This yellow, intensely buttery homemade Movie Popcorn stays crisp FOR DAYS! Save a fortune at the cinema candy bar – just remember to take a giant bag so you can smuggle in loads of your own homemade popcorn….
Today’s recipe is for everyone who’s blown a fortune at movie theatre candy bars.
In particular, for all fellow Aussies who remember enjoying cheap movie tickets on Tight-Arse-Tuesdays*, only to spend twice as much on popcorn and M&M’s.
I can’t help you on the M&M’s.
But I can help you with the popcorn!!!
* In Australia, movie tickets are (were??) discounted by most cinemas every Tuesday. We affectionally referred to it as Tight-Arse-Tuesdays. You’d be hard pressed to find an Aussie who isn’t familiar with this term!
THE SECRET TO HOMEMADE POPCORN
Pop some kernels in oil, sprinkle over salt and drizzle with melted butter. I’ll still scoff that down even though the popcorn goes a bit soggy from the butter.
But if you want truly crispy, ultra buttery, YELLOW popcorn, here’s what you need:
- Homemade Popcorn Salt – just finely grind or blitz salt in a food processor
- Clarified butter / ghee, not plain melted butter (see section below)
- Saffron and tumeric powder for the yellow colour (see section below)
POPCORN BUTTER – CLARIFIED BUTTER / GHEE
Normal butter and popcorn are not great mates. It’s made up of butter fat, milk solids and water, so the smoke point is too low to cook with, and if you douse the popcorn with melted butter, it goes soggy within minutes.
The solution is to make clarified butter which is super easy – just melt butter and keep it on the stove until the water cooks out, then strain to remove the milk solids (the brown bits in the photos below).
Once you do this, the butter is now pure butter fat which has a high smoke point so the popcorn can be cooked using it + it stays crispy once doused in the butter.
Alternative: Use store bought ghee. That’s what clarified butter is!
This stuff is also known as liquid gold. The buttery smell is just insane!
And if that isn’t enough, another miracle of ghee is that it can be stored in the pantry for months and months. It’s liquid when warm and a soft butter consistency at room temperature (just microwave to melt).
You’ll find ghee is called for in almost every Indian recipe. Also, use it in place of melted butter in any recipe – clarified butter is just browned butter which is butter on steroids!
MOVIE POPCORN YELLOW – OPTIONAL
For a truly authentic Movie Popcorn experience, this recipe includes an option to make your popcorn yellow!
After many many batches of popcorn, I’ve settled on a combination of imitation saffron and tumeric powder as the best way to add an authentic yellow colour to the popcorn. I dissolve it in a touch of water, then swirl it around in the butter before adding the kernels.
Caveat: You will get yellow fingers and tongue, just like when you indulge in Cheetos and Cheezels! There is also the slightest hum of warmth left on your tongue from the spices, barely noticeable. None of my friends noticed it – until I probed them repeatedly!!! There are also some teeny orangey specks on some of the the popcorn.
For fellow food nerds interested in how I landed on this: The spices have to be dissolved in a touch of water because they don’t dissolve or seep into fat. This was also the problem with normal yellow food colouring – it doesn’t dissolve in fat. I tried emulsifying it by shaking in a jar with the butter, grinding with salt and sprinkling. I also found that using both spices achieved the colour I was after – tumeric alone makes the popcorn a crazy neon yellow colour, while saffron comes out a cheddar orange colour.
Phew! Who knew I could write so much about popcorn??!!
I will tell you this though. Putting aside the yellow colouring, because that really is optional, Homemade Movie Popcorn is insanely addictive. It’s buttery in a way that just dousing with normal melted butter never will be. It’s lightly and evenly salted in a way that you can’t achieve just by using normal cooking or table salt.
And the best part?
IT STAYS CRISP FOR DAYS. As in – perfectly crispy.
Start thinking about how you’re going to smuggle this into the cinema. Because honestly, it’s almost criminal how expensive movie popcorn is to buy!!! – Nagi x
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
Recipe video above. It's buttery and yellow, just like the buckets you buy at the Candy Bar! The yellow colour is optional, the butter is not. Bonus: The popcorn stays crisp for several days, thanks to the clarified butter (aka ghee). If you skip making the Popcorn Butter, see notes for recipe amendments.
- 3 tbsp Popcorn Butter or ghee (Note 1)
- 3/4 cup popcorn kernels
- 2 - 3 tbsp Extra Popcorn Butter or ghee (Note 1)
- 1 tsp Popcorn Salt
- 1 tbsp salt
- 250 g / 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 tsp warm tap water
- 1/4 tsp saffron powder , imitation (Note 2)
- 1/8 tsp tumeric powder
Place 3 tbsp Popcorn Butter in a large 10L/10qt lightweight pot over medium heat (medium high if weak stove).
When the butter is almost melted, pour in Yellow Colouring, if using. Quickly give the pan a shake to disperse the colouring across the base.
Add kernels, shake quickly to spread across the base, then clamp lid on. The kernels will start popping after a minute or so.
Shake briefly once after 30 seconds or so. When the popping stops, immediately pour popcorn into a large bowl.
Melt Extra Popcorn Butter in microwave. Pour over popcorn, sprinkle over salt. Shake and toss well to disperse. Extra fantastic served warm but still irresistible at room temp.
Place in a mortar and pestle and grind into a fine powder. OR use about 1/2 cup salt and blitz in food processor.
Place butter in a silver saucepan over medium low to medium heat.
Leave to melt, it will start to sputter and spit, then foam.
When you push the foam aside and you see brown bits on the bottom of the saucepan, remove from heat. Takes about 10 minutes.
Line a strainer with 2 paper towels, then strain butter through - discard brown bits.
Pour strained butter into a jar or container. It sets when it cools. Use in liquid or set form. Keeps in the pantry for months (it is now ghee / clarified butter).
Mix ingredients in a small bowl until spices dissolve.
1. Popcorn Butter - Can be substituted with store bought Ghee. Recipe makes more than you need because it's easier to make this quantity, and it keeps for months. We're making ghee here which is clarified butter, which is butter where milk solids and water has been removed, so it's 100% butter fat. Because it's 100% fat, it has a far higher smoking point than butter (you can't cook popcorn in normal butter), and it also means it can be stored in the pantry without spoiling.
The removal of the water from the butter is also the reason why the popcorn stays crispy for days - unlike when you douse it with normal melted butter.
If you skip making Popcorn Butter, you MUST use normal oil to cook the popcorn, do not use normal butter. Then douse the popcorn with normal melted butter - but it does soften, and is certainly no good the next day.
2. Saffron Powder - Found in the herbs and spices section of supermarkets. Get the cheap saffron powder which is not 100% saffron and has colouring added - it's about $1.20 to $1.50 in Australia. Don't get the expensive saffron powder which is pure ground saffron!
3. STORAGE: Stays crisp for 2 to 3 days in an airtight container. It can even be kept for 4 days if you have a super airtight container.
4. Nutrition per serving.
LIFE OF DOZER
Look what I found on my phone from the trip down south to Araluen last weekend! Just rolled out of bed, complete with ugg boots, trackies, bed hair, completely makeup-less, clutching Dozer.
Ooooh…. *light bulb goes off in head*…. I could be talking about any day…..