’s a lot more better-for-you than regular popcorn!
Yup, I’m a popcorn fiend, and I will not lie. I go through more popcorn per week than the average person. My microwave is forever splattered with popcorn stains (I add turmeric to mine while popping, for flavor and color, but we all know the deal with turmeric and stains) that just won’t come off and my husband hates me for it.
So, when I tell you that these Fox Nut Pops are faster, better and waaaaay less messier, you better believe it.
If you’ve never tasted these, or if you’ve never even heard of these, it might be a little surprising to hear that something like popcorn comes out of a water lilly seed pod. But it does. While I did not grow up eating these (I’m new to fox nuts as well, had my first taste just about a year ago), I’m told that it is used in Indian cooking, both as a snack, and as a ‘protein’ of sorts in curries. I’ve since had them both ways, and while I’m not a fan of their curry-soaked, soppy state, I am exceptionally partial to these as a crisp, air-popped snack.
Fox Nuts Nutrition
Despite being called a ‘nut’, Fox nuts are actually a ‘seed’ – people have got to start naming things better! Can you imagine the mayhem at the nut allergy convention when this is served at snack time?!?!
Here are some other names by which fox nuts are known (it’s actually a seed, not a nut): Euryale Ferox, Euryale, Lotus Seed, Makhana, Phool Makhana, Gorgon Nut.
Disclaimer: I’m not a certified nutritionist and these statements must be treated only as a guide.
Fox Nuts are a low-glycemic food that has been long used in Ayurveda and Chinese medicine for a myriad of purposes. Here are some notable benefits:
- It is an anti-oxidant and was used to delay signs of aging – wrinkles, graying, etc.
- It is high in fiber, so, hello, regulated bowel movement!
- It has calming properties, hence can help with insomnia and palpitation.
- Helps relieve arthritis symptoms.
- It is an astringent food, that has specific benefits to the kidney’s function.
- Has 10% protein, and minerals like sodium, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus.
- Their low-sodium and high magnesium content makes it a good snack for those with diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Now that we’ve dealt with the nutrition, let’s talk taste. It tastes like popped corn, without the corn smell. Don’t worry, that’s not really a bad thing.
Season it the same way you would your bowl of popcorn, air-popped fox nuts taste neutral enough to take any flavor without complaint or contrast. They’re quite nice that way.
“Cheese topping, anyone?”, said the vegan.
That golden stuff you see coating my bowl of fox nuts? – that’s a blend of nutritional yeast, garlic w/ parsley and paprika. It’s what we vegans call a ‘cheese topping’, although there’s practically no cheese in there.
Why call it cheese then?
Coz we’re being sneaky!
Nutritional yeast has a flavor that’s a lot like cheese. It also happens to be quite nutritious (hence the name, I believe!), rich in naturally occurring B vitamins, even if you bought the unfortified version. It’s a complete protein – has all the nine amino acids that humans need daily, and it has trace vitamins. Read more about the awesomeness of nutritional yeast here. There’s enough data there that says that it’s not just for vegans, but for everyone!
I also include garlic and paprika in my seasoning. At this point, if you don’t like garlic in everything, we really can’t be friends. If you don’t care about the paprika, that’s ok, leave it out, and we’ll be fine. But you must be inclusive of garlic.
See that fluffy popped interior? Remind you of popcorn? Told ya, it’s quite the same airy thing.
Next movie night, for a welcome change, plop yourself on the couch with a bowl of these Fox Nut Pops, put your feet up and enjoy yourself! You. Deserve. It.
- In a small blender, combine the seasoning ingredients: nutritional yeast, paprika, garlic powder and salt. Blend for a few seconds until smooth. Set aside.
- In a large heavy bottomed pan, heat 1/2 tbsp oil. Add the air-popped fox nuts, reduce heat to low and stir continuously, until the fox nuts are crisp. Remember, they turn more crisp as they cool.
- Toss the remaining oil, remove from heat and transfer into your serving bowl. Add the seasoning and toss to coat.
- Serve immediately, or store in a clean, airtight container for upto 2 weeks.
- Buy pre-popped fox nuts. I find them at my local Indian grocery store. Asian stores may also carry them.
- There is almost always leftover seasoning at the bottom of the bowl. Use it to season your pasta (white sauce) for a vegan 'cheesy' kick!