Popping rice can create a great sweet or savoury snack or dessert but it isn’t as easy as popping popcorn. Rice requires moisture in the grains and a high heat container such as a popcorn maker.
Popcorn machines can pop rice and make them into a fun snack or a garnish for desserts. Though be aware raw rice that you buy from stores does not have a lot of moisture in it and therefore if you try to pop rice like popcorn, you may end up with burnt rice.
In this article, I am going to talk about what it means to pop rice, whether it can be done in a popcorn maker and how to pop rice at home.
What Does Popping Rice Mean?
We’ve all heard of popping kernels and making popcorn, but have you ever seen rice popping? Popped rice, also known as puffed rice is a very traditional way of eating rice in many parts of Asia.
Now you might not know what popping rice means as it is not a concept that many are familiar with. Even though popped rice and puffed rice are terms used interchangeably, there is a difference between them.
When popping rice, the rice grains have their hull and bran still intact. You heat the kernel till it explodes from its hard outer shell creating an irregular shape very similar to popcorn.
The science behind popping rice is because of the moisture left inside the rice kernel, it heats up and turns into steam, which then pushes the rice to pop out of the shell when it gets too hot.
Different types of rice such as barley, amaranth, quinoa, and almost every other rice that comes to your mind can be popped using heat. The only thing is that some of these rice do not completely pop like popcorn, but do turn inside out and puff a little, making them very yummy to eat.
Popped rice is very healthy, it has a mix of high fiber, protein, and complex carbs. They give you a burst of energy with a low-calorie count, it is perfect for people who are concerned about their calorie intake but want a meal that will be filling.
Can You Pop Rice In A Popcorn Maker?
Now the question is can you use a popcorn-making machine to pop rice as well or is that not possible? Well, like mentioned before, all you truly need is a good heat source to pop rice, which is exactly what a popcorn maker is. Popcorn machines can pop rice and make them into a fun snack or a garnish for desserts.
However, it can be dangerous as well, as it requires more heat for the rice to pop, therefore you must be very careful when taking out the rice after they have been popped as it could be really hot and burn your hands.
You’d assume that just like popcorn, rice grains would pop completely and puff out like popcorn, but it is difficult to pop rice compared to a corn kernel in a popcorn maker. This is because raw rice that you buy from stores does not have a lot of moisture in it and therefore if you try to pop rice like popcorn, you may end up with burnt rice.
How To Pop Rice In A Popcorn Maker
The first person to discover puffed rice was a botanist named Alexander Pierce Anderson who was researching starch crystals. He heated starch grains, or in other words rice in an airtight glass tube until the rice started browning.
He predicted that when he would break the tube and the steam would release, a reaction would occur. Hence, he broke the tube and let out the steam from which an explosion occurred producing puffed rice.
When popping rice in a popcorn maker, you only really need two main items; a popcorn maker and rice (the starch grains). It is not that complex to pop rice, just pour the rice into the popcorn maker and wait for the rice grain to pop.
A reason why it might not pop as fast or fully as popcorn is because it does not have much moisture so just make sure that the rice you use is not completely dried up. This method is one of the simpler methods to pop or puff out the rice. Other methods such as frying them or cooking them take longer, and involves other ingredients such as adding water or oil.
For popping rice in a popcorn maker, you simply just require a good amount of heat which can create steam. No specific ingredients are required such as oil, butter, or water. The temperature at which raw rice is popped is around 240°C for roughly 30 to 25 seconds or at a temperature of 275°C for 40 to 45 seconds.
To give a pop of flavor to your popped rice, when adding the rice grains to the popcorn maker, you could also add different spices such as salt, chili flakes, pepper, garlic powder, and much more.
If you want to enjoy your popped rice as a dessert, you could add melted chocolate or caramel on the popped rice after they have been popped rather than inside the popcorn machine as that would just make a mess.
If you’re in the mood for a light snack, or something crispy to munch on, take out your popcorn maker, add in the rice, sit back and watch the rice pop.