This is NOT popcorn.

Heard of popcorn, yeah? Here’s a healthier option.

Since my grand dad has a world of health problems right now and my dad is trying to lose some weight, my mum has been monitoring the kind of food she feeds the family. Being Gujarati’s, eating between meals is just as important as watching the daily three hours of tv soaps.

And my mum’s discovered the perfect way to keep tummies happy even between meals. Kernels of Jowar. Popped. Just the way corn kernels are. And seasoned with turmeric, red chilli powder and garlic. Pretty funky, if you ask me.

I think you can buy the grain at the Whole Foods Market (if you’re in USA) or at just about any grocery store, in India. If you can buy the grain popped, that’s great. In case you by just the grain, you can pop it like you pop regular kernels of corn on a stove.

How to pop the kernels:
Ingredients:
1/4 cup jowar (sorghum, scientic name) (dhaani, alternate Indian name) kernels
1 tablepsoon vegetable/canola oil

Method:
1. Heat the oil in a pot.
2. When it is hot, throw a few kernels in. Cover with a lid. You know the oil is hot enough when you hear them pop.
3. Add the rest of the grain in an even layer. Cover with the lid.
4. Remove from heat and wait about 30 seconds. This ensures that the oil gets hot enough. The wait period is to dissipate the heat to the grain.
5. Put the pot back on the stove. This is when the kernels begin to pop.
6. Gently shake the pot over the stove every few seconds to ensure even cooking of the kernels/grain.
7. Try to keep the lid a little ajar to allow the steam to escape. This is important so that the popped grain are drier and crisper.
8. The popping should slow down to several seconds between pops. This is when you remove the pot from the heat and take the lid off.
9. Empty the popped kernels out into a bowl/container.

You can eat these as is. But it’s always more fun when there’s some added flavour.

How to add the extra flavour:
Ingredients:
A bag full of popped jowar
A teaspoon of cooking oil.
10-12 cloves of garlic, crushed
A teaspoon of turmeric powder
A teaspoon of red chilli powder (more, if you like it that way)

Method:
1. Heat the oil in a pot. (You could use the same pot you used to pop the kernels)
2. Roast the garlic a teeny little bit. Add the spices. Stir for a few seconds.
4. Add the popped kernels. Cover with a lid. Give it a good mix for about 30 seconds or so.
5. Set the pot aside because the popped ‘dhaani’ is ready to eat.

Healthy options even when you’re watching that movie with a bunch of friends. Especially when they taste just like popcorn. And even look like it!

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