Toasted (Puffed) Quinoa

I saw a recipe recently that called for “Puffed Quinoa”, and with it were a number of comments where people asked “where do I get that?”.  A quick google search showed I could buy it from Amazon, of course, as well as get it from a number of local health food stores.  I also found a recipe to make it myself, which I decided to try, with some slight modifications.

1. Pour as much quinoa as you’d like into a bowl, and let soak in water for a while. (One recipe said rinse it, another said soak. So I soaked for a while, which was the time it took me to mow the lawn. Call it an hour.)
2. Put some cheesecloth in a strainer, and drain the quinoa.
3. Spread the seeds out, and let dry overnight. Or put in the oven at a very low heat for a couple of hours, mixing occassionally. Be sure it’s low enough to not cook, just dry. I did it at 100 degrees, as low as my oven goes.

Seeds on cloth

Soaked quinoa seeds drying on the cheesecloth, on a cooling rack to let air underneath it.

4. In a saucepan with a good lid, heat on medium about a tablespoon of oil, enough to cover the bottom. Pour enough of the quinoa seed in to make a single layer on the bottom.
5. Cover, and shake just like if you were making popcorn, until you hear them start popping.

The quinoa in my small saucepan. I like a clear lid so I can see what’s going on.

6. When the popping sound slows down, they’re done.
7. Repeat as needed to finish up as much as you need.

A nice browned and toasted seed.

In my opinion, this is much more toasted than it is puffed. But for the recipe I was looking at, some sort of granola bar, it will be perfect.

I tried toasting three different ways.
- With the oil worked best. I went really light on it, since I don’t like to have too much.
- With nothing worked okay. I ended up burning this batch, I think because I got the heat too high.
- With cooking spray. This worked about as well as the oil, and given the choice, I’d rather oil “real” oil to cook with, since I can see how much I’m actually using.
- I didn’t try with butter, but I would imagine that would work well.

As for it “popping”, I don’t believe that’s what happening. I think the sound is just the seeds cracking from the heat, similar to how coffee does when you roast it. However, it does seem to “pop” a bit as the seeds split. After the first 2 batches, I didn’t bother with the lid, and just used a spoon to stir. A couple sees got out of the pot, but not like if I were doing popcorn.

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