There is nothing like a big bag of popcorn smothered in butter to kick off a night at the movies. But, if you don’t own a popcorn machine, your options for truly delicious popcorn is sparse, with microwaveable bag popcorn being generally too salty (and, let’s face it, does anyone really know what’s in that stuff anyways?) and most other instant varieties being costly and/or wasteful for what you get.
But, not to fear! I have the perfect solution for your weekend movie nights: Stovetop popcorn made in a pot!
Of course, today’s recipe won’t require you to trek through a jungle or sit on a 2000 degree rock by a volcano to create some truly delicious popcorn… unlike Toriko and his search for BB corn! In episode 20 of Toriko, Toriko and Terry go in search of the elusive BB corn, which apparently grows from an immensely giant corn plant somewhere in the jungle.
After finding the corn, Toriko takes a kernel to cook it on the super hot rocks near a volcano…. after days of waiting and cooking, the corn finally explodes open, resulting in giant pieces of popcorn enough for a hundred people.
But, not to worry… today’s popcorn recipe won’t be nearly as arduous to make!
About the recipe:
Popcorn can be made in a popcorn machine, but if you don’t have one, don’t want to buy one, and can’t think of where you would store it, then this recipe will work perfectly for you… Because the only equipment required is a pot. Seriously. You can do this.
For this recipe, use a large, stainless steel pot. Do not use a non-stick pot, because the high heat used to heat the oil may damage its non-stick layer. The recipe makes about 5 quarts of popcorn (20 cups), so you might want your pot to be about as big too. But, it’s not too necessary. I don’t have a stainless steel 5 quart pot, so I use a medium 3 quart pot and just dump out the popped corn into a bowl when the pot becomes too full.
Though, it’s probably better if you use a pot appropriate to the amount of popcorn you’re making since opening up the lid will lower the temperature inside the pot. Anyways, it’s your call. Just do your best and play it by ear, and I’m sure it’ll be fine.
The key to making popcorn is getting the oil hot enough to pop the corn, and then shaking the pot gently, but constantly. The shaking will help to bring the unpopped kernels down to the bottom of the pot where the heat is. If you find that a lot of steam and condensation is forming in your pot, and that this moisture is resulting is less than crispy popcorn, you may also want to keep the lid ajar so that the steam can escape. Only open the lid when the popcorn begins to pop in earnest.
Once you have the basics down, you will be able to adjust the amount of popcorn you want as desired.
About the ingredients:
I generally buy popping corn in bulk from somewhere like Wholefoods – if only because it allows me to buy exactly the amount I need at the time. I don’t like keeping the corn too long in the pantry since, like any other ingredient, it can get old and stale if left unused for a long time. Any type of popping corn will work for this recipe.
Canola oil is what I tend to use to make popcorn. You could use another type of oil, but just make sure that it has a high smoke point – meaning that the oil can take a high temperature before it begins to smoke. For this reason, do not use extra virgin olive oil, which has a low smoke point. Other possible oil choices could be grape seed oil or corn oil. For a list of oil smoke points, here’s a link to a chart on wikipedia.
Makes 2 large servings (about 5 quarts or 20 cups of popped corn)
- 1/2 cup popping corn
- 2-3 tbsp vegetable oil, or enough oil to thoroughly coat the bottom of your pot
- 2-4 tbsp butter (adjust amount to suit your tastes)
- Salt to taste
1. Heat vegetable oil on medium high in a pot until shimmering and very hot, but not smoking.
To test the oil, place a couple kernels of popping corn in the oil, and cover the pot with a lid. Once you hear them pop, add in the remaining 1/2 cup of popping corn to the pot. Replace the lid immediately.
2. Swirl the popcorn kernels around the pot to coat them in the hot oil. Continue to swirl the kernels around the pot every so often, until the popcorn begins to pop, about 1-2 minutes.
3. When the popcorn begins to pop in earnest, gently and constantly shake the pot over the heat source. Put the lid ajar slightly if you wish to release some of the moisture and steam from the pot. Continue shaking the pot until the popping slows to several seconds per pop.
4. Remove from heat and pour your popcorn into a large bowl. In a small bowl (microwave) or saucepan (stovetop), melt the butter and pour it over the popcorn, mixing to distribute it evenly. Season with salt.
Serve with your favourite (anime) movie.