This is the ninth popcorn recipe, and when I wrote the title I heard a couple of things in my head. First, I heard Mr. Rooney from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off proclaiming “NINE times” as he relayed Ferris’ absences to his unsuspecting mother. Then I heard Schoolhouse Rock’s “Naughty Number Nine” song that helped my daughter learn her multiplication tables when they were learning nines in school. I also thought of Black Sheep’s song lyric “Engine engine number 9, on that New York Transit line…” and I giggled a little because why in the WORLD do I have so many references to the number 9 swimming around my head? I can miraculously remember these things, but I still can’t seem to remember to pick up coffee creamer when I go to the store. Incredible.
Fortunately, this popcorn recipe is very easy to make and remember, and you may even have the ingredients on hand. Especially if you love wasabi peas and keep them stocked in your pantry. They’re great just for snacking, sprinkling on salads, or topping a creamy soup for a little heat and texture. Here, I’ve ground them into a powder, tossed them with buttered popcorn, and finished it off with a little salt and some toasted sesame oil. It’s savory, sweet, and has just a tiny bit of heat thanks to the wasabi coating. If you’d like, you can watch Ferris Bueller, School House Rock, or 90s Rap videos while you eat it. I think they’d all compliment it very well.
9 cups Popcorn, picked through for unpopped kernels
1/3 cup Wasabi Peas, plus more for mixing in
3 Tablespoons Butter, melted
Toasted Sesame Oil, for drizzling (optional)
Fine Salt for sprinkling
Place wasabi peas in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Alternately, you can place them in a bag and crush them with a rolling pin or heavy can until ground into a powdery consistency. Set aside.
Place popcorn in a large bowl and drizzle with butter. Sprinkle over wasabi pea powder and toss to combine. Sprinkle with salt to taste. If using, drizzle a small amount of toasted sesame oil over the finished popcorn, about 1/4 teaspoon. A little goes a long way. Mix in extra wasabi peas to taste. These will have a little more heat since they were not ground, and they’ll provide a great balance to the sweeter wasabi pea powder.
If you’d like, add some toasted almonds or cashews and some mixed rice crackers (usually available in the Asian section of the supermarket). It makes a great snack mix perfect for serving with drinks or cocktails!