In several parts of India, after a round of desserts there is a common tradition of ending a meal with paan (betel leaf) and mukhwas. Mukhwas is an after-meal snack or digestive aid widely used as a mouth freshener. Unlike the common idea of mouth freshener which is associated with mint or mint sprays, mukhwas generally contain various seeds and nuts, like fennel seeds, anise seeds and sesame seeds to name a few. Indian meals are divided in multiple courses and is heavy is nature, therefore mukhwas/mouth fresheners become an essential part of the meal, as it acts both as a digestive aid after a heavy meal and breath freshener. Several Indian restaurants too serve mukhwas after the meal.
You can make these mouth fresheners at home too. They are easy to make, inexpensive and all it takes is just 15 minutes. Here are some ideas -
1. Fennel Seeds: One of the most common ingredients used in these mouth fresheners are roasted fennel seeds. These seeds make sure you end your meal on an aromatic and flavourful note. Apart from that the seeds contain anethole, an antibacterial compound that kills and destroys, bacteria, fungi and yeast buildup in the mouth. The best part of making these mouth fresheners at home is the room to experiment. You can pick from a variety of other ingredients like cinnamon, cardamom, clove, roasted sesame seeds, coconut shreds.
Fennel seeds contain anethole, an antibacterial compound; Image credit: Istock
2. For the sugary goodness you can also chose to add some misri dana (sugar cubes) and gulkand or rose petal jam and tutti frutti (a colourful confectionery containing various chopped and usually candied fruits). It is advisable for diabetic patients to stay away from these sugary ingredients.
3. Take about two cups of fennel seeds into a skillet, dry roast on low heat for five minutes and set them aside. Fennel seeds are flavourful and has a slight sweet taste of its own but if you are still missing the sweetness, you add some mishri dana (sugar cubes) as per your liking.
4. Give a colourful touch to your mouth freshener with the sugar coated fennel seeds. Add these to the roasted fennel seeds and sugar cubes and chomp on the aromatic and flavourful surprise.
5. Coconuts shreds to the mix: In a mood to experiment? Try this mouth freshener loaded with digestive goodness of fennel seeds and sesame seeds and health benefit of roasted coconut. In a skillet roast mildly a handful of fennel seeds, sesame seeds and coconut shreds, separately, and set them aside. And finally add in the sweeteners into the mixture. Store in an air tight container.
Use gulkand, fennel seeds, coconut shreds; Photo Credit: Istock
6. Gulkand and tutti frutti: Gulkand, a sweet preserve of rose petals, holds high regard in Ayurveda. It is known to treat mouth ulcers, and reduce acidity, gastritis and aids digestion. For a sweet addition to the mouth freshener you can also add a few tablespoons of gulkand in the mixture of roasted seeds. A handful of tutti frutti candies will further take up its sugary quotient. The mix is not particularly recommended for diabetics.
7. Dried ginger powder, cardamom and melon seeds: This one is a seed-fest. Its healthy, it is easy to make, and flavourful. Dry roast the seeds (fennel, flaxseeds, melon seeds, white sesame seeds) separately and add digestion-friendly clove, ginger powder, and cardamom powder to the mixture and blend well. And there you have it. Your healthy mukhwas to end a healthy round of meal.
Have more ideas of preparing interesting mouth fresheners? Do share them with us. Till then try this DIY ideas and enjoy the fresh and flavoursome goodness.