Thai Chili Chufa Popcorn and Matcha Sesame Agave Popcorn

I’ve sent foods through the mail. The usual care-package stuff: cookies, cakes, jam, soup. Based on my experience I’ve created a few easy to memorize phrases to guide you when sending edible gifts. Practice these in a sing-songy voice for enhanced remembering:

1. Mailing Soup Is Stoupid. 

2. Never JAM your hand into a box of broken glass.

3. A delivery man never thinks there’s a cake in the box he is kicking.

4. Always be smarter than an idiot–send cookies!

5. Granola takes a lickin’ and sure won’t rot very fast.

Now that you’ve memorized these handy proverbs you can pass them down to your grandchildren like nursery rhymes. It’s easier than ever to remember that tough, dry foods are best for shipping.

Outside of Christmas, May/June is the number one season for mailing food. Graduations really get the post office hopping. Why? Because graduations are the most hideous of all events to attend in person.

There will be other occasions when you will want to send food as a gift:

•When your son begins attendance at a low security prison.

•When your daughter is released from a North Korean labor camp but has to stay at a transition center in Germany for 3 weeks.

•The other event that calls for the delivery of a special food parcel is when, on a whim, in a distant city, you get your nose re-pierced.

Re-pierced decades after the fateful first attempt by a sketchy Belgian in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Don’t conclude that I am prejudiced against Belgians. It’s just the one. When I say sketchy I mean filthy lying.

Filthy: I was blinded by the well-displayed, glittering jewels. I didn’t notice the Belgian’s mire packed fingernails until it was too late. It wasn’t just the nails though. His lengthy, hueless bangs hung like 1978 Barstow Motel drapes–smoke drenched and moist from oils.

Lying: I sat on the piercing chair. The Lego quality piercing gun bounced around the stall, skittered over the Balinese necklaces, slurffled across the mayonnaise coated corn on the cob. At least twice it fell on the ground. I asked the Belgian if he was able to pierce my nose. Of course it can be done but you will pay the same like for two ears. We can have both nose sides for you. I had an intuition that something wasn’t right. I was terrifically courteous in my 20s. I knew it would be rude to back out of minor outdoor surgery because of a silly hunch.

My daughter made me edit out all sections of this story that included screaming bloody murder and puncture wounds. The EAR piercing gun did not have the horsepower to spike a jewel through my robust nostril. It was made for flimsy earlobes. After two nail-gun style attempts, the Belgian took matters into his own HANDS. He had never pierced a nose. Within 5 days Operation Nose Bedazzle was scrapped. My nose healed and went back to plain style.

Fast forward some decades to Mother’s Day 2017. After a superb Los Angeles brunch at hipster joint, Laurel Hardware, my daughter ushered me down the road to the world famous Body Electric Tattoo and Piercing Studio. Mother’s Day luck struck like lightening. Though we did not have an appointment, owner and CEO Brian Keith Thompson was available for a nose piercing engagement.

You’re wondering, in what ways was Brian similar to the Belgian? No ways.

Brian’s hair is unlike dirty drapes in every way. His tidy scalp glows with hygienic competence. His appearance conveys Immaculate Skill. His piercing room smells of cleansers I cannot afford. Antibacterial essential oils and CLEANLINESS permeate his space. Brian’s autoclave gaze is, appropriately, piercing. He will not break eye contact when he lays down the laws of post piercing care. The actual piercing was swift, smooth, virtually painless and PERFECTLY PLACED. My nose is 7 thousand percent more beautiful.

Body Electric, though sterilized, is anything but sterile. The studio possesses an edgy, pleasant blend of flavors from Zen to luscious leather and titanium. In the background, the place is punctuated by the rich, inky tones of tattoo art and culture. http://bodyelectrictattoo.com/home/#welcome

When someone pierces your nose perfectly, that person deserves to receive treats in the mail. With Brian and the artists at the world famous Body Electric in mind, I worked up two special, flavored popcorn recipes: Thai Chili Chufa and Matcha Sesame Agave.

Tiger nuts or Chufa are not nuts but a tuber and “super food.” The sweet, earthy flavor sings when the “nuts” are toasted. They pair up just right with Thai/chili/lime flavors. The Matcha sesame popcorn is sweet, delicate, savory and delicious–a sophisticated caramel corn. Crunch. Yum. 

