Caramel Popcorn

Friday, 9 April 2010

A tub of popcorn costs $6-7.

Richard B. McKenzie, in a book titled Why Popcorn Costs So at the Movies, estimates there's a 1,300% profit margin on movie popcorn in the US.

In Israel, it was recently proposed to outlaw overpriced popcorn (link here). Will the Israeli parliament pass the law and set a precedent? Well, I'm not holding my breath.

For me, it's not how much I pay for the popcorn but the hordes of people at the cinema. I like movies during weekends but I don't like the weekend crowds. Easy solution: DVDs and DIY popcorn.

Weekend + movie + popcorn – crowds = happiness.

(Recipe for 1 portion)

¼ cup popcorn kernels
75 g sugar
15 g butter
pinch of salt
1 tbsp toasted white sesame seeds or skinless peanuts, finely ground

Add popcorn kernels to a very hot wok over medium heat. Stir until the first kernel pops. Cover, leaving a gap for steam to escape. When popping picks up speed, reduce heat to low. When popping slows down, turn off heat. Transfer popcorn to a bowl when popping stops. Remove unpopped kernels if any.

Add sugar to the wok over medium heat. As sugar melts, swirl it around till light brown. Add butter, salt and sesame seeds or peanuts. Turn off heat. Mix till even and butter is melted. Add popcorn to caramel. Mix thoroughly with a spatula. Serve.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

silly question but when i fry the popcorn kernels, do i have to have oil in the wok?

KT said...

Hi Anon

You don't have to add oil although most (all?) recipes for stove-top popcorn I've come across have oil. I've tested popping corn with and without oil. Both work. However, adding oil makes it easier because it helps prevent the corn kernels from burning. If you want to use oil, add enough to coat the corn kernels (1 tbsp for the recipe above). But, if you use the correct heat, the burning can be prevented without oil.

When popping corn, the kernels would burn and not pop at all if the heat is too high. Or the kernels may pop before the starch inside has time to fully gelatinize. This would give small instead of puffy popcorn.

If the heat is too low, steam in the kernels doesn't build up quickly enough, and again the corn doesn't pop.

To get rid of unpopped kernels easily, let them fall to the bottom of the bowl by stirring the popcorn a bit before it's added to the caramel.


Anonymous said...

ohh.. thanks so much for your detailed explanation, appreciate it

PhantomEnix said...

Where to find corn kernels?

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