Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Chile-Lime Popcorn

I have three words to say this evening: Chile Lime Popcorn.  You heard me.  Be prepared to be astounded. 

After a long-time addiction to Newman’s Own microwave popcorn, I’ve recently started making popcorn the old-fashioned way, on the stove in a heavy pot with a little oil.  It’s easy, inexpensive, and it tastes like the popcorn of my childhood.  Stove-popped pocorn is also a versatile canvas for letting your flavor imagination run wild.

I’ve had fun seeking out different kinds of popcorn kernels, and this organic multicolor blend from Fairway is particularly festive.

I was craving these avocado oil potato chips with chile and lime the other night, but it was too dangerous a temptation to open an entire bag myself without anyone here to share it with me. Instead, I decided to play around with those flavors of my favorite chips and transpose them to popcorn.  I figured that it would be less hazardous to my diet but equally satisfying in the salty-snack department.

It was an experiment that paid off big-time.  As the popcorn kernels exploded into action in the pot, I mixed up a blend of chipotle and ancho chile powders, garlic powder, ground coriander and salt.  I drizzled the popcorn with a bit more olive oil so the spice mixture would adhere to the kernels more evenly, and I shaved lime zest over it all.  It was heaven in a huge bowl.

Who needs potato chips when you can have something that tastes like this?

Three Years Ago: Asian Cabbage Slaw
Four Years Ago: Table For One

You can use your favorite chile powder for this.  I especially like using chipotle chile powder for this with a pinch of ancho chile powder for an extra kick.

3 to 4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
½ cup popcorn kernels

½ teaspoon chile powder, or a pinch more if you like it really spicy
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
The zest of 1 lime

In a large heavy-bottomed pot with a lid over medium heat, add 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil along with a few popcorn kernels.  Cover with the lid and when you hear the kernels pop, add the remaining popcorn kernels.  Shake the pot so all the kernels are coated with oil, and cover with the lid. 

Meanwhile, mix the chile powder, garlic powder, ground coriander and salt together in a small bowl. 

The kernels will begin to pop rapidly over the next 4 to 5 minutes.  Shake the pot once or twice throughout the popping process.  When the popping has slowed to several seconds in between pops, remove from heat.  Carefully tip popcorn into a large bowl.

Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle with chile spice mixture.  Toss to evenly coat, and then sprinkle with lime zest.  (I usually zest the lime directly over the popcorn.)  Taste for seasoning and enjoy immediately.  Makes about 7 to 8 cups chile-lime popcorn.

This is the 3-year-old future Kitchen Fiddler on nightly popcorn duty.  
Doesn’t everyone put on a long dress to make popcorn?!


Anonymous said...

How do you zest a lime?

--culinary-impaired percussionist

Anonymous said...

Awesome! And, I know it rocks cause I've had some!!

louise said...

My favorite tool for creating fresh citrus zest is a Microplane grater, which grates the citrus peel effortlessly and produces a really fine-textured zest. The Microplaneis also much easier to clean than most typical box graters. It's one of the MVPs in my kitchen, and I use it on a daily basis. Check it out here!