Who doesn’t like popcorn? It’s tasty on its own and the fiber in popcorn keeps you full for relatively few calories. A cup of plain air-popped popcorn has only 31 calories and the fiber is known for keeping your digestive system healthy, thus prevents constipation. Having a big bowl of popcorn to snack on makes movie nights with your friends and loved ones a more enjoyable experience.
Popcorn prepared at home in an air popper or stovetop with healthy oils can contribute antioxidants and good fats while cinema popcorn is littered with butter, caramel, sugar, salt, and artificial ingredients. These should be better enjoyed only occasionally as they are high in calories and eating flavoured popcorn excessively can contribute to weight gain.
If you have never made popcorn yourself, you should give it a try. Once you’ve tried it and know how fast, easy, economical, and tasty it is, you will never buy store-bought popcorn again. Freshly-popped popcorn is one of the most satisfying and delicious snacks around and all it takes is just 10 minutes of your time.
The healthiest way to tuck into popcorn is to make it yourself at home using popcorn kernels. There are several popular ways of doing it:
- Microwave in a paper bag
- Microwave in a bowl
- Hot Air Popcorn Popper Maker
My teenage daughters tried the old-school stovetop method with a saucepan and wok and we find the wok method works best as it is large and spacious for the kernels to pop freely. Using our trusty stainless steel wok, almost every kernel popped, albeit at times there were a few kernels that failed to pop. The popcorn always turned out perfect and was crisp and amazing.
If you do not have a wok or saucepan at home, you may shop online for a hot air popcorn popper maker. They are pretty affordable.
What Is The Best Popping Oil To Use For Stovetop Popcorn?
For the perfect stovetop popcorn, use a popping oil with high smoke points such as canola oil, avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil, clarified butter, or ghee. We used extra virgin coconut oil and it gives the popcorn a ‘movie theatre popcorn’ aroma.
You cannot pop popcorn with regular butter as it will burn. You have to use clarified butter or ghee to pop popcorn that stays crispy.
Seasonings For Popcorn
Caramel, butter, sugar, salt, matcha powder, chocolate powder, Milo, Horlicks, seaweed, cheese, salted egg powder, whatever your jam is – the choice of seasoning is endless for homemade popcorn.
My daughters prefer guilt-free and low-calorie popcorn, so our popcorn is usually seasoned with just a little sea salt and Lakanto sweetener (also known as monk fruit sweetener).
Lakanto Monk Fruit Sweetener is a zero-calorie, zero-glycemic sweetener that is just like sugar but it does not affect blood sugar levels, therefore safe for diabetics and weight watchers.
Once we tried making caramel popcorn with hazelnuts and they tasted almost identical to our favourite brand of gourmet popcorn originating from the USA.
Where Can You Buy Popcorn Kernels?
Popcorn kernels are available at most supermarkets, organic shops and online stores. I bought a 250g pack each of South Africa and USA mushroom kernels from Shopee at RM6 a pack.
Recipe and Directions
- 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
- 2 tbsp. high-temperature cooking oil, such as coconut oil, avocado oil, clarified butter or ghee.
- Butter, caramel, Lakanto sugar, salt and other seasoning, for serving (optional)
- Hazelnuts or macadamia nuts (best used with caramel, optional)
- In a wok, heat the oil over medium heat (medium high if weak stove).
- Add kernels, use a spatula to spread across the base, then put the lid on. The kernels will begin to pop after a minute or so.
- Shake briefly once after 30 seconds or so to ensure even heating. Leave the wok slightly open to allow steam to escape. Popcorn can turn out chewy when steam gets trapped in the pot/wok during the popping process.
- Once the popping slows down to nearly a stop, remove the wok from the heat and let it sit for 1 more minute to give any unpopped kernels a chance to pop. Pour into a large bowl immediately.
- While the popcorn is still hot, top with butter, salt, nuts and other seasoning if desired. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator but I doubt there will be any left if you have popcorn fans at home!
This popcorn recipe is for those who have blown a fortune on cinema and store-bought popcorn. We used to spend a fortune on a certain brand of gourmet caramel popcorn with macadamia nuts. Now that we know how easy and economical it is to make our own, we will never look at store-bought popcorn again.
The healthiest way to enjoy popcorn is to make it yourself at home with minimal or no seasoning at all. The preparation is so easy and fast that you can make it every day. My 13-year old daughter likes to make popcorn during the weekends and it’s pretty mess-free with only a few utensils to wash.
Tuck into homemade stovetop popcorn either plain, or with a sprinkle of sugar and salt, or using herbs and spices such as curry powder and cinnamon for a burst of flavour. Homemade popcorn is the perfect snack for all and sundry with minimal guilt.
Health Freak Mommy is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
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