This recipe will have half of you rolling your eyes at the obviousness of it all, and the other half saying "wait, you can MAKE popcorn? For literally thruppence ha'penny?" 'Tis true - a 500g bag of popcorn kernels is about 70p and will keep you going for weeks. Once you realise how cheap it is to make, you'll balk at paying £4 for a box of stale salty-sweet stuff at the cinema.
Get your popcorn kernels at your local corner shop - the sort that sells everything - or else a health food shop or the dried lentils aisle in a supermarket. Heating the oil is the trickiest part of popcorn making, so don't be disheartened if it goes wrong the first time. Too cool and it won't pop; too hot and it'll pop so fast you'll end up with small hard pieces.
Chilli and Lemon Popcorn (serves 2)
You will need:
- 40g of popcorn kernels (roughly)
- 2 tbsp oil
- Butter (optional)
- Chilli powder
- Half a lemon
- Heat the oil over a medium-high heat in a medium saucepan. You want to coat the bottom of the pan. Don't skimp on it or you'll end up with chewy popcorn. Add a teaspoon of butter for extra flavour if you like; the oil will keep the butter from burning.
- Wait until the oil is very hot but not smoking, and add a single kernel of popcorn to test the heat. Once it pops, you can add the rest of the kernels. Cover the bottom of the pan, put the lid on (preferably one with a hole to let the steam escape), shake well, then place on the heat.
- The kernels should slowly start popping after 10-15 seconds, rapidly speed up, then slow right down again. Shake occasionally to keep them coated in oil and stop the bottom ones from burning.
- When there's more than a second between pops, which should take about a minute, you're done. Take it off the heat and leave it to completely finish popping.
- Tip your popcorn into a large bowl, add salt and shake well. While still shaking the bowl, squeeze the lemon over it and then sprinkle over the chilli.