POPCORN ALTERNATIVE: ROASTED PUFFED LOTUS SEEDS (CORN-FREE, GLUTEN-FREE, GRAIN-FREE, VEGAN)

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

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kris, Love the blog. Do you have a web address for Shalimar, that I might order the Puffed Lotus seeds from them?

KRIS said...

Hello, thanks for visiting! Shalimar only fulfills local orders online, but a quick search found an alternative source for you:

http://www.onlineindiangrocery.com/ramaph7oz.html

or order it from the same grocer via Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Ramdev-Makhana-Phool-7-Oz/dp/B002PXWWXS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=grocery&qid=1303236071&sr=1-1

Can't wait to hear if you try it!

Anonymous said...

Kris, thanks for finding a site from which to purchase the puffed Lotus seeds, BUT the shipping cost makes it prohibitive--amounts to $10 a bag and I can't justify the cost. Snacks seem to be the hiccup in my eating plan, especially sweets. Right now, I'm going to check out the Vegan Cadbury Creme Eggs. (I'm not vegan, but like some vegan meals.) I am keeping your blog at my fingertips and will check in once in a while. By the way, I only signed in as Anonymous because I couldn't figure out what was being asked--I am sooo technically challenged. ~~~Delma

KRIS said...

Hi Delma, yeah it would only make sense if you ordered other items from them. If you need spices, flour or rice, it would be a great way to get some lotus seeds! Otherwise, if you live in a city or outside of a major city, I'd research where there might be some Indian markets, and call them to see if they have any in stock. They're worth scouting out anyway, as they sell so many gluten-free items for half the cost of health food stores. I'd love for you to have some healthier snacks than cadbury creme eggs!

University Exam Result said...

Its my favorite food . really fantastic posting for popcorn . lovely idea i like it .

FoodBevTechGuy said...

I use a little bit of ghee to barely coat a hot pan and then in a single layer spread the phool makhana around until golden brown.
Lightly salt them and they are perfect and crunchy.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting about a non popcorn snack. I am allergic to corn so have been trying to find something to substitute my cravings for it. I am going to buy some and try it out.
Also about your Sorghum blog. I read that you have to dry them out because they have a high content of water so they actually pop. Give it a try.
Thanks again!

GLOW said...

FBTG--that sounds delicious! For some reason I've never had the same luck toasting them in a pan. Perhaps it is the type of pan? Do you use cast iron?

Anon--I'm so happy to help! I hope that you enjoy it as much as I.
Thanks for the tip about the sorghum, too! Unfortunately, I don't have a dehydrator right now, but if I get one in the future, I'll have to try.

Thanks for visiting!

Bowmanh23 said...

I am so glad I found your blog! I have a corn intolerance, but I love popcorn. A quick search on popcorn alternatives and your blog came up. I can't wait to try this! Thanks for sharing!

GLOW said...

Hi Bowman23, I've been so bad about replying to comments, so I'm really sorry! I really appreciate your feedback, and that's great that this comes up as one of the main results! I hope that means that others are happily enjoying it. I hope you have! Thanks so much.

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