I Like My Popcorn Spicy!

Freshly popped popcorn

Freshly popped popcorn, ready to eat!

There’s nothing quite like curling up on the couch to watch a movie or TV show with a big bowl of popcorn in your lap. Popcorn has been my snack of choice since I was a kid, and I’ve grown to become a popcorn snob. I’ve never been a fan of microwave popcorn unless I’m traveling and need a fix – read the list of ingredients sometime if you want to be disgusted. I used to enjoy air popped popcorn, until I discovered the Whirley Pop (I’ve linked to Amazon.ca for ease, but you can find it cheaper at Bed Bath and Beyond, or even Lee Valley tools).

The Whirley Pop is a medium-sized pot with a crank in the handle that’s used to pop the popcorn on a stove. A small amount of oil, usually 1-2 tbsp is placed in the bottom of the pot in order to help the corn pop, and to lightly season it. This method produces popcorn that has more moisture in it compared to an air popper, and after trying it once I haven’t used my air popper again. I first started using sunflower oil with the Whirley Pop, as the oil is good under high heat (never try olive oil, as it’ll burn), and provides a nice, subtle flavor. I’ve since switched to two other oils, coconut oil, which can be purchased at a grocery store, and a special oil that takes a little bit of work – chili-infused sunflower oil. The chili-infused sunflower oil provides a nice spice to the popcorn, and I absolutely looove spicy stuff!

We had a friend over to the house the other day and somehow the topic of popcorn and spice came up, and I offered to make some spicy popcorn for her. She’s since asked me how I made it, so I thought it would make for a great blog post. Making the oil is quite easy; you’ll need 2 cups of sunflower oil, and 1/2 cup of crushed chilies. Place the sunflower oil in a saucepan on the stove under medium heat, then add your chilies. I stir the oil every minute or two until small bubbles start appearing in the oil (you may have to turn the heat up a bit at a time to produce the bubbles), then I remove it from the heat. Place the oil into a container and put it in the fridge for 1-2 weeks, keeping in mind the longer it sits, the spicier the oil will become. I rarely wait the 2 weeks before using it, especially if I want to use it on popcorn; the other day I made the oil and immediately started making popcorn. Once the oil has sat for a few weeks, pour it through a strainer to remove the chili flakes. If you want to remove any sediment from the oil you can strain it through a wine strainer, though I’ve never done this. Feel free to alter the amount of chili flakes you use, either increasing or decreasing to change the spice level, and I usually use 1-1 1/2 tbsp in the Whirley Pop when I make the popcorn. You can also use the oil in cooking to add a little spice to pasta, or other dishes. Top the popcorn with a little salt and butter, and you have a tasty treat to go along with your show or movie. Mmmm!

P.S. If you ever visit my house, this popcorn can be make upon request 😉

Spicy sunflower oil

Spicy sunflower oil

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