After last weeks post on popping corn, I had to mention popping other grains (its just how my mind works). And I have tried a couple times to get this right; the last time was when I was working on parching corn. I have had a couple failures with popping wheat, and a couple of successes.
The difference in what I call success and what I consider a fail is the answer to the questions would I eat this, and if I would eat it, is it what I am eating worth the effort it took to get it.
Popped corn pops because the hard shell keeps some moisture inside the kernel so when its heated the steam bursts the shell inside out When popping wheat there is not enough moisture to do this, and even if their were the shell would not turn inside out like corn. Don’t think of popped wheat as smaller popcorn; think more along the lines of mini corn nuts.
The key to this recipe is to introduce water inside the kernel, when I tried popping wheat without first doing so; the wheat burned and made little charcoal BB’s. There are two ways of soaking the kernels, and which you choose is solely up to you. You may either soak the kernels for 12 hours or boil them for one and a half hours.
One last thing before the recipe, I had some comments that this wasn’t popped wheat it was fried wheat, but both are technically true. We get the wheat to pop open by frying it. (we also fry popcorn, we just use a lot less oil per kernel).
- Soak 4 cups soft whole wheat in cold water for 24-30 hours. (Have water 1 inch above wheat.) or boil for 1 ½ hours (keep replacing the water or you’ll get a mess).
- Drain and rinse well.
- Blot with paper towel to remove excess moisture (alternatively you can let sit for an hour or two and stir every 15 minutes or so to help it drain).
- Heat 3″ of oil in a deep, heavy pan to 450EF.
- Pour 2/3 cup of wheat into a strainer and lower into hot oil.
- After oil quits bubbling and settles down, cook for exactly 30 seconds.
- Remove strainer from hot oil and spread wheat onto paper towels.
If you want to season your wheat, do so while it is hot. I prefer cayenne pepper and cinnamon, but you can use garlic powder, cheese powder, or almost anything. The wife says it like eating grape nuts, and you could leave it plain and eat as a breakfast cereal with milk and honey, or use it like bacon bits on a salad.