Do you know how easy it is to make your own kettle corn? It’s not exaaaactly like the stuff you get from the giant copper kettle, but it’s pretty close and it’s damn good. Making popcorn on the stove is, admittedly, more difficult than making it in the microwave. But it’s definitely not hard. You really only need some oil, a pan, and a little salt. From there you’ll realize that you have infinite flavoring options. You will no longer be bound to the illusion of choice between butter, movie butter, ultimate butter, light butter, etc., that dominates grocery shelves.
I’ve messed around with different cheeses and truffle oil and garlic butter and those are all really good, but I always go back to this sweet-and-spiced combination. It’s based on a cocktail nut recipe my mom makes. I can never stop eating them when they are around. Curry powder, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne, and sugar make a crunchy, savory-sweet shell on each nut. The walnuts and pecans are my favorite because they get the most sugar and spices stuck on their ridged backs.
Here we’re working the same magic with popcorn, which provides a perfectly crunchy blank canvas for a sprinkle of sugar and spice and everything
nice I want in a snack. The curry powder adds exotic complexity and is balanced by the sweet cinnamon and bright cumin. Cayenne gives just a little heat, but you can certainly adjust it based on your taste.
- ½ cup popcorn kernels
- 2 tablespoons high-heat cooking oil (I use grape seed or coconut)
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- Kosher salt
- Mix the spices together in a small bowl. Place coconut oil and 3 popcorn kernels in a large pan with a tight-fitting lid. Cover and heat over medium until 2 of the 3 kernels have popped.
- Add the remaining kernels and sugar to the pan. Cover and shake gently to distribute the kernels.
- Once popcorn starts popping, pick up and shake the pan vigorously every 30 seconds or so (use oven mitts and be careful not to burn yourself – things are HOT in there). When the popping slows, remove from heat.
- Sprinkle spices and salt (start with ½ teaspoon) over the hot popcorn. Stir well. Once the popcorn has cooled for a minute, taste a few pieces to check the seasoning.
- Serve immediately or cool completely and store in an air-tight container.