Simple Cooking #6: Pop, Pop, Popcorn
“But Aunty, you eat these only inside a movie hall”.
I did not know how to react to this one from a 6 year old when I offered him some of my freshly made popcorns. A little child, he had learnt to associate one thing with another. And some of the linkages are so strong, especially when it comes to food. There are associations with events, with festivals, with the school or college canteen, with a street vendor, with home town, with mom or grandmom who had lovingly cooked a dish in their special way.
But to get back to the matter of popcorns, I was desperate to find an alternative to the 2 Marie biscuits that had come to accompany my morning cup of tea. Biscuits made with refined flour and sugar and some trans fat, and coming straight out of a plastic packet from the grocery store were no longer considered good food. And so, where was the substitute? It had to come from my own kitchen. Popcorn popped into the scene. I make them myself. I enjoy the process, and seeing a huge vessel brimming with this goodness is really satisfying. Made of whole grains, it has been my staple now for some time with that morning cup of tea , the one undesirable habit that I continue to indulge in. Let's make some more today.
Corn kernels/seeds 1/2 cup
Oil/ ghee 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
It is easiest to make these in a pressure cooker after removing the weight from the vent tube.
- Put the cooker on the flame, let it warm up.
- Add the oil/ ghee.
- Add salt.
- Add the corn kernels. Turn the heat to high.
- Keep stirring till one or two corn seeds start popping.
- Close lid immediately. Corn will continue to pop inside. You can hear the sound.
- Shake the cooker 2/3 times holding the handle.
- When no sound of popping is heard from inside, put off the gas.
- Open the lid, and enjoy the sight of the freshly popped corn.
While this is the basic recipe, you can add more dash to the popcorn by adding your favourite flavours. Butter melted with some dried Italian herb, or ghee and Indian masalas mixed in works wonders. You can also make a sweet variant , the caramelised popcorn.
For caramelised popcorn
Use half of the above popcorn.
Take 4 tbsp of sugar. Put it to melt on a big thick bottomed vessel. Once melted to a light golden colour, add one tsp of butter. A pinch of salt. Stir. Put off the flame. Add 1 pinch of baking soda. Stir . Now pour in the popcorn and mix. This is all to be done quickly, so the caramel doesn't get burnt. Remember the vessel is hot and so the cooking continues even after the gas has been put off. Pour out on a flat dish and flatten it. Leave it to cool . Once cool, you can separate the corn which are stuck to each other. Taste the crispy freshly made delight.
…….And the popcorn tastes as good even without your favourite movie.! You will wonder why you did not make more.
Note: Because of the quality of the corn seeds or initial teething issues, some of the corn may not pop. These will be at the bottom of the vessel when you give it a shake and will have to be thrown away.