Making Gourmet Popcorn is a Lot Easier Than You Think

Indian-popcorn-gourmetAs far as whole-grain snacks go, you can’t beat freshly popped popcorn.  But I’m not talking about chemical-drenched “buttery” microwave popcorn – I’m talking about organic plain popcorn you pop yourself and flavor any which way you’d like.  You can stick with the classic butter approach, or you can go with whatever’s on your mind and in your pantry.  I’m talking using spices, nuts, cheeses, fresh herbs, maybe even honey … popcorn can be made a million different ways.  My #1 go-to easy favorite is drizzling the popped corn with extra-virgin olive oil and dusting it with sea salt and berbere or chili powder.  A hint of cayenne pepper and a dusting of finely grated Parmesan is another sure-fire winner.  For dessert popcorn, I swap the oil for honey and the savory spices for cinnamon.

Lately, though, I’ve started adding fresh herbs and freshly squeezed citrus juice to my popcorn.  Both of those ingredients give the crunchy kernels an amazing amount of zing; lime juice is a particularly welcome ingredient.  For this batch of popcorn, I opted to add some Indian spices directly to the cooking fat.  That way, the heat expands the flavor of the spices and makes them even more savory.

Indian-Spiced Popcorn

1 T. coconut oil OR ghee
2 tsp. curry powder
1/3 cup raw, plain popcorn (preferably organic)
Lime juice from 1/2 a lime (or more if you’d like more tartness)
Fresh cilantro, minced (I like a lot of cilantro, but you may prefer just a hint)
Roasted peanuts, finely chopped (again, I like peanuts a lot, but you may want to just scatter a small handful over the popcorn)
Sea salt to taste (if the peanuts are salted, you won’t need much additional salt)

Place the oil in a large pot that has a tight-fitting lid. Heat over medium-low heat for 1 minute before adding curry powder and popcorn kernels. Place lid on pot and let kernels swell and pop, shaking pot often while holding the lid down tightly. Kernels will take about 5 minutes or so to fully pop; you’ll hear the furious sound of the kernels hitting the underside of the lid as they turn inside-out. When the barrage of sound fades to a tiny, occasional pop, spill the popped kernels into a large mixing bowl.*

Drizzle lime juice over popcorn. Toss popcorn with cilantro, peanuts, and a dash of salt. Taste to see if you’d like to add more salt (or lime juice or cilantro or peanuts) and toss one more time. Serve immediately.


* Note: if you have a popcorn popper, by all means use that instead.  I just find that I’m inclined towards keeping everything as simple as possible and using basic kitchen tools for a lot of different purposes (rather than having single-purpose items like popcorn poppers, rice steamers, etc.).

Courtesy of The Cultured Cook.

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