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N & N


United Kingdom


Our South Indian recipes

Caramel Cardamom Popcorn

Nikki Ravi

A few weeks ago we went to watch the Hindi film 'Neerja'. If you haven't seen it, we can't recommend it enough. It's the true story of the incredibly brave woman Neerja Bhanot who saved hundreds of lives during a plane hijacking in India. Our grandmother named Neeru after her!

So, movies demand snacks and these usually take the form of unhealthy buttery, sugary popcorn. We decided to create our own South Indian inspired oil free popcorn and we came up with this.... a caramel spiced popcorn which is completely oil free!

We used jaggery instead of sugar to create a caramel syrup and infused it with cardamom for subtle scented spice. Some chopped toasted pistachios added in at the end give a wonderful crunch and nuttiness.

The secret to this popcorn is the two step procedure - first pop the kernels in a large metal pan and mix in the syrup and then step two, bake in the oven! The baking step is key and is what gives the popcorn it's delicious crunch without any added oil!

Mix up the flavours by adding a pinch or two of chilli powder or throw in some more toasted nuts for additional crunch.

So next time you curl up for a movie at home, make yourself a bowl of this healthier popcorn! If you're more of a savoury person, try out our savoury spiced trail mix which uses puffed buckwheat!


Time: 20 minutes


Makes: about 5 cups of popcorn

1/3 cup corn kernels
1/4 cup jaggery
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
1/4 cup chopped pistachios


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. 
  2. Make the popcorn! If you're doing this in a microwave then skip directly to step 4.  Find a large thick bottomed metal pan - having a thick walled pan is really important as the walls will become really hot when it gets heated up and create the conditions needed to pop the kernels without any oil. 
  3. Add the popcorn kernels to the pan, add a lid and then turn on the heat.  After the pan has heated for 3-4 minutes you should start hearing some popping sounds - leave the pan on the heat for 5 minutes until most of the kernels have popped!
  4. In a separated smaller pan, heat the water together with the jaggery. Once the jaggery has dissolved turn up the heat to a gentle simmer and let the sugar syrup thicken for 3-4 minutes but be very careful that it doesn't burn!
  5. Then add in the cardamom and chopped pistachios and pour the syrup over the popcorn. 
  6. Mix it all through and spread out the syrup coated popcorn onto a baking tray lined with foil. 
  7. Bake in the oven for 7-10 minutes until crisp and golden!