Thursday, March 31, 2011

Masala Popcorn

Snacks of all types appeal to me much more than regular food. Sadly most snacks that are appealing are also fried or unhealthy or both. One of healthier choices in snacks that I favor is homemade popcorn. The homemade version does not contain very much fat, has a decent amount of fiber and has no chemicals unlike the microwave versions that are loaded with them. While on the topic of microwave popcorn, you may have heard that some of the chemicals used in microwave popcorn have come under scrutiny for causing health problems. If you haven't here are a couple of articles on this subject, this one from Abcnews and  this one on Oprah's site.

Ever since I read these articles I have completely stopped buying m/w popcorn. Now when the mood for popcorn strikes, I end up using the stove to make it the old fashioned way. My favorite version of popcorn is this masala one, which is a very Indianized version of popcorn  flavored with salt, turmeric and chili powder.  During the long hours of studying for college exams, this version of popcorn was something I always had on hand, simply because it was the only thing that I could make within a few minutes and it was nice to have something to munch on while studying. Now I make this for movie times or as an anytime snack..... :-) If you are looking for a fun and quick snack to make for your weekend movie, you may want to give this popcorn a try :-)

Masala Popcorn

Click here for a printable view of this recipe

Ingredients and Method to make Masala Popcorn
1 tbsp oil
1/4 cup pop corn (or popping corn as it is called in some stores)
1/8 tsp of turmeric powder
1/8 tsp of red chili powder (can be substituted with cayenne) (or to taste)
salt to taste ( I needed just a little more than 1/4 tsp)
a pinch of asafoetida powder (hing/perungayam) (optional)

In a large heavy bottomed pan, add oil and all the other ingredients. Toss or mix well, cover with a lid and place on high heat. Make sure to have the lid lifted very very slightly to allow the steam to escape.
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When the popcorn begins to pop lower heat to medium high. When the popcorn has almost fully popped and the sound of popping has slowed down. Turn off heat. Allow the popping to completely stop. Remove and serve hot or cool and store in an air tight container and serve within a day or two for the best freshness in taste.

Updated with notes :
In my opinion, adding spices to the oil coats each kernel of popcorn more evenly with the spices. That said, if you are using a lighter pan, or are uncomfortable with adding spices to the oil, leave it out, allow the pop corn to pop, then add spices, just leave out the asafoetida powder, then toss the popcorn to make sure the spices are properly mixed in. 

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