6 Refreshing Khus Khus Recipes To Keep Your Body Cool
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Khus Khus, also known as poppy seeds, are small but mighty oil-rich seeds from the opium poppy plant. These tiny seeds pack a powerful punch in Indian cuisine, where they lend a nutty crunch and subtle sweetness to desserts and curries. When ground into a fine paste or soaked in warm milk, the oils are released to create a calming and rejuvenating drink. 

Whether sprinkled atop naan bread or blended into a warming evening tea, humble khus khus seeds are an integral part of Indian culture, cuisine and traditional medicine. Their rich oils have nourished generations through their distinct sweet taste and abundant health benefits. Though tiny in size, khus khus seeds contain anti-inflammatory oils that have been used to soothe joint pain and inflammation. It boosts immunity through zinc as well. Iron improves blood flow and oxygenation. Khus Khus aids digestion with its fibre. It clears nasal congestion caused by respiratory issues like asthma. Calcium, magnesium, and copper support the nervous system. Khus Khus builds strong bones too.   

So, sprinkle some khus khus on your meals or blend them into a drink to stay cool and refreshed all summer long!    

Khus Khus Curry 

To prepare this delicious Indian curry, first soak poppy seeds in water for 10–15 minutes to soften them. Once softened, grind the poppy seeds into a smooth, creamy paste that will help thicken the gravy. In a pan, heat up some oil and add bay leaves, cumin seeds, and mustard seeds. Next, add chopped onions and ginger-garlic paste, sautéing briefly before adding khus khus paste. Gently roast the paste, turning it a golden brown colour. Then, stir in chilli powder, turmeric, and chopped tomatoes, allowing the spices to bloom for a couple minutes. Season with salt. Serve this fragrant, complexly-flavoured curry with chapatis for a delicious Indian meal.  

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Khus Khus Milk  

To make a warm and fragrant khus khus milk, first heat the kadai, and gently toast poppy seeds for a few minutes. Next, add cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg and continue roasting for another minute. Remove the kadai from the heat and allow the poppy seed mixture to cool completely so the spices do not burn. Then, add some cracked black peppercorns and a pinch of bright yellow turmeric powder. Transfer the cooled spice blend to a grinder and process it into a fine, vivid orange powder. Store this homemade masala in an airtight container. When ready to make the milk, pour it into a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the khus khus masala powder. Let the spiced milk simmer for a few minutes more until it turns a lovely saffron hue.   

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Khus Khus Barfi  

To make Khus Khus barfi, a traditional Indian sweet, first clean and dry roast poppy seeds on low heat for around 10 minutes until they start popping and turn from grey to chocolate brown. Allow them to cool, then grind into a coarse paste. Separately, roast solidified milk (mawa or khoya) in a thick pan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the oil starts to separate around the edges. Turn off the heat and add the sugar, stirring until melted. Mix in the ground and roasted poppy seeds until well combined. Quickly spread the mixture onto a greased tray, smoothing the top. Let it cool completely before cutting it into diamond shapes. Decorate with chopped nuts if desired.  

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Khus Khus Halwa   

This sweet dish is very popular during the hot summer months. The dried khus khus seeds are soaked in water overnight and then ground into a paste. This grounded paste is then cooked in ghee, along with sugar, cardamom, and water. Eating this halwa in small quantities helps maintain the temperature of the body, providing a cooling sensation to tolerate the summer heat.    

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Khus Khus Kheer   

Khus khus kheer is a cooling Indian dessert made by simmering poppy seed paste in milk and sugar. The paste is made by soaking and grinding the fragrant khus khus seeds. 

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This nutritious dessert provides a gentle and long-lasting cooling effect, perfect for finding respite from summer heat. The paste also has a high-water content, which hydrates and cools the body.    

Khus Khus Pulao  

First, cook the rice as you normally would and set it aside. In a pan, heat some oil over medium heat. Once hot, add mustard seeds and let them pop. Next, add urad dal and green chilies, frying until the dal is lightly browned. Stir in the ginger-garlic paste and sauté briefly before adding the onions. Cook the onions until they start to brown. Add khus khus and continue cooking for 2 more minutes. Finally, mix in the cooked rice, turmeric, and salt. Let the pulao simmer for 5–7 minutes so the rice can absorb the flavours. Remove from heat. Garnish with cashews or fried onions, if desired. Enjoy the aromatic rice dish with raita or a flavourful gravy.