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Feb 01, 2012

The Most Perfect Technique for Making Popcorn at Home

created at: 02/01/2012

If you go to any high-end kitchen shop and general goods discount store, you'll find any number of dedicated popcorn popping devices. Handle-cranked special pans, air poppers, campfire shakers, motorized stirrers, microwave options, and even tiny versions of carnival/movie theater style hopper poppers. (Isn't that fun to say?)

Turns out, their all unnecessary, and a waste of money and storage space. Cause the best way to pop corn at home, avoiding burning and popping every kernel, is likely already in your kitchen.   Grace Young, author of the outstanding award-winning cookbooks The Breath of a Wok and Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge argues that - what else? - the wok is the perfect popcorn popper. It's bowl-like shape heats the kernels evenly and pushes popped kernels up the walls of the pan to avoid burning. It's thin metal makeup allows the popcorn to be popped quickly, meaning you can be munching in just a couple of minutes.

If you don't have a wok (you should! they're so much fun), you can try this technique from Alton Brown, who uses a similarly metal mixing bowl to pop right on top of the stove.

 

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Hamish MacDonald on Feb 02, 2012:

Thanks for the tip! I make so much at a time that I'm not sure the wok will be big enough!


The real, real magic tip to making perfect theatre-style popcorn* at home: COCONUT OIL! It's healthier than its reputation (from when it used to be mixed with palm kernel oil and hydrogenated), and it gives a lovely, rich flavour to the popcorn.


You can add a little salt to the oil before cooking, too, so you don't have to add more after (okay, I do, but not as much).


*I actually prefer the popcorn I make at home to the stuff I get in cinemas. I live in the UK, and the stuff they bring in or make is like squeaky, dry, flavourless, strangely-round packaging material.


tute-bot on Feb 01, 2012:

I already make pretty perfect popcorn on the stove in just a saucepan, but I'm intrigued by the wok idea. I'm going to have to try it out. Thanks for sharing.