20 July 2012
How to make popcorn
You need to eat more home-made popcorn.
Why? Because it's a cheap, healthy, low fat, high fiber snack that is quick and easy to make.
Here's how to make popcorn so that all of the kernels pop and there are no burnt bits or unpopped kernels.
Why? Because you want it just right with no gross bits or frustration. And it's pretty easy, once you know how.
First you need a large, heavy-bottomed pot.
Why? Large so you can make a decent batch of popcorn; heavy-bottomed so it distributes the heat evenly and holds on to a little heat when off the stove.
Pour in a little oil, just so that the bottom is covered.
Why? Too much oil is gross and will splatter everywhere as your popcorn pops; too little won't be able to heat the kernels enough.
You want it heat the oil on medium-high heat for a couple of minutes before putting your kernels in.
Why? If you drop your test kernels in they will heat gradually with the oil until they pop which won't tell you if the oil is the right temperature - you want to know that the oil is hot enough to pop the kernels without them having to sit on the heat for too long.
After a minute or so you drop your test kernels in. Wait for them to pop.
Why? Once they all pop it tells you the oil is now hot enough.
Once your test kernels pop, pour in enough kernels to cover the bottom of the pot. Shake to distribute evenly. Then you need to remove the pot from the heat and count to 30. (This is key!)
Why? This allows the hot oil to bring the temperature of the kernels up so that they are ready to pop when put back on the heat. If you sit them on the heat while this happens they can burn.
After about 30 seconds put the pot back on the heat and you will hear the kernels all start to pop at once! I like to cover my popcorn with a mesh splatter guard instead of a lid.
Why? The mesh allows steam to escape so that the popcorn doesn't get soggy but prevents the popcorn from exploding all over my kitchen.
Keep shaking the pot vigorously from side to side as the popcorn pops.
Why? This keeps the heavier unpopped kernels at the bottom and prevents any of them from sticking and burning.
After a while you will hear that all of the popping slows significantly. Because they all started popping almost at once, they will all stop popping almost at once too. Turn the heat off and keep shaking the pot for few more seconds.
Why? If you leave the heat on the popcorn will burn. The residual heat is enough to pop those last few kernels.
And there you have it - fresh popcorn made right! Feel free to season yours with plain salt, freshly ground pepper, chilli powder, curry powder, or even powdered sugar on its own or mixed with a little cocoa and / or cinnamon for a sweet treat.