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Crunchy Fried Spelt

Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Kay Clarke

Hands-on time 30 mins
Total time 2 hrs, 30 mins

Serves 18 (serving size: about 2 tablespoons)

This technique--which works with any cooked grain--was my favorite discovery of the whole book project. Frying turns whole grains into wonderfully crunchy, wildly delicious, nutty nuggets; it's a real game changer. Fried grains freeze beautifully, and there's no need to thaw, so I now keep them on hand--a larger grain such as spelt or farro and a finer grain such as quinoa or millet. The crisp bits are fantastic on yogurt or ice cream, as a topper for casseroles or creamy soups, or anywhere you want a little crunch. They're also a great substitute for nuts--good for folks with allergies. And don't worry: When the oil is heated to the right temperature, the food doesn't absorb much.


  • 3 cups cooked spelt (about 1 cup uncooked grains)
  • 6 cups canola oil or peanut oil

Nutrition Information

  • calories 72
  • fat 3.4 g
  • satfat 0.2 g
  • monofat 2 g
  • polyfat 0.9 g
  • protein 2 g
  • carbohydrate 8 g
  • fiber 2 g
  • cholesterol 0.0 mg
  • iron 0.0 mg
  • sodium 0.0 mg
  • calcium 4 mg

How to Make It

  1. Line a jelly-roll pan with several layers of paper towels. Spread spelt 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 over high heat until a thermometer submerged in oil registers 375°. (Do not use a smaller pot; moisture in the grains will cause the oil to bubble up vigorously.) Add 1/2 cup spelt to hot oil; cook 4 to 5 minutes or until grains are browned and crisp. (Maintain oil temperature at 375°, and fry in small batches.) Remove fried spelt from pan with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining spelt, 1/2 cup at a time.