When I lived in Korea, I didn't find much of a selection of snack food at the movie theater closest to my apartment. I recall a few options for soft drinks, plain dried squid and popcorn. Yet the dominant aroma in the downtown Chuncheon theater we visited to watch the original original Men in Black was not popcorn but of dried squid.
|Movie popcorn in Korea has come a long way from the butter and coconut oil combo common in American movie theaters. (Photo by Wesley Ferreira Oliveira under creative commons license at sxc.hu)|
Korean movie theater food has come a long way since then. On the popcorn side, there are so many more fun flavors to try. Since popcorn is a blank slate, most any flavoring that is appealing on its own will also be appealing sprinkled on top of popcorn.
As Kristen of Hello Annyong noted,
The normal tray of nachos, box of buttered popcorn and soft drinks are here but in Korea (and it seems all over Asia) they like to switch up the flavors every once and awhile. Since I’ve been here, I’ve encountered “sweet” or caramel, cheddar, garlic, onion, green tea, and cinnamon popcorn at the theaters (and there’s never a premium to pay on these awesome flavors either) What’s more, they’ll let you mix your favorite flavors in a bucket.Before you wrinkle your nose at those flavors on popcorn — garlic? green tea? — keep in mind that some of popcorn flavors enjoyed in the States may be equally strange and even nauseating to Koreans. In my culinary past and present, I've eaten popcorn topped with brewer's yeast, celery salt and soy sauce — not at the same time.
At the moment, my favorite popcorn recipe, and a Saturday night ritual in my home, is curry popcorn. The kind of curry powder you use is important, but the brand name isn't. The crucial point is you must enjoy it in other dishes.
In this recipe, I did not use Ottogi brand curry powder, because it contains corn flour. Corn flour is a thickener, not a flavoring agent. It also contains palm oil and we're already adding oil in the form of butter and coconut oil to give this popcorn an authentic movie theater popcorn flavor. Find a curry powder that has spices only.
The powder I use contains salt, so I did not add more to the recipe. You will need napkins to wipe your fingers afterward, which makes it even more movie munch-worthy.
Curry movie popcorn3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons curry powder (or more to taste)
1/2 cup (75 g.) popping corn
- Pop 1/2 cup of popcorn. I prefer air popping to limit the greasiness.
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter and coconut oil over low heat.
- Add the curry powder, and stir well until smooth.
- Drizzle the curry-flavored oil while tossing the popcorn to evenly distribute the curry flavored butter.
- If desired, sprinkle some salt, and toss the popcorn again. Serve immediately.