Ann Taylor Pittman shares her favorite technique from her new cookbook, Everyday Whole Grains, available now at bookstores and on Amazon.
This is my favorite discovery, my favorite technique in this book—and you'll see it used in several of the recipes. Yes, as the recipe title indicates, I am deep-frying whole grains. Why? First off, don't worry. If you keep the oil temperature as hot as specified, the grains don't absorb much oil: This does not take whole grains into unhealthy territory. More importantly, frying turns whole grains into the crunchiest, most wildly delicious little nuggets with amazing recipe versatility. They're great on creamy soups, in salads, on casseroles, and as breading. They're also a great substitute for nuts—good for folks with allergies.
Fried grains keep beautifully: up to a week in an airtight container at room temperature, or for 3 to 4 months in the freezer. I now always keep at least two types on hand (in the freezer)—one finer/smaller grain like quinoa, and a larger one like farro—and I'll sprinkle a little over yogurt, stir some into ice cream, top my mac and cheese with it, and use it anywhere else where I yearn for some crunch. The technique works best with quinoa, barley, farro, spelt, millet, and brown rice, and the frying time is the same for all.
Hands-on Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
3 cups cooked whole grains (see suggested grains above) 6 cups canola oil or peanut oil
1. Line a jelly-roll pan with several layers of paper towels. Spread cooked grains out into a thin layer on paper towels. Let stand 1 to 2 hours to dry out surface moisture, stirring grains occasionally.
2. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven until a thermometer submerged in oil registers 375°F. Do not use a smaller pot (moisture in the grains will cause the oil to bubble up vigorously). Add 1/2 cup cooked grains to oil; do not add more than this, or oil may bubble over. Cook 4 to 5 minutes or until grains are browned and crips; do not allow temperature of oil to drop below 350°F. Remove fried grains from pan with a fine wire mesh ladle; drain on paper towels. Repeat procedure with remaining grains, 1/2 cup at a time.
3 Great Soup Recipes and the Crunchy Fried Grain Toppings That Will Make Them Pop:
- Summer Squash and Corn Chowder: Bulgur or Millet
- Tomato-Basil Soup: Farro
- Three-Bean Vegetarian Chili: Spelt or Wheat Berries
More from Everyday Whole Grains: