While on our recent flight, when my daughter asked for a caramel popcorn snack, I obviously restricted her not only due to the white sugar caramel.. but I could imagine a long list of unnecessary components dancing their way into the box. I was and am truly scared of the butter… too much salt… baking soda…. corn syrup… preserving agents and other unknown ingredients in the pack. I know I sound quite obsessed with healthy food. And as always, I promised her to make a healthier version of Caramel Popcorn at home.
Though in a while relaxing my obsession, I bought her a pack of caramel popcorn and tasted to find the original taste and texture of it. Crispy, buttery, salty, perfectly sweetened with caramelized sugar – it definitely tasted good. Reading the ingredients, I couldn’t control the guilt of having those unwanted preservatives and unknown elements included in the pack to increase its shelf life.
Now, to keep up the promise..(by the way, I am approximately 75% good at keeping up my healthy promises in the kitchen), I decided to try a healthy caramel popcorn version not altering the taste of the packed junk that we had.
Off late, I have been quite successful in making peanut and sesame candies with jaggery syrup. With that confidence of getting the right syrup consistency, I went to fetch cane jaggery from my storage. In a corner, I saw the ‘chukku karuppatti’ specially bought from Thiruchendur Temple.
Chukku Karuppatti is a flavourful/healthy combination of palm jaggery and dry ginger, moulded for storage in a hand-made palm leaf box. It is a household remedy for cold, cough and indigestion. So, you guessed right… caramel would be made from ‘chukku karuppatti’ – ‘dry ginger palm jaggery’ – that would aid in digestion too!
Here’s how I made it .. from scratch… with dry corn and no added ingredients. I prefer the taste of popped corn made from the humble pressure cooker than one made in a microwave.
Palm Sugar Caramel Popcorn – flavoured with dry ginger
- dried corn (to pop-up) – 1 cup
- oil – 1 tsp
- salt – 1/2 tsp
pressure cooker popcorn
- chukku karuppatti/palm jaggery with dry ginger – 1/2 cup
Cane Jaggery can also be substituted for Palm Jaggery
healthy brown syrup
Method of Preparation
coating popcorn in palm syrup
- Melt 1/2 cup palm sugar in 1/4 cup water either in minimum heat or by just stirring
- Keep the palm sugar aside at this melted level
- Before making caramel, it is better to make popcorn as the thickened syrup would harden quickly
- In a pressure cooker, take 1 tsp oil and salt; add dry corn and mix well
- Close the lid without the whistle and let the corn pop up in a few minutes
- Pop corn is ready
- Open the lid and keep aside and start making caramel
- For caramel, in a wide bottomed pan, take the already melted palm sugar and make a two string consistency syrup
- If one feels the quantity of syrup is too much for the quantity of popped corn, take the extra syrup and store for any other candy next time
- Immediately add the popcorn in the syrup and mix well
- Crispy Caramel Popcorn is ready
- Cool and store in an airtight container.