Peek inside any registered dietitian's snack stash and you're bound to find a bounty of popcorn. Full of fiber, it's one food they readily endorse for those moments when you want something to munch on but aren't necessarily "hungry"—like at happy hour. You know when you're sipping on an ice cold cocktail and just want something crunchy to snack on while you catch up with friends? It's a great time to bust out the popcorn.
Your happy hour is about to get a whole lot tastier, too. In the latest Cook With Us episode, Chef Palak Patel teaches us how to make masala popcorn that's full of flavor and anti-inflammatory benefits. She also shows how to make a low-sugar blueberry spritzer in less than 60 seconds.
- Palak Patel, award-winning chef and TV personality
Here's a run-down of what you need to make the masala popcorn: popcorn kernels plus canola oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, butter, and delicious aromatic spices like smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, and garam masala. "Garam masala is an Indian spice that's a blend of a lot of different spices. If you can't get it, you can absolutely omit it from the recipe," Palak says in the video. While all the spices give the popcorn its delicious flavor, it's the paprika and cumin in particular that give this snack its anti-inflammatory benefits.
Palak makes the popcorn by coating the kernels with the oil and microwaving them in a brown paper lunch bag. Then, she combines the spices, butter, and lemon juice and tops the popcorn with it. That's all it takes!
Use the three minutes that the popcorn is in the microwave to shake up a crisp, low-sugar cocktail—it's more than enough time (seriously). Palak incorporates fresh blueberries, lemon juice, and vodka—she uses Smirnoff Zero-Sugar Infusions Lemon and Elderflower vodka—to make a tart spritzer that vibes so perfectly with the spice of the masala.
In about five minutes, you have both a refreshing cocktail and savory snack ready to be enjoyed. Watch the episode to see how to make both and get the recipes below.
Blueberry spritzer recipe
1 handful fresh blueberries
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1.5 oz. Smirnoff Zero Sugar Infusions Lemon & Elderflower Vodka
1 cup seltzer water
1. Add the blueberries to a cocktail shaker. Use a muddler to break down the berries.
2. Add the lemon juice, vodka, and seltzer water.
3. Shake and pour into a glass through the cocktail maker strainer.
4. Garnish with blueberries and lemon peel.
Masala popcorn recipe
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 garam masala
2 Tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp lemon juice
Salt, to taste
1. Pour the popcorn kernels into a medium-sized bowl. Coat the kernels with canola oil.
2. Pour the oil-covered kernels into a brown paper lunch bag. Close the bag by folding over the top. Place the bag in the microwave on top of a paper towel. Cook for about three minutes.
3. Make the masala mixture by combining the spices in a small bowl. Add the melted butter and lemon juice to the bowl. Mix it all together. Add salt, to taste.
4. Add the popcorn to a big bowl. Spoon the masala mixture over the popcorn. Enjoy!
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