Over the years, my family has been trying to get away from the over-commercialization of Christmas. Rather than focusing on material gifts, we enjoy spending time together, often over dinners. Our gifts have become smaller, and now mostly consist of consumables. For years I made soap and gave that away. Now I enjoy creating delicious food gifts. Here is an exotic snack that I can’t wait to give to my friends and family this year. I have been ogling this recipe from Susan Feniger’s “Street Food” for some time now and finally got to try it. This is one of those sweet/salty treats that everyone loves. However there is an element of surprise here with the flavour currents of curry, coconut, and lime. If you don’t like the flavour of lime leaves, I suggest you use some lime rind instead. Lime leaf does have a very distinctive flavour that some people find too intense. Lime rind would make a nice substitute. If you can’t find the fresh curry leaves, just eliminate them. I didn’t feel like driving on snowy roads to a store that sells fresh curry leaves, so I just left them out. Next time I will use them though, as they lend that little ‘je ne sais quoi” character to any dish.
I will also be linking this post to Our Growing Edge. This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things. This month is hosted by Rebecca at the Economic Foodie. This month’s theme is Festive Feeds. Be sure to check it out!
Coconut Curry Caramel Corn
Olive oil spray
1½ cups shredded unsweetened coconut
3 tablespoons olive oil
¾ cup popcorn kernels
2 cups candied peanuts (below)
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons chopped fresh curry leaf
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg or mace
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 250°F. Liberally spray an extra-large mixing bowl with olive oil spray.
Spread the coconut on a baking sheet and toast it in the oven, stirring it once or twice, until it is golden, about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool. Leave the oven on.
Pop the popcorn with the oil, either on the stovetop or in the microwave. (I did mine in a paper bag in the microwave).
Add the popped corn to the oiled bowl and add the peanuts and coconut.
Before beginning the caramel process, spray a rubber spatula, and a wooden spoon.
In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar and corn syrup. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally with the oiled spatula, until the butter is melted. Continue cooking, stirring constantly and being careful not the splatter the hot caramel, until the mixture thickens and a candy thermometer registers 255°F, about 7 minutes. (if you don’t have a candy thermometer, you will know it is ready when the bubbles get noticeably larger and slower.)
Remove from the heat. Add the salt, baking soda, curry leaf, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, turmeric, nutmeg, paprika, cayenne and cinnamon. Stir quickly to incorporate, and then immediately pour the caramel over the popcorn mixture. Stir with the wooden spoon until all of the popcorn is well coated.
Pour the mixture onto the oiled cookie sheets and spread it out evenly. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes to keep from burning.
Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. It will crisp up as it cools.
Once it has cooled, you may serve immediately or package in airtight bags for storage. It will keep well for 4 days.
2 cups unsalted peanuts
2 tablespoons well-shaken canned coconut milk
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh kaffir lime leaf (about 10 leaves) or 2 teaspoons freshly grated lime rind
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
In a small bowl, combine the peanuts, coconut milk, sugar, lime leaf, salt and cayenne. Stir to coat well.
Put the mixture in a nonstick sauté pan and cook over high heat without stirring until the nuts have started to brown and toast, about 2 minutes. Then stir, and continue to cook, stirring for 5 minutes or until the peanuts have browned. The pan may smoke a bit from the coconut milk, but this is OK.
Transfer to a plate lined with parchment paper and allow to cool. The nuts will crisp up as they cool.
Once they are cool, break them up. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.