The past, present and future reserve a special place for popcorns. The buttery, creamy and salty kernels would be etched in our minds forever as they have been one of the sought-after snacks since our childhood movie-going days, are still our favorite one amongst doughnuts, burger or nachos and would still be our possessed prized in the future too!
Do You Know?
Popcorn is a whole grain which can cover up almost 12% of your daily fiber requirements only for a mere 30 calories. Popcorn is from maize, but not from the same variety as the corn you eat on the cob. It comes from a specific breed of maize that produces small kernels with a hard outer shell. So hard are the shells that you would not be able to bite into them without breaking your tooth. Popcorn is the result of heating the kernel to the point of utmost pressure beyond which it bursts releasing the soft inner flake and giving us the delicious snack. It derived its name from the noise it makes on bursting open-pop, pop, pop. There are other similar healthy snacking options given at www.firsteatright.com that foodies would love to explore and enjoy!
Topping Your Popping Corns
While simple, salted and plain popcorns are tasty as such, who would not like to indulge in some delicious as well as nutritious ways that attract people worldwide?
Popcorn in a Brown Paper Bag: Prepare an instant tasty snack of air-popped popcorns by placing ¼ cup of popcorn kernels in a brown paper bag and closing the top. Keep it in the microwave oven and cook it on high for 2 full minutes. Transfer it to a bowl and top it with a drizzle of olive oil and sea salt.
Popped on the Gas Stove: Microwave oven is a recent discovery. Way back, popcorns were made on the stovetop. Take a large pan, pour ¼ cup of vegetable oil and add some garlic powder and seasoning of your choice. Add 2/3 cup of kernels and stir to ensure that the kernels are coated with the oil. Keep it on medium flame, cover the pan and let it pop. When it is half-done, remove the pan and shake it once to prevent burning. Once this is done, return it back to the gas to let it finish popping.
Air-popped: Air poppers authentically used to make popcorns are good, but the downside is that all the kernels shoot out like bullets from a gun once they are cooked. Using a microwave popper is advantageous in this aspect. While some of us enjoy the original taste of simple air-popped ones, many people relish it even more when with some dressing over it. Use an olive oil sprayer to spray the popcorns first as this enables the dressing to stick to it. If you like it sweet, sprinkle cinnamon or chocolate powder, if you want savory, season it up with some garlic pepper and herbs and if you love the cheesy taste, top it with dried cheddar cheese or Parmesan cheese along with some herb toppings.
100-Calorie Pack: To avoid overeating, pop a 100-calorie pack into the microwave and sprinkle it with a dusting of Parmesan cheese to enhance flavor and nutrition (in the form of calcium).
Pumpkin spicing: This is a unique topping unexplored by many. In a small brown bag, add popcorn kernels, a small amount of oil, a pinch of sugar and pumpkin spice and microwave it in high for 2-3 minutes. You are ready with your pumpkin-spiced popcorns in a jiffy.
Cinnamon & Chocolate-sweetened popcorn: Get yourself corrected-butter popcorns are not the only tasty versions! Make your own version of yummy popcorn delights. For something sweet, add 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder, ¼ tablespoon of cinnamon and a drizzle of melted dark chocolate. Let it rest in the fridge for a couple of minutes to allow the seasonings to stick to the popcorn. While this is a less-sugary seasoning than caramel corn, it is still sweet containing lesser calories.
Avocado oil & Nutritional Yeast: Pop the kernels either on stovetop or microwave, add a drizzle of avocado oil using a spray pump and season it with salt, pepper and nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is a smart choice as it delivers a cheesy flavor to the popcorn without the extra calorie additions but with added vitamin and mineral boost.
Topping Popper: Before sprinkling any seasoning over the popcorn, spray a dose of olive oil from a spray bottle over the popcorn to enable the seasonings to stick onto them. After this, use any topping of your choice-salt, thyme, pepper, etc.
People fascinated by gastronomy are exploring other seeds that are explosive and edible. Seeds with hard shells such as rice, wheat, barley and amaranth can be popped but not as much as popcorn. Sit back, relax and enjoy a small bowl of popcorn seasoned with your favorite seasoning during weekends, summer vacations or as an anytime evening snack.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.