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Spicy Puffed Rice Snack

Ease of Preparation: Easy

Preparation Time: 20 min

Cook Time: 10 min

Servings: makes about 3 cups

Recipe By: Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid

From:  Seductions of Rice
Used with permission of Workman Publishing Company

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Spicy Puffed Rice Snack

This easily assembled snack food has only one problem: it's so delicious that you and your guests will go through piles of it. It is traditional in Bengal, eaten in handfuls from a large bowl. It has complex flavor as well as fresh crunch from the combination of spicing and finely chopped tomato and cucumber. The puffed rice helps all the flavors blend.

2 cups puffed rice
1 teaspoon mustard oil or  peanut oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
1/4 teaspoon nigella seed
Pinch of  anise seed
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 cup grated unsweetened fresh, frozen, or dried coconut
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2  jalapeno chiles, seeded and finely chopped
1  large shallot, finely chopped
1  small plum tomato, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped European cucumber
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Place the puffed rice in a large bowl.

In a heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the mustard seeds, cumin, nigella, anise, and turmeric, stir briefly, and then cover until the mustard seeds have stopped popping. Pour the oil and seasonings over the puffed rice and stir and toss to coat.

Wash out and dry the skillet, then return to medium-high heat. Add the coconut and stir constantly until the coconut turns a light golden brown. Add to the puffed rice mixture, then add the cayenne and toss to mix well. (The recipe can be made ahead to this point and kept in a covered container in a cool place for several days.)

Shortly before serving (the rice will get soggy if the tomatoes and cucumber are added more than an hour ahead), add the remaining ingredients and toss to blend well.
Chef Suggestions
You can reduce the heat by cutting back on the chiles and cayenne.
Nutrition Facts
As prepared, each serving contains 50 calories, 3g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 200mg sodium, 8g total carbohydrate and 1g protein.

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