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Tham Jiak: Popcorn Endeavour
Tham Jiak means in some way "love to eat" in Hokkien. I am a Malaysian Hokkien and truly love to eat.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Popcorn Endeavour

I have been a fan of popcorn since the day Cineplex conquered Malaysia. Cineplex is actually cinema, a movie theatre in a shopping complex. This Cineplex fever had hit Malaysia about 8 years ago ( if I’m not mistaken) and people just love the idea for a one stop entertainment, where they will go there to eat, window shopping or do some buying and then go for a movie.

We used to have cinema in Malaysia, where a particular huge building with car parks itself is cater just for movie watching. At that time, cinema is a huge hit. Back in Taiping, Lido is one of the most famous cinemas, where during peak times like Chinese New Year; the tickets had to be booked a week ahead to get a seat for those usual 'Jackie Chan-good prevails-action kicking' kind of movie. I for one is lucky as my Lai Ma’s (nanny) husband Lai Pa, is the manager of the Lido cinema, which means easy booking for me. At times, during non peak season, I even have the privilege to watch a movie free; sometimes I would slip in a friend or two. After that, pirated VCDs invaded Malaysia and people no longer want to spend the money to watch in cinema when the price of one admission can get a CD for viewing by the whole family. Besides, Astro (our local cable television) came along and had also rendered many to their sofas. Then Cineplex became a trend and thus many cinemas close down one by one, and by 1999, Lido shut down too. I was particularly sad as I have many fond memories there, not just in the theatre but times I spend hanging out at the office with my Lai Pa.

Although I would love to have popcorn every time I go to a movie but sometimes, it is just too costly for me. After that I read about in blogs where people make their own popcorn. So one day, while J and I are out groceries shopping in the shopping mall (yes, shamefully that is where I get my food, just do not have the strength to wake up in the morning for a walk in the market), I just casually mentioned about popcorn. Now, I actually do not know how raw corn would look like and commented to J on how great if I know how to make own popcorn, as in not those costly pre-packed ready to pop in foil kind. J had a fit of laughter and was pretty amused. He was smug too as finally, there was once, he know something about food more than me. This was not the usual case where usually, during groceries shopping, he likes to enquire endlessly about food things from really negligible things to some I myself could not answer. Sometimes, I suspect he does all this just out to amuse himself while I do the boring “si lai” (housewife) shopping. Anyway, as I was saying, J pointed out to me what the raw corn was, of course after he gets a good laugh at me and a reluctant credit from me, as he had in fact seen his mum made popcorn before with the microwave. I was delighted in my new find - maize.

Well, J might have seen his mum did it before; typically he was not sure how exactly was it done. At that time, I do not have a microwave yet and decided to do it over the stove. It did pop but only half of it, with the other half burnt and stuck to the bottom of my saucepan. I have a similar problem, but with 70% success rate at second try. Then finally, I chuck my maize away in the corner of the cupboard. Then recently, I got my microwave! Hurray! So J and I put it in a container, with a knob of butter and finally it did came out nice, but sadly, still with about 15% non-pop at the bottom while also, unfortunately, slightly disfigured my container. I nearly gave up on my popcorn adventure but no, yesterday night, I just had the urge to finally make it right. I decided to use my trusty non-stick pan this time and finally had a 100% success rate! I was ecstatic.

Do try out making your own popcorn as, my huge bowl of popcorn, which cost me around RM1-2 compared to the popcorn sold in the cinema at RM6++ for maybe less the amount. You do the math. Besides, I’m pretty sure my popcorns are much healthier too, with no butter or preservatives plus more delicious with extra own spices. Now I am thinking of sneaking these lovelies into the cinema; lets all be converted together! But first I got to find a big hand bag.

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Cinnamon Caramel Popcorn

2 handful (1/3 cup) popcorn
1 tsp oil

Drop oil on pan and use a tissue to spread it all over, coating the pan.
Heat it till hot.
Add in popcorn and cover. It would helped to use a glass cover so that you can watch the corn popping, not only for pleasure, but to know how to handle it.
While it heats up, do some other stuff, watch TV, surf the net, clean the kitchen (as if) or just sit down and dream.
It’ll be quite sometime till the first “pop” is heard.
From here, you have to watch over it.
Shake the pan once a while. This is to avoid some un-pop corn and also burnt ones.
After some fascinating ooh ahh seeing the corn popping and also some shakings, the popping stops. Remove from heat.

The coating:
4 tbsp of brown sugar
2-3 tsp of cinnamon

Heat brown sugar and cinnamon over a saucepan.
Stir it occasionally to avoid burning.
The brown sugar would soon sweat and then melt into a lovely caramel.
From here take note not to over cook it or you’ll get black and bitter stuff.

Put in the popcorn by batches on the caramel and coat it roughly. You might not be able to coat all but just the better else it would be too sweet. You’ll then get huge chunks of popcorns sticking together from the caramel. Yum!

Now I'm thinking of all the other spices or maybe coffee powder to use instead of cinnamon. Imagine all the possibilities! More adventures for me!

Makes one huge bowl of finger sticking and licking popcorns


Meena said...

Caramel popcorn is my fabourite! I have all the time while at the movies!!

BTW, I do hope you remember the "From my Rasoi" event. I'm still waiting for your post, the deadline's almost here! :o)

Kalyn Denny said...

When I was a kid my family had a long time tradition of making popcorn every Sunday night. We put plenty of butter and salt on it too. I still love it now, but eat it less often.

boo_licious said...

oops, I have yet to cook anything Indian for the rasoi! That popcorn looks good, so rachel when are we both going to the cinema?

rokh said...

meena, i do remember but was kind of busy with the christmas baking. will do, don not worry!

kalyn, butter and salt! Yumm...will try that out.

boo, anytime at all! call me and i will make a huge batch!

Babe_KL said...

hahaha i can imagine how excited u could be when u hear yr first pop. i did too when i was wayyyyy younger in my early teens kekeke... anyway they now hv popcorn in a bag. just pop them inside the microwave oven.

Tazz said...

I have seen the demonstration of doing pop corn with non-stick pan, but I have never done it before. I only eat pop corn when I go to the movies, quite expensive. :(

rokh said...

babe, totally agree on the popping. i am even fascinated to see it change shape!

yea tazz, so make your own! it is really easy!

Stephanie said...

I love caramel and butter ... major drooool.

I wonder if anyone remembers the kachang putih they used to (and some still do) sell at the cinemas in Asia? I remember I loved this sugared peanuts ones.

rokh said...

mm, i love kacang putih! those usually sold in the old-time cinemas i mentioned, nowadays in cineplex is commercialize with popcorns and hotdogs.

Babe_KL said...

have a blessed Christmas!

Stephanie said...

rokh, yeah! I remember going to a cinema with my grandfather when I was very young. It was outdoors and all they had were makeshift bleachers. The kacang putih were the best part of the experience. I tried some of the kachang putih in a cinema in Singapore but it just did not taste the same. Sigh. Merry Xmas & Happy New Year btw!

rokh said...

mm, try buying them and boil your own! but of course it would not par up to those that smoke them. my hometown still have these makeshift bleachers.

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