A relaxed part of the day was well spent popping popcorn in a big pot on the stove top. They pops were intermittent, and they got me excited (for I have never before popped the kernels on the stove top) and they did pop with some flavors.
Whether you’re looking for a quick afternoon snack, thinking of a movie, or a planning camping or car trip – the popcorn has you covered. Popcorn is intertwined deeply with every child’s life; be it a memory of the fun times with family and friends in a movie theater, or sleepovers and late night snack or may be just to satisfy that crunchy, savory craving. The warm fluffy popped corns provide that instant gratification and in a way they are healthier than a lot of other snacks.
My childhood memories are quite different; no movies or sleepovers or camping trips. It was not a family affair for us to pop corn kernels at home.
My memories are all outside home – out on the streets. I remember the hand pulled cart that would come by in our neighborhood during the early evening. The man would draw all the kids around the cart with just by the charm of the portable stove popping fresh popcorn and serving them warm and fluffy in hand made newspaper cups. Or the lady who sat by the street in a corner during a fair and popped them in a wok full of sand; she would later sieve the sand out and measured out the popped kernels in the cone newspaper cups. I distinctly remember the cart and the street corner, the stove and the way we kids would run to get these treats.
We are so used to the plain salted popcorn, that the idea of the adding spices to it never occurred to me till a few years back. I am not fond of the sweet caramel popcorn or the cheesy one or even the ones dripping with the buttery flavors. The simple salted ones are the ones I love. But when I saw the crispy onions and the fried peppers in this recipe from Food and Wine, it immediately got me.
Besides I got to pop the kernels for the first time on the stove.
Crispy onion, fried hot peppers, pepper flakes and the aromatic nigella for Popcorn with a spicy kick. Adapted from Food and Wine
Indian Spiced Popcorn
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 small onion, very thinly sliced
- 3 hot chili peppers, very thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons garam masala/ or any curry powder
- 1 teaspoon nigella seeds/ black onion seeds/kalonji
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3/4 cup popcorn kernels
- sea salt
In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil. Add the sliced onions and the chili peppers and fry over medium – high heat, stirring occasionally, until they are golden, about 3-5 minutes. Remove the fried onions and peppers with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
In the same pot, cook the garam masala/curry powder, pepper flakes and nigella seeds over moderate heat until fragrant, about a minute.
Stir in the popcorn kernels and toss well for all the spices to coat the kernels; cover and cook, shaking the pan every 30 seconds, until the kernels have stopped popping, about 8-10 minutes. Season the popcorn with salt and transfer to a bowl. Sprinkle the popcorn with the fried onions and chili peppers and pepper flakes, gently toss.
Serve as snacks.
Spiced up this way, with loads of flavors, these are not just a child’s treat any more. The spicy popcorn work really well with drinks and cocktails. Or serve them as some fiery Devilish Halloween Treats.
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