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Pop your corn beyond salt and oil

 

Easy to make, easy to eat. Rich in fibre and low on fat. Popcorn is arguably the easiest and cheapest snack to make for any home or cocktail party.

It can be made from the sigiri (charcoal stove) for the low-income families or in the microwave for the middle-class families.

Unknown to many, though, is that popcorn can be made beyond what Ugandans know. Salt seems to be the more natural and standard additive for popcorn, but there are so many other ingredients that can be added to the popcorn to give it extra flavour and taste.

If you are ever in a German cinema, for example, don’t be shocked if your popcorn comes with a sprinkle of sugar instead of salt. 

Instead of salting it, they sweeten it and the kids love it.

UNOILED vs OILED POPCORN

Oiled or not, the corn kernels will pop anyway if the right heat is applied. Unoiled corn preferred by those cautious of their fat intake tends to have a harder crunch compared to the oiled pops.

Prepared  ‘American style’, put the unpopped kernels in a paper bag, fold at the top to keep the steam within and heat in a microwave for about two minutes.

You can hear the corn popping to indicate it is ready. The frequency of the pops will reduce to indicate that they are all ready.

BUTTERED

Butter not only softens the crunch of the popcorns but also gives it an unusual flavour. Instead of using cooking oil, use rendered (smelt) butter to oil the kernels.

Already-made popcorn can also be buttered. 

Here, the hot, popped corn can be put in a paper bag half and then sprinkled with smelt butter especially on the sides. Add salt and fold the paper bag and shake vigorously for about 30 seconds.

CARAMEL

Caramel best known for making flavoured coffee can also give your popcorn an incredibly sweet aroma and crispy addictive taste.

Caramel corn takes some bit of time to make, but the trouble in its making will be compensated in the consequent great taste. This is considered the ultimate of all popcorns.

You will have to mix about five ingredients – corn syrup, butter, baking soda, salt and brown sugar – to make the caramel sauce.

On the local market, there is an already pre-mixed caramel that just needs some water and mixing. Mix the caramel sauce with popped corn in a paper bag and heat in the microwave or covered pan (on a stove) for a few seconds – regularly mixing until golden brown.

GENERAL-PURPOSE SEASONING

If all the above mixing sounds complicated for a mere popcorn snack, spice it with general seasonings.

Aromat is the commonest brand in local supermarkets.  Just sprinkle it on the already popped corn to give it extra flavour.

The simplest of meals can take a huge turn for the better with just a little more creativity.

fkisakye@observer.ug

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