I know that not many people make popcorn the old-fashioned way anymore, even Kettle Corn can be made in the microwave these days. But please, please give this stove top kettle corn a try. It’s easy, and it seriously blows the microwave stuff out of the water. Trust me. Make this popcorn.
I made a discovery a couple years ago that I really have been meaning to tell you about. Honestly, I can’t believe I didn’t write about this before now. But here it is: instead of popping your corn in oil, use clarified butter or ghee. While regular butter would burn if you tried to use it for popping corn, ghee has a much higher smoke point and works perfectly as long as you pop the corn over medium heat and watch it closely.
I love making Indian food, so I almost always have a container of ghee stashed in the pantry. But for those of you who are new to using it, ghee is easy to find at ethnic markets or on the shelves of well-stocked supermarkets. It’s also easy to make at home. If made properly, ghee can be stored at room temperature just like cooking oils. But if storing at room temperature, be sure to keep moisture out of the container and never dip into it with a wet spoon, as moisture will cause the ghee to spoil.
The ghee in this recipe adds a richness to the sweet and salty kettle corn that just can’t be replicated using oil. You can substitute oil for the ghee in this recipe and still end up with some tasty kettle corn, but I hope you’ll give my version a try at least once.
1/4 cup ghee*
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1/4 cup sugar
fine grain sea salt
Heat ghee over medium heat until melted. Add three popcorn kernels, cover with a lid and wait and listen until all three kernels have popped. Add the rest of the popcorn kernels, shake to distribute then sprinkle sugar evenly over the kernels. Cover with lid and listen for popping. As soon as the kernels start to pop, shake pot gently back and forth over the burner, lifting it up and shaking from time to time, until the popping slows to every 2 to 3 seconds. As soon as the popping slows, remove pan from heat and immediately dump kernels into a large bowl. Sprinkle lightly with salt and toss with a wooden spoon. Taste, and add more salt if desired. Serve immediately.
*you may substitute vegetable oil for ghee, if desired.
Yield: approximately 4 servings