Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

17 Apr 2005, 12:06 p.m.

Indian-Style Popcorn

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2005 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Last night Leonard showed me Goodbye, Lenin!, a funny and touching film about deception, history, and idealism. (Finding a local and independent video place within walking distance has done wonders for our movie-watching.) I'd found my mother's recipe for Indian-style popcorn while searching for tax documentation, so I enjoyed a nostalgia-evoking treat while watching a movie about a lost world.


Use an air-popper (or the microwave-and-paper-bag method) to pop kernels of popcorn. Use about half a cup of kernels. Discard the unpopped kernels that inevitably make their way into the popcorn.

In a big pot, heat several tablespoons of oil thoroughly but not to boiling. Add a not-quite-heaping teaspoon of cumin seeds, known as jeera in Indian cookery. Shut off the heat. Add a heaping teaspoon of curry powder, also known as rasam powder or saurin puddi. Optional: add a quarter-teaspoon of extra turmeric if you want a really bright color on the spiced popcorn.

Shake or stir the spices in the oil. When you can really smell them, mix the popped popcorn with the heated oil, shaking and stirring. Add a not-quite-heaping teaspoon of sugar and salt to taste.

For best results, pour the popcorn and scrape the hot spicy oil into a paper bag and shake vigorously. Serve while still hot. Makes enough for one person to munch throughout one movie.