Most Indian homes have a tray of pickles and dips on their dining table to add extra flavours to the meal and in the same way they have elaborate and amazing looking Mukhwas trays which will have various mouth freshners which could be sweet, nutty or quite strong almost like aniseed. Mukhwas is eaten after a meal to aid digestion and freshen the mouth. Sometimes its made colourful by using food colour to some of the ingredients or coated with sugar – especially Fennel seeds. Most families have their traditional recipes and this is ours. You can leave out any of the ingredients if you do not like them.
Mix the lemon juice with 1 tsp of salt and 2 tbls of water. Add this to the fennel seeds and mix. Spread this mixture on some kitchen paper or a tea towel for a couple of hours to allow it to dry.
Divide the sesame seeds into 2 and add the green colour to one and the red colour to the second one and mix them separately. Spread these out on kitchen paper and let these dry too.
Mix some salt and 2 tbls of water and add it to the dill seeds. Again allow these to dry a bit.
Dry roast all the seeds one at a time in a wok – fennel seeds, dhana dal, sesame seeds, dill seeds until they are crispy. Keep stirring and make sure it doesn’t get burnt.
Dill seeds have a stronger taste so keep these separately in a bottle and add it to your own mukhwas if you like their taste.
In a mixing bowl, add all the dry roasted seeds (apart from the dill seeds). Lightly toast the sunflower and pumpkin seeds and add them to the mixture. Also add the colourful sugar coated fennel seeds. Now take a sieve and lightly sieve all the mukhwas. This will get rid of all the extra salt.
Let the mukhwas cool and store it in an airtight container. Take a small amount in a bottle to use daily. Enjoy a small teaspoon of the mukhwas mix after your meal.
If the mukhwas has been cooked well and is dried well, it can be stored for a long time.
Cardomom , cinnamon and cloves are also a good mouth freshners and often kept in the Mukhwas tray. Some people also have all sorts of sopari (Betel nuts) in the tray.
You can also roast the seeds in the microwave on short bursts of a couple minutes, stir and roast again. Just ensure that it doesn’t get burned.