 

Thai Chili Chufa Popcorn and Matcha Sesame Popcorn

  • Yield: 9-10 cups per batch
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 20 min

Ingredients

  • FOR THE MATCHA SESAME AGAVE POPCORN:
  • 1/2 cup popping corn (8-10 cups popped)
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil divided
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar (I used Madhava Agave Light)
  • 1/2 cup hulled sesame seeds
  • 1-2 teaspoons Matcha green tea powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • FOR THE THAI CHILI CHUFA POPCORN:
  • 1/2 cup popping corn (8-10 cups popped)
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil divided
  • 1/2-3/4 cup hulled, toasted Chufa (Tiger Nuts)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (toast your own because the taste difference is worth it)
  • 5 tablespoons agave nectar (I used Madhava Agave Light)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (about 1/2 lime)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric root powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon prepared Thai chili paste (I used Thai Kitchen)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 285 degrees.

  2. Prepare 2 18x26 inch baking pans by covering each in a lightly oiled sheet of parchment paper. If you're making just one of these delicious snack corns, prepare just one sheet.

  3. FOR THE MATCHA SESAME POPCORN

  4. Pop your corn. I used 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a heavy bottomed Dutch Oven style pot on the stove top. This is a free-style activity. Cut loose. Go out in the backyard, build a fire and pop your corn in a rusty wheel well if you want. JUST DO NOT USE AN AIRPOWER, you crazy 1987 Aerobics instructor! Place popped corn in a big bowl with plenty of room for tossing.

  5. Place 3 tablespoons coconut oil and 1/2 cup agave nectar in a saucepan. Heat to melt oil. Whisk in 1-2 teaspoon Matcha powder. Whisk until all lumps are gone. I had to strain my mix because I didn't start whisking right away. I left the Matcha floating in there while I watered some plants. Let your plants die if necessary. It's worth it.

  6. Sprinkle in the teaspoon of salt and continue to whisk while cooking on medium hight heat. When the mix gets to about 230 degrees it should be at a medium boil. Notice the liquid thickening and getting sticky. You can see this stickiness at the bubbly edges of the pan. As soon as this phenomena occurs, at 230 degrees if you are measuring, remove from heat and drizzle evenly over your popped corn.

  7. Gently toss popcorn a few times until mostly coated.

  8. Sprinkle sesame seeds evenly over popcorn and continue to gently toss.

  9. Spread sticky, green popcorn on a lightly oiled parchment covered baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 285 degrees. Check progress after 5 minutes. A too hot oven will brown the popcorn. We are just drying it out and LIGHTLY toasting it to set it. You will have a nice brick to break up into small and hunkier pieces. You could make popcorn balls but I find those depressing. I don't like jamming a too big, sticky, round snack at my face. I have to jut my teeth out unnaturally to get a good hold on those popcorn balls. First person to send me a pic of someone taking the first bite of a circumference 10 inches popcorn ball will get a care package in the mail.

  10. FOR THE THAI CHILI CHUFA POPCORN

  11. Pop your corn. See instructions for Matcha Sesame Agave popcorn for details.

  12. Toast Chufa (Tiger Nuts) and raw pumpkin seeds in a 300 degree oven for 5-8 minutes or until the nuts/seeds have JUST deepened in color. Lightest toasty brown.

  13. Melt 3 tablespoons coconut oil with 1/2 cup agave nectar in a saucepan.

  14. Add 2 tablespoons lime juice.

  15. Whisk in 1/2 teaspoon turmeric root powder, 1/4 teaspoon prepared Thai red chili paste, 1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes, and 1/2-1 teaspoon salt.

  16. Whisk as you cook the mixture over medium high heat. Get it to a medium boil. At 230 degrees the mix will begin to thicken and become sticky. Before it changes color, remove it from heat.

  17. Immediately drizzle evenly over popcorn and toss gently to coat. After the first few turns of the corn, add the Chufa and pumpkin seeds. Continue to toss gently until well coated.

  18. Spread popcorn mix on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in a 285degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Check at 5 and 8 minutes to ensure the corn is not browning. The idea is to toast to crisp, not brown, the popcorn.

  19. Remove from oven and let set for a few minutes. You should have a nice sheet brick. Break it into irregular pieces and enjoy.

Notes

I would serve either of these popcorn treats over ginger, lychee nut or green tea ice cream for dessert. Both would follow nicely after Sushi, Vietnamese BBQ, or Panang Curried Lamb. I am hungry.

 

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