It rained on Saturday. The drops fell hard and heavy from the sky for nearly 2 hours straight at our house. The air became cool and comfortable and the soothing sound of rain steadily hitting the ground resonated through the open windows. It was bliss. A couple years ago, afternoons like this would have resulted in a movie marathon of some kind. Brad and I would laze on the couch with nothing to do but relax, eat popcorn, and totally space out for a while. These days, between Brad's full work schedule and our busy toddler running around, it's not that easy to have an impromptu movie date.
Still, there is an occasional evening when we aren't too tired to make it through a movie and a big bowl of popcorn. It may not be on a whim like it used to be, but these little date nights are still really fun, even if Brad falls asleep halfway through the movie (which he almost always does).
I've been curious to try some more exciting and different popcorn flavors on the nights when I'm ambitious enough to make it on the stove-top. No, popping it in a pan on the stove is not all that complicated, but sometimes I can only muster enough motivation to push a button and watch the paper bag puff and jump as the kernels pop. Over the weekend, I decided to try adding Chinese 5 Spice Powder to my popcorn. If you've never had 5 Spice Powder I highly recommend that you give it a try. The combination of flavors (anise, fennel seed, cinnamon, cloves, Szechuan pepper, white pepper) is versatile and fun to experiment with.
I added a little sugar to the mix as well, creating a lovely sweet and salty flavor that is perfectly paired with light, airy popcorn. For some nuttiness, I also added a little sesame oil in addition to vegetable oil. Delicious!
If you can, curl up on the couch with a bowl of this popcorn. Best enjoyed with your favorite people and a good film.
Sweet & Salty Chinese 5 Spice Popcorn
- 1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon Chinese 5 Spice Powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- In a large, heavy pot with a lid, add the vegetable oil, sesame oil, sugar, Chinese 5 Spice Powder and salt.
- Add 2 or 3 popcorn kernels and place over medium-high heat. When the kernels pop, add the remaining kernels to the pot.
- Cover with the lid and, using oven mits or tongs to hold onto the pot so you don't burn your hands, shake the pot over the flame until the popcorn begins to pop.
- When the popping slows (2 to 3 seconds between popping) remove the pot from the heat and transfer the popcorn to a large bowl. Serve immediately.