If you have mastered the popping of corn, chances are you’re ready to add other crunchy, delicious, whole grains to your snack repertoire. It turns out that this is very easy to do, as most whole grains pop and puff in a manner very similar to popcorn.
Photo by Ipshita B.
To determine which grains popped most pleasingly, Sam Worley of Epicurious threw a whole bunch of different specimens in a pot over high heat and shook ’em all around for a few minutes. These were the major takeaways:
- The pan has to be hot. Worley heated a four-quart sauce pan over high heat until almost smoking before adding the grains. If you’re not sure it’s hot enough, just flick a bit of water in there. If it sizzles and evaporates almost immediately, you’re good to go.
- It doesn’t take very long. Just toss a handful of grains — you still want to be able to see the bottom of the pan — and shake them while they cook (as you would popcorn), letting them puff and pop (uncovered) for one to two minutes. Once the noise dies down, remove them from the heat.
- It works with almost any grain. Worley had great success with a bunch of different grains, including barley, wheat berries, millet, freekeh, farro, sweet brown rice, amaranth, and quinoa. Some grains pop more dramatically than others — sorghum acts a lot like popcorn, and should be cooked in a covered vessel — but all puff up into crunchier versions of their former selves.
Once everyone has popped off, you can eat the grains as a snack, stir them into yogurt, or use them as a salad topping. (Epicurious even has some decadent dessert applications in the link below.)
Here’s How to Really Get It Popping [Epicurious]