Sichuan peppercorn fans (and newbies, too) will find every mouthful of this slightly mouth-numbing, not too fiery popcorn incredibly more-ish. Enjoy with a Tsingtao, naturally.
- 60 ml (¼ cup) canola or vegetable oil
- 110 g (½ cup) popcorn kernels
Sichuan and lime salt
- 3 tsp Sichuan peppercorns (see Note)
- 3 tsp chilli flakes
- 3 tsp sea salt
- 2 limes
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Makes 10 cups
To make the Sichuan and lime salt, place the peppercorns, chilli flakes and salt in a small frying pan over medium heat and toast for 2 minutes or until fragrant, the peppecorns have popped and the salt and chilli begin to darken slightly. Frequently shake the pan so that you do not burn the spices.
Tip the spice mixture into a mortar. Finely grate the lime rind directly over the spices to catch the oils. Roughly crush the spice mixture using a pestle.
Heat the oil in a 3 or 4-litre saucepan with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat until just before it smokes. Add a popcorn kernel to the oil to test if it is hot enough; if it spins, then the oil is ready (see Note).
Add all the popcorn kernels, swirl to cover the kernels with the oil, cover with the lid and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, for 1 minute 45 seconds or until the popping sounds have stopped.
Tip the popcorn in a large wide bowl and immediately toss with half of the spice mix until all the popcorn is well coated, then add the remaining spice mix and toss again until well coated.
Just before serving, squeeze over the juice of 1 lime.
• Sichuan peppercorns are available in the spice section of major supermarkets and Asian grocers.
• The oil shouldn’t be smoking; if it is, remove from the heat until it stops smoking, then return to the heat.
Photography by Amanda McLauchlan, styling by Aimee Jones.
View more ridiculously tasty recipes from our Popcorn Cup collection to celebrate the World Cup.