I really miss popcorn. My cravings for it lately have been pretty unbearable. I've tried popping sorghum before, and damn, those one or two kernels that actually popped were mighty tasty, but the other hundred or so dormant little dudes were quite a tease. Sometime last year I came across a large bag at a local Indian market* labeled "Phool Makhana", and the translated label on the back said "puffed lotus seeds". I was intrigued, and my brain immediately decided that it might be the perfect popcorn substitute. I tried some from the bag; they were weird and chewy, with a subtle sweet aftertaste. I decided to try toasting them in oil in a pot like you would popcorn with no success. They remained strange in texture, they tasted nothing like popcorn. Research online taught me that they are normally stewed in dals and other savory dishes, but that wasn't what I was after. I closed up the bag, and it remained pushed to the back of the shelf until last week.
My recent resurgence in cravings led me to take the bag down again and give it another go. This time I thought of coating them in oil and toasting them in the oven; this time my dreams came true. Roasted puffed lotus seeds end up tasting just like popcorn, the texture is completely convincing, and it's so fast and easy that it hardly even requires a recipe. I've shared this with friends who were also really surprised and excited...we were equally addicted to the snack. You will be happy to know that I have also come up with a cereal recipe with them that I will share with you soon! For now, though, enjoy fulfilling your popcorn cravings with a new gluten-free, grain-free, corn-free snack.
NO-CORN POPCORN (ROASTED PUFFED LOTUS SEEDS)
PUFFED LOTUS SEEDS
GRAPESEED OIL TO COAT
SEA SALT & SEASONINGS OF YOUR CHOICE TO TASTE
PREHEAT OVEN TO 400 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT. POUR THE LOTUS SEEDS INTO A BOWL, POUR ENOUGH OIL IN TO COAT, STIR. LAY OUT ON BAKING SHEET, BAKE FOR 5-7 MINUTES OR UNTIL SLIGHTLY GOLDEN ON AT LEAST ONE SIDE. SEASON WITH SEA SALT, DULSE OR SEAWEED, NUTRITIONAL YEAST, OR WHATEVER ELSE SUITS YOUR FANCY.
*These were purchased at Shalimar in Central Square, Cambridge