I love little salty, spicy nibbles to go along with cocktails, wine, and conversation. Unfortunately, if I eat too many of them, I notice it eventually around my middle. Last weekend, we had our friends Sue and Jerry over for dinner. Youthful people in their early 60s and 70s, respectively, they are athletic, naturalists who enjoy a balanced lifestyle of food, drink, and exercise. Whenever we host them, I serve light as well as hearty fare. Hey, you only have so many calories to spend each day.
Sue and Jerry love popcorn and this one is a favorite of mine to make for them. It’s easy, fast and flavor packed. Despite my use of oil, it’s low-guilt food too. You can munch as much as you want along with your drinks.
Don't wait for company to make this popcorn. It's actually something my husband and I like to snack on during our daily 5pm drink wine-and-cook dinner ritual. (What I am actually doing as I finish this post.) Put out a big bowl of it for parties. A few other snacky options are at the end of this post.
I pop corn in a pot and don’t use a machine or other contraption. It’s fun, though you do need to be careful with the steam that builds up in the pot. When doubling this recipe, use a 5 to 6-quart pot. If the weather is dry, the popcorn ca store overnight in an airtight container. You can substitute 1 teaspoon of curry powder for the spices; make sure there's no salt in the pre-made spice blend or your popcorn will be on salty side.
Makes 6 cups
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup popcorn
2 tablespoon canola oil
1. In a small bowl, combine the cayenne, cumin, turmeric, pepper, and salt. Set it aside along with the popcorn near the stove.
2. Put the oil and 1 popcorn kernel in a 3 or 4-quart pan. Cover and heat over high heat, until the kernel pops. Quickly dump in the remaining popcorn and then the spices. Replace the cover.
Occasionally pick up the pan (use potholders) and vigorously shake it to ensure even cooking. When the kernels begin popping, shake frequently. When you no longer hear any kernels popping, remove the pan from the heat and give it a few more shakes for good measure.
Set the pan down and carefully remove the lid, lifting it away from you to avoid the hot steam. Pour the popcorn into a bowl and serve.
Adapted from: Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger's City Cuisine (Heart Books, 1989) cookbook.
- Furitake Caramel Popcorn (a little more sinful than this curry one!)
- Thai Melon Salad (also from City restaurant)
- Spicy Asian Chicken Wings (this would pair well with the curry popcorn for the hearty side of things)
- Sriracha and Crab Rangoon Wontons (ditto, just like the wings!)