Puffed rice is a modern version of a traditional Asian food called muri. Typically, muri is made by mixing rice, salt and sand in a clay stove, then straining the sand out of the rice. However, puffed rice can be made in a modern kitchen without the sand. Puffed rice is commonly used in deserts, appetizers and cereals to add crunch to the recipe. Making puffed rice is a long process. It usually takes about 24 hours, but the finished product can be stored for later use.
Soak 3 cups of sweet, sticky rice in water overnight. When it's done soaking, drain the water from the rice.
Spread cheesecloth over the bottom of a steamer basket and place the rice on top of it. Cover and steam the rice over boiling water for 40 minutes or until the rice is soft. Take rice off the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 79.4 degrees C. Cover a baking tray with aluminium foil.
Place the rice in a single layer on the baking tray. Although the rice is sticky, spread it as thinly as possible to ensure even cooking. Place in the oven.
Separate and turn the rice after it has cooked for 15 minutes. Repeat this process every 15 minutes for a total cooking time of 45 minutes.
Turn off the oven and leave the rice in the cooling oven until it is dry and hard. This typically takes about four hours, although it can be left in the oven overnight if desired.
Heat 2 1/2 inches of vegetable oil in a skillet to 190 degrees C. Remove the cooled rice from the oven.
Add 1/2 cup of rice to the hot oil. Separate any pieces of rice that are stuck together while they are in the oil. When the rice begins to change colour and rise to the top, use a small strainer to remove the rice from the oil. Repeat this step until all the rice has been used.
Drain the oil from the rice. Allow rice to cool to room temperature, then store it in an airtight container.
Be patient. Allow the rice to cool fully between each step.
Don't substitute other types of rice in this recipe. Only sweet, sticky rice will puff properly.