Curried Caramel Popcorn

IMG_2451I’ve been a fan of Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken for 26 years, when I first got their cookbook City Cuisine.  When I saw Susan’s cookbook at the Strand I snatched it up right away and after reading it through I couldn’t help but feel like I was her illegitimate off-spring from an immaculate conception.   The recipes are great and the book accomplishes something very rare – it’s beautiful to look at and very easy to use – filled with tasty recipes of street food from all over the planet.  My only gripe is her use of corn syrup and ketchup without going on a rant (like I do) about GMO’s and HFCS etc.  So I guess you could say I provide balance 😉 So when you see those ingredients in her book which you MUST BUY just remember buy Organic or substitute.

This recipe I made a while back for a group of friends and it was a big hit.  Filled with authentic flavors like curry and lime leaves and lots of wonderful Indian Spices this turns Cracker Jack on it’s head.   I have adapted the recipe slightly.  To reiterate – this is a must have cook book and if you are in LA for sure stop in and have meal at her Street Restaurant.

IMG_2406Candied Peanuts

In a small bowl combine: 2 cups raw organic peanuts, 2 Tablespoons Coconut Milk (well shaken) 2 Tablespoons of Dark Brown Sugar, 1 Tablespoons of Chopped Fresh Kaffir Limes leaves (about 10), 1/2 Teaspoon Salt and 1/4 Teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper. 

Put the mixture in a heavy skillet over high heat and cook without stirring for about 2 minutes – when the peanuts have started to brown you can begin to stir the mixture.  Cook for about 5 minutes – stirring constantly – once the peanuts have brown take them off the heat. The nuts brown unevenly, there probably will be smoke, but not to worry – keep stirring!  And when they are nicely brown they are done.IMG_2408My poor skillet.  IMG_2407Now onto the main event!

Curried Caramel Popcorn

Preheat the oven to 250 F

Get the biggest bowl you have and coat it with olive oil.

I used a silicone spatula for this but if you are using a wooden spoon coat it with olive oil as well.

In baking sheet that has been coated with olive oil scatter 1 1/2 cups of Shredded Unsweetened Coconut. Cook for about 8 minutes or until nicely golden. Set aside to cool.

In a large pot with a lid add 3 Tablespoons of unflavored high heat oil (I use Sunflower) add 3/4 cups of Popcorn Kernels and turn the heat up to medium high, cover and shake occasionally until the corn starts to pop, then shake vigorously and constantly until the kernels stop popping.  Turn off heat keep covered until there is no more popping.  Carefully remove the popcorn into the big oiled bowl, careful to sort out any of the unpopped kernels.

Add the toasted coconut and the candied peanuts to the popcorn.

Coat two cookie sheets with oil.

In a medium sized heavy bottomed pot add 2 cups Dark Brown Sugar, 1 cup of Unsalted Butter (2 sticks) and 1/2 cup of either Lyle’s Syrup, Honey or Maple Syrup heat over medium high heat until the butter is melted stir occasionally, once the better has melted and the mixture starts to bubble stir constantly,  the cook the mixture until it thickens and reached 255 F on a candy thermometer  – about 7 minutes.  If you don’t have a thermometer you will know its done when the bubbles get larger and slower.

Remove from the heat and add: 1 1/2 Teaspoons of Salt, 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda, 1 Teaspoon of Black Mustard Seeds, 1 Teaspoon of Tumeric, 1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds,  3 Tablespoons of chopped fresh Curry Leaves, 1/2 Teaspoon of Ground Nutmeg, 1/2 Teaspoon of Paprika, 1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper, 1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon stir quickly to incorporate then pour over the popcorn mixture.  Mix well until the popcorn is all coated (it takes some diligence).

Divide the mixture between the two prepared baking sheets and bake for 1 hour, stirring the mixture every 20 or so minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature – it will get crunchier as it cools.

Your party guests will love you for making this – trust me.IMG_2449

About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note:
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