Leave it to Nigella. I used to love my popcorn topped with just a little butter and salt but now that I’ve had her “Party Popcorn,” I don’t want it any other way. Slightly sweet, salty and spiced with an exotic blend of cinnamon, cumin and paprika, this stuff is downright habit-forming.
The recipe is adapted from Nigella Express, one of my favorite cookbooks, and takes less than fifteen minutes to make. As the name implies, it’s perfect with cocktails but don’t wait until you’re entertaining to make it — it’s just as delicious as a snack or treat for family movie night.
Begin by heating the oil and popping corn in a large pot. Don’t be tempted to increase the quantities — the kernels should be in a single layer to ensure even popping. Cover the pot with a lid and wait for the popcorn to start popping. As it pops, shake the pan gently now and then to keep the kernels moving. When the popping slows to 2-3 second apart, remove the pan from the heat.
Next, melt the butter in a small bowl and add the spices, sugar and salt.
Stir to combine.
Then drizzle the mixture over the popcorn, stirring as you go so that it coats the popcorn evenly. It will clump in some spots — that’s okay.
Continue tossing the popcorn until it’s well coated.
Then transfer to serving bowls or popcorn bags and enjoy.
Note: The original recipe, as published here, calls for 4 teaspoons of salt. That’s way too much salt so I reduced the amount significantly here.
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Nigella's Party Popcorn
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup popcorn kernels (I like Pop Secret Jumbo Popping Corn)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1-1/2 teaspoons paprika
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 3 teaspoons sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- Pour the vegetable oil into a very large pan over medium-high heat. Add the popcorn, then set the lid on top.
- Wait for the popcorn to start popping, then shake the pan gently now and then to keep the kernels moving. When the popping slows to 2-3 seconds apart, remove the pan from the heat.
- In a small bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Stir in the cinnamon, paprika, cumin, sugar and salt. Use a spoon to drizzle the mixture over the popcorn, stirring as you go so that it coats the popcorn evenly. Pour into bowls or popcorn bags and serve.