Popcorn is everyone's go-to snack, be it for weekend movie marathons, DVD nights or even an exciting baseball or basketball game streamed live on TV. It is also a healthy snack for kids and adults.
This January 19 Guides would like to wish all our readers a very fun and popping Popcorn Day with five recipes for delicious home-made popcorn.
Warning Avoid microwave popcorn bags at all costs; they're extremely unhealthy. The bags used, the artificial flavours and the emulsifiers have all been proven to cause various health problems.
How to make your pops on the hob
It will take you all of 5 minutes to get crisp popcorn on the stove, which is also a healthy snack, until you add a dollop of butter, sweet caramel or chocolate over it – no judgement here!
What you will require for two medium servings or one large serving
1. A heavy-bottomed saucepan deep enough to hold the popcorn (3-4 quarts)
2. Coconut oil, canola oil or vegetable oil – oils that have a high smoke point and can withstand high temperatures.
3. Popcorn Kernels – 1/2 cup
4. Salt to taste
Heat 3 tablespoons of your preferred oil on medium-high heat for 5-10 seconds and add pop corn kernels into the oil in an even layer.
Shake the pot around around as the kernels start popping all at once. Keep the lid slightly open to allow steam to escape which will keep the popcorn crisp. Give an occasional shake until the popping sounds are a few seconds apart.
Take the saucepan off the hob and remove the lid to immediately transfer the popcorn into a deep bowl. You can sprinkle salt after this or add some into the oil before you cook them.
Microwave Option If pressed for time, put the kernels in your standard brown paper bag; spray some oil or add a dollup of butter, shake, rattle and roll up the opening of the bag and pop it in the microwave until the popping slows down to several seconds apart.
Roasted coconut, dark chocolate and a hint of sea salt is a healthy combo
What you need Popped popcorn, 1 cup of shredded coconut (unsweetened), half a cup of dark chocolate chips (60% cocoa) or milk chocolate chips, one or two tablespoons of coconut oil, sea salt (optional)
Process Toss the coconut onto a non-stick pan over medium heat and roast it. You should be working towards a golden colour; remember to stir constantly to avoid it burning. Remove from heat.
Put chocolate chips and coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in the microwave. Add one tablespoon of oil first; add more if necessary later. Check and stir every thirty seconds until chocolate is smooth.
Place popcorn on baking tray or bowl and toss with roasted coconut and drizzle with chocolate. Add salt to taste.
Toss with chili and drizzle with butter or cheese to bring it all together
What you need Popped popcorn, a teaspoon of cinnamon powder, chili seasoning, salt, butter
Process Take a small bowl and make your own chilli seasoning. Mix black pepper, cayenne pepper, red chilli powder, onion or garlic powder, coriander powder, curry masala or your preferred combination of these and lightly roast this mixture on a non-stick pan without oil so as to release the flavours. This should not take more than 30 seconds on a medium high flame.
Toss the popcorn with the chilli mix and the cinnamon powder. Also add salt to taste.
Take three tablespoons of butter and heat in the microwave or pan and lightly drizzle over the popcorn.
Cheese Option Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the popcorn on a baking tray and sprinkle finely-grated cheese on top, bake for one to two minutes, immediately toss and serve. Less is more with cheese on home-made popcorn.
3. Caramel Delight (No sugar)
Making caramel with honey or jaggery is healthier than processed sugar
What you need Popped popcorn, half to one cup honey or agave, two tablespoons of peanut butter (unsalted), salt
Process Heat honey in a saucepan over a medium-low flame and stir until it reaches boiling point. Take the pan off the heat and add the peanut butter constantly stirring so it melts into the honey.
You can put the pan on a low flame in case the honey starts to cool. Immediately drizzle over popcorn, toss and set to cool at room temperature or in the fridge. Add salt to mimic the classic salted caramel popcorn.
Jaggery Option Another way to get healthier caramel is by using jaggery, which is dried sugar cane juice, and it is healthier because it is raw sugar, which has not been refined or processed. Heating in a pan will give you very sweet yet healthier caramel. Drizzle over popcorn and enjoy.
4. Date Night Popcorn
Vanilla essence and almonds bring balance to the sweetness of dates
What you need Popped popcorn, one teaspoon of vanilla extract, half a cup of almonds, half a cup of dates (pitted), two to three tablespoons of coconut oil
Process Roast the almonds lightly without oil and keep a few aside. Put the rest of the almonds in a blender or food processor with dates, coconut oil and vanilla extract. Blend until smooth. You can adjust the amount of coconut oil as required to get a smooth consistency.
Mix in with the popcorn and stir until uniformly spread. Roast the popcorn for a few minutes in the oven to remove any moistness and set aside to cool. Cut up roasted almonds kept aside from earlier and sprinkle over the top.
5. Spicy Chocolate Popcorn
This recipe is the ultimate comfort food with creamy yet spicy chocolate
What you need Popped popcorn, 3/4 cup of Nutella, cayenne pepper or ancho chile powder, cumin, instant coffee, sea salt, coconut oil
Process In a small saucepan over a low flame heat the Nutella with half a tablespoon of oil. As it melts, stir in two teaspoons of cayenne pepper or ancho chile powder, a dash of cumin and some salt. Add more oil if you want a thinner sauce.
Place your popcorn in an even layer on a baking tray or butter paper and drizzle the mixture on. Wait to cool or set in fridge. Once it sets, you can crack any that have stuck to each other and serve in bowls.