I’m going to lighten the Japan-heavy food photo posts with a recipe deviation. I was contacted by SkinnyPop popcorn company to post a (healthy) popcorn recipe (the link shows you some of their ideas of this). The webpage explains that “skinny” means “using the fewest, cleanest, simplest ingredients” which, supposedly by extrapolation means “healthy!” I use the “!” because that’s the tone I get from the written material. You can interpret that as you will. If you know me IRL, you know how I’m interpreting it.
Since I already posted my favorite smoky, furikake popcorn recipe (Japanese-inspired by the original chef and very minimally adapted by me) and couldn’t reprise it with much change on its perfection from FIVE years ago, I had to come up with something else.
Today’s recipe isn’t really inspired by our recent Japan trip but it has a hint of it. Everywhere we went, we found strawberry flavored sweets: Hello Kitty strawberry candies, mochi on Mount Fuji with dried strawberry filling, cutesy anime cartoon characters advertising something sweet and covered in strawberry, strawberry flavored yogurt drinks. Much of these were pretty tame, as in just sweet and artificial berry flavor. I want to use real strawberries and spice it up by adding PEPPER.
Strawberry and pepper. Not a new thing but definitely new on popcorn. I am not a heavy sweet person — I like tart. (Carmel corn, I’ll make an exception for you.) If wanting to serve a new flavor to wow a crowd, something that’s not bland and with some zip, this recipe is for you. It’s a little tart, a little peppery, with a nice balance from the toasted nuts. The browned butter isn’t obligatory but it should be. This is a fairly minimalist recipe, however. You can add sweetened nuts if you prefer. A little salt is good. And if all else fails you can always fall back on the smoky popcorn — dooooooo it. It’s wonderfulllllllll.
One year ago: aunt mary’s salsa
Two years ago: tagliatelle with poppy seeds and prosciutto
Three years ago: one-eyed chihuahua cocktail
Four years ago: angel food cupcakes with mascarpone frosting and apricot compote
Five years ago: a review of some napa restaurants and chia honey limeade
Six years ago: lemon-lime gummy candy and homemade tofu
- ½ cup unpopped popcorn, about 12 cups popped
- 4 tablespoons oil (--to pop the corn. If you prefer air popped corn, skip this. Though BORING.)
- ¼ teaspoon salt, plus a bit more for toasting the almonds
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 3 tablespoons browned butter, because awesome awesome awesome
- 1 ounce freeze-dried strawberries (NOT chewy dried. You need the freeze-dried ones.)
- ¼ cup slivered almonds, raw
- SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: spice grinder
- Heat oil in large pot, if using and add popcorn. Pop fully, shaking to prevent burning. Pour into deep bowl and set aside.
- Drizzle the melted browned butter over the popcorn evenly and mix. Use salt and pepper to season.
- Pour the free-dried strawberries into the spice grinder and whiz to pulverize. You may need to pulse it a few times and shake to catch the chunks. Make sure you use the strawberries right away if you are in a humid area or else they will get sticky and gum up. Use that to your advantage to help it stick to the popcorn, if so.
- Sprinkle about ⅔ cup of the strawberry dust over the popcorn, adding more if it continues to stick. Add more pepper if you want.
- Toast the almonds with a bit of oil and salt in a pan, stirring to keep from burning. Add these into the popcorn bowl and toss together. Eat and watch anime.