Thursday, August 11, 2011

Caramel Popcorn for Safrina.

That title is supposed to be a play off Naipaul's A House for Mr.Biswas. Even though I'm not big on misogynists. His writing, I'm all for, though.

Moving on to more important things; the food. You knew this post was coming. Time and time again, I've raved about caramel corn (eee! The Justin Bieber of all food. It's terrible for you, but you, like, totally know that you love-me-and-you-care).

I never got the opportunity to make it in recent times. Why? 

It's a demanding recipe that doesn't give much room for photography (somebody has got burnt each time I've made this), for starters. The main reason, however, is that it tastes absolutely fantastic and I could eat a bucket full of hot, sticky corn before thinking... not good if the bucket consists purely of butter, sugar and glorious, glorious brown sugar. And yeah. Popcorn goes in, as well.

Make this on a leisurely day when you've got lots of time and patience for the prima donna of all popcorn. And make it only for someone special. As I did.

Sarbeejaan (also known as Sarfeejaan or Dumbasssaf in local circles) loves her butter and dark chocolate. Looking at her, you'd never know. Lucky, skinny *beep*face.

She keeps me from going over to the dark side; a healthy dose of crazy in my otherwise pristine, boring medical life. Calls me out on my holier-than-thou bullshit. Gets me mad-fun things to wear/eat that I never normally would.

Borderline annoying, sometimes. Like when she calls me only for food and medical advice, but I wouldn't have it any other way (flattery sits well on me, and if I can contribute to her not looking like a TB patient with vaval-kutti clavicles in any way, I will). I draw the line on accompanying her on visits to annoying relatives, though.

Cooking with her is fun on good days. Which don't involve caramel-making.

Even when I'm going into a panic attack over the almost-burnt caramel, she plays with the leftovers in the pan.

She encourages me to add butter, cutting off my spiel on how many calories each teaspoonful has.

And if the photos are pretty for a change, it's because she took them! The nice ones, at least.

Even if only the crazies eat this, to actually make this, you need to put your nerd glasses on. It's a science, this whole caramel-making business. You can read the Snickers cake post, for a more detailed algorithm on caramel making.

So before you get that butter sizzling, pay heed:
The colour of the caramel needs to be a little more golden-brown and a little less dark brown, than you see in these photos. The difference is about 18 seconds. Don't leave the pan on fire to go read the next step of the recipe. Measure out and keep the ingredients at hand's length. I'm just saying.

Caramel Popcorn:

Source: from Christie's corner
1 cup popcorn, uncooked
1 cup butter
2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 tsp sea salt (or 1/2 tsp regular salt)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla


Pop the corn either in a pressure cooker, microwave or using a popper.

Divide the popcorn into three smaller bowls so you can mix in the caramel effectively.

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius.

In a large sauce pan (2 litres/quarts volume-wise), over medium heat, melt the butter.

Add in the sugar, corn syrup and salt. We used 1-1/2 cups brown and 1/2 cup white sugar. Whisk it in, stirring constantly. Turn the heat up to medium high and stir until the sugar comes to a boil.

Once it comes to a boil, stop stirring. Let it boil for 3 minutes, then check the colour of the caramel. If it's golden yellow, let it continue to boil for a minute longer. If it's golden brown and the sugar has completely melted, STOP and take it off the heat.

Pour in the vanilla. It will froth up, so please be careful.

Pour in the baking powder. The caramel will bubble up. Stir constantly.

Feel free to add in some salted, roasted peanuts at this point if you feel there's
a lot of caramel made. Krackerjack!

Pour the caramel over the popped corn.

Chef and cousin-extraordinaire, and my namesake, Rabia machi, wanted her
"white hands and gold bangles" on the blog. Done.

Stir it together with a wooden spoon so all of it gets coated well.

Divide into pans and bake at 170 C or 250 F for about 30 minutes. Take out a piece, cool it, and taste to check if it's crispy.

If it's still chewy, put it back in for another 10 minutes.

Pour it into bowls, and cool completely. Store in an airtight box until completely cool.

So this is for you, Sarbeejaan, girl with a heart and appetite as huge as her hair. Next time, we'll get it just right, yes?


  1. OMG. I <3 you. You just made my day. Even though there are some parts where I want to whack you :p I still love you. And I wasn't exaggerating that day when I told you how fabulous the popcorn turned out. mmmm.

    This is such an awesome post. I will show this to my children, I will.

  2. And really, about the photography bit - I was too busy eating so the pics look crappy. But the popcorn was such bliss. mmmmfood.

  3. Rab, when you say "I could eat a bucket full", do you mean buckets the size of those little paper/plastic ketchup cups you get in fast food places??!!

    Safrina, it's awesome you got her to make something for you! You must teach us how you accomplished that and also how you got her to write nice things about you on the blog!!

  4. Safrina: <3

    Spica: The drama never takes a break, does it? When are you coming back to your humble roots? You can take a look at my new-and-improved appetite and taste my food then.

  5. Chitra did you not see the 'dumbassaf' bit which literally translates to Nihad's laptop password. True story.

    And she can be conspicuously adorable. Only from time to time though :D