Due to the logistical and energy crisis in the world, some goods, popular and not very popular, disappear from the shelves every now and then. Among others, in some regions there was also a semi-finished popcorn product – corn grains packed in paper envelopes.
For those who still managed to get some grains, we talk about the various ways to cook explosive corn at home. A few simple but time-tested recipes are at the end of the article.
Process physics and grain selection
The explosion of the kernel of corn occurs due to the resulting pressure. With strong heating, the moisture inside turns into steam, breaking the shell of the kernel and releasing the protein-starch content, which quickly cools and hardens.
Thus, several factors are important for a successful explosion:
A thin but strong shell of the nucleolus, capable of containing the contents until a certain pressure and a certain temperature (about 200 degrees) are reached.
The higher the protein content of the corn, the thicker and firmer the outer white flesh will be.
The nucleolus must be “sealed”. A damaged casing will release pressure and the contents will flow out without foaming.
The nucleolus must have the necessary and sufficient amount of moisture inside. The more moisture, the more expansion will be. But fresh grains are also not suitable, as there is too much moisture in them. The optimal value is 13–13.5% humidity.
Heating of grain should be uniform. Without this, the shell in one place may be damaged earlier, thereby preventing it from gaining the required pressure when heated.
Many of these factors depend on the corn itself. Varieties for popcorn are called bursting, or exploding. They are distinguished by a high protein content, and their shell is more durable, but at the same time thin. Such corn tends to look more glassy and glossy.
Popular varieties of popcorn: Volcano, Zeya, Gostinets, Lopai-lopai.
In theory, almost any variety can be used to make popcorn, but it will be much more difficult to make it. Most likely, the opening will be much lower, and the grains themselves will not differ in splendor. It is better to use purchased prepared grains of the appropriate varieties with the desired degree of moisture.
Home Cooking Methods
With all cooking methods, the same process occurs: heating the grain to achieve an explosion.
There are a number of rules that must be observed regardless of the chosen method:
The grains at the bottom of the container must be distributed evenly in one layer. Thus, the heating will be uniform.
If you are using oil, it must be preheated. The grains are poured into the heated oil and mixed thoroughly so that each kernel is covered. This is also done for uniform heating.
You don’t have to cook a lot at one time. Remember that 100 grams of quality grains turn into about 3 liters of popcorn.
The grain container must be closed. Firstly, splashes from dried caramel will be difficult to wipe off, flakes can also scatter to the side during explosions. Secondly, during cooking on the stove, a closed container will quickly gain and maintain temperature.
Consider the main methods.
If you use a store-bought semi-finished product, then the printed envelope with grain is placed in the microwave and cooked at a power of 600–1000 watts for up to three minutes. If intense popping continues at the end of this time, then the cooking time needs to be extended. Add 20 seconds. When the pauses between pops are more than 3-5 seconds, then the popcorn is ready.
Unopened grains after cooking, most likely, will no longer open even after additional processing. Therefore, there is no need to try to prepare them. Most likely, they did not open due to a damaged shell, or the grains were overdried or not completely dried.
If you are using grains that are not packaged, such as packaged or homemade, then the procedure is the same. Do not forget to add oil, mix well and cover the container. Also, do not forget to take into account the volume of the container.
For cooking popcorn on the hob, a high-sided frying pan or saute pan is best . If popcorn is made without oil, then non-stick pans should be used.
Power is above average, but not maximum. Oil is added to the bottom. The grains are already poured into the heated oil and distributed in an even layer. During cooking, it is advisable to shake the stewpan several times so that unopened grains fall to the bottom. Do not open the lid until ready.
Popcorn is cooked until there are pauses between pops for more than 3-5 seconds. After cooking, shake the container several times to weed out all the same unopened grains to the bottom.
A store semi-finished product from a paper envelope is prepared in the same way. Of course, you need to get rid of the paper envelope, and pour the contents along with the oil into a container.
For this method, the same principles described above apply. The difference is that the heat treatment process will be longer.
Pour the grains onto a baking sheet or other suitable dish with high sides. Add oil and cover with either foil or a lid. Cooking temperature from 200 gr.
Popcorn can even be cooked in a slow cooker . All stages of grain preparation remain the same.
Cooking in the “baking” mode. Preheat the oil and pour in the grains. You need to cook under a closed lid. In a slow cooker, pops will not be heard so well, so you should be careful not to miss the moment of readiness.
A few tips for better bean opening.
Beans should not be washed. Excessively moist grains run the risk of being boiled rather than baked and exploded. In addition, there is a risk of damaging the outer shell and breaking the tightness of the core.
If cooking on the stove, shake the container several times during cooking so that the raised unopened grains fall back to the bottom and continue cooking.
The grain should be heated abruptly, not gradually. Therefore, when cooking in a non-microwave oven, be sure to preheat the container or oven. If we use oil, then we pre-heat it.
With oil, the percentage of unopened grains is less, since oil is a good conductor of heat, ensuring uniform heating of the entire grain.
All kinds of additives for popcorn and do not count. Below we consider several options, both classical and non-trivial.
Classic salted popcorn
The most popular option and at the same time the easiest.
To prepare salted popcorn, you just need to add salt to vegetable oil first. You can also salt the popcorn after it’s ready.
The most popular cheese variant uses cheddar cheese powder, with a distinctive bright orange color and rich flavor. However, you can use any cheese powder. It is added to ready-made hot popcorn.
Popcorn with creamy caramel
Among the sweet options, this one is the most common. It is easy to make at home with readily available ingredients. Consider grams for servings per 100 grams of grain:
butter 40 gr
salt 10 gr
Heat up a saucepan over low heat.
Pour sugar into a saucepan, fill with water and bring to a boil.
After a short bubbling, when the caramel begins to turn brown, add oil, salt and mix
Cooking popcorn, according to the above methods.
Pour the caramel into the prepared popcorn and mix.
We shift the popcorn into a flat container, evenly distribute for quick cooling and separate large sticky pieces. After cooling, a delicious snack is ready.
popcorn with chocolate
By analogy with caramel popcorn, chocolate popcorn is prepared. At the stage of adding butter to caramel, add a few tablespoons of cocoa. The rest of the recipe is the same.
Some ingredients for toppings can be very surprising. For example, crab-flavored popcorn. Or one of the most popular options is popcorn with fried bacon. You can also find honey, cinnamon and thyme toppings. Among the sweet modern ingredients, you can even find Oreo cookies and M&M’s .
This is just a tiny part of what you can turn into a familiar snack. But the most popular is still plain salty hot popcorn. It is his undiluted smell that continues to be strongly associated with pleasant cinematic leisure.