Monday, 5 April 2010

Nigella's Party Popcorn

This is the other recipe I made from the Christmas episode of Nigella Express, Nigella's Party Popcorn. I have never made popcorn in a pan before. I have always been a fan of the microwave bags (despite their propensity for leaving unpopped kernels behind) and if I had ever wanted to pop the kernels from scratch, we had a popcorn maker. The popcorn maker met its maker during our recent move, as some of its parts had gone missing and I couldn't remember the last time I'd used it. Then I came across so many wonderful spiced and flavoured popcorn recipes.

Pop in a bag popcorn doesn't work for these recipes, because unless you go through the bag and separate the popped from the unpopped kernels, you just can't get the nice consistency of popcorn that you need. Nigella made it look really easy on the show, and I do have a nice large pan with a lid so I thought I'd have a crack at it. It turns out that it's just as easy to burn popcorn on the stove as it is in the microwave and popping on the stove can be quicker than the microwave! I was trying to melt the butter mixture while the popcorn was popping and I wanted to stir everything together before shaking my pan, but by the time I got to shake the dish (no more than 30 seconds), the pops had pretty much stopped and the dreaded burnt popcorn smell was starting. Luckily, there was lots of popcorn and the top part was fine.

Nigella says that the popcorn is "zingy and packed with flavour" and she's right. It was a curious combination of flavours - not really savoury and definately not sweet, quite salty but not too much so and definitely moreish. You taste it and think that it doesn't taste how you would expect, but then you realise that it's a quite pleasant combination and you find yourself heading back for more.

Party Popcorn
from Nigella Express

(I halved this recipe, the full quantities are shown below)

2 x 15 ml tbs wok oil
200g unpopped popcorn kernels
50g butter
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground paprika
4 tsp table salt
4 tsp caster sugar

Pour the wok oil into the biggest pan you have with a lid, and place over high heat, add the popcorn and quickly put on the lid.

Let the popcorn pop, shaking the pan every now and then to keep the kernals moving. You will hear it but don't be tempted to look, unless you want to get shot at, and once it has stopped popping - a couple of minutes or so - take the pan off the heat.

Melt the butter with the spices, salt and sugar in another pan, the pour it over the popcorn and put everything into a large paper carrier bag.

Shake, shake and shake the bag again to mix the popcorn and get it thoroughly coated in the spicy butter.

Arrange in several party bowls

Makes 3 litres.


  1. Ahhhh faithful Nigella. Her food is always so comforting.. Especially her recipes from her Xmas special. Mmmmm

    Great work!

  2. Hehe, I brought the popcorn and the fudge to work the next day and someone stopped me and said "did you watch Nigella yesterday?"

    I haven't seen her Xmas special yet, everytime I sit down to watch it something happens!