Popcorn Without a MicrowavePosted: June 22, 2012
Popcorn is having a bit of a moment in the foodie world, and I for one am okay with it. There’s a lot you can do with popcorn in terms of flavor, as in its plain form, it doesn’t bring much to the palate. This makes it a perfect snack food to experiment with, adding not only interesting flavor combinations, but also boosting the health factor a bit. While it’s very handy that there’s an entire blog devoted to popcorn recipes, I wouldn’t recommend a single one. The blog has been put together by the U.S. Popcorn Board, to raise awareness of its use as a healthy, whole grain snack – shame, then, that they ruin that with mounds added of corn syrup and refined oils to their recipes! I’d rather keep things simple and use up all of those interesting ingredients I’ve got filling my kitchen cupboards (and not just because we’re moving and we need to empty those cupboards out!)
Enter, Nori Popcorn:
This recipe couldn’t be simpler, and better yet, doesn’t involve a microwave. We threw out our microwave a couple of years ago and haven’t looked back. Why? Because there are proven health issues associated with microwave use. Think about the types of foods that are microwaved. More often than not, they’re processed, packaged, refined, frozen, not “real” foods. Even something harmless, like a mug of milk you want to warm up for hot chocolate, becomes damaged goods when heated in a microwave.
The case FOR a microwave, however, is clearly all about time saving. They cook things quick. Well, I’d like to counter that theory with this popcorn recipe – it takes the same, if not less, time to make my stovetop popcorn than it would to make a bag of microwave popcorn. Is it more work? Yes, if you count standing at a stove shaking around a pot for a few minutes “work”. Think of it as DIY Jiffy Pop.
I’d also like to add that this popcorn, bought as kernels, is cheaper than buying a box of ready-to-microwave stuff. I picked up a bag at Whole Foods for less than £2 (around $3) which has lasted me several bowls of the stuff!
While there are a number of flavors you can add to your popcorn that are both healthy and delicious, my favorite right now is this Japanese-inspired combination of sesame oil and toasted nori seaweed. You can buy nori in it’s raw form in sheets – it then needs toasting (held over an open flame for 1-2 seconds until it turns bright green) and then crumbling into tiny flakes. You can also buy it already ground up, making it a cinch to sprinkle on anything. This one from Clearspring in the UK is a great option; in the States, Maine Coast makes some excellent seaweed products.
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Keywords: saute snack gluten-free nut-free soy-free sugar-free vegan vegetarian wheat free
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
- 1 sheet raw nori, toasted and ground up into small flakes
First things first, toast your nori, if you have raw sheets. Using a pair of tongs, hold the sheet of nori over an open flame for a couple of seconds, quickly pulling away if it catches. Toast all over until the sheet turns bright green. Once cooled, crumble into small flakes either with your hands or grind up using a coffee grinder or small food processor.
For the popcorn, add the oil to a saucepan with a lid, along with 3 of the popcorn kernels. Place over a high heat. Once you hear the 3 kernels have popped, add the rest of the kernels. Turn the heat down slightly, put the lid on, and start shaking the pot, back and forth and side to side. Keep going, leaving it to rest over the heat for a few seconds at a time, until you hear popping. This may take a couple of minutes. Turn off the heat when the popping starts to subside. Continue shaking – this prevents burning.
Serve the popcorn warm with the toasted nori sprinkled on top and tossed together.