February 1, 2019

Furikake Caramel Popcorn

Furikake Caramel Popcorn

East meets west with this caramel popcorn peppered with furikake, a sweet and salty nori condiment.

For those of you who are not familiar with furikake, it is a Japanese condiment that’s found in most Japanese homes. The basic flavor is mainly made of nori flakes, sesame seeds, salt, and sugar.   

In Japanese households, it’s used as a sprinkle on top of hot rice to make it a flavorful dish. I also grew up using it as a coating around musubi…a triangular hand-shaped cake of rice, sometimes filled with a salted plum. Other than the basic flavor, it also comes in and assortment of blends including wasabi and various fish.

And caramel popcorn? Well, no explaining there. But this is where east meets west. I’ve added soy sauce to the caramel glaze to give it more of an Asian flavor and it also enhances the furikake taste. The first time I made it, I took it to a family gathering and got rave reviews. But the peanut gallery also suggested it needed more furikake. So, I made it again and doubled the amount. Yes!

So, go ahead and play with the amount. Not sure you’re going to like the furikake on your caramel popcorn? Use half a jar. Feeling adventurous? Go for the whole jar for a bold flavor!

Furikake Caramel Popcorn

Makes about 14 cups

  • 24 cups of popped corn
  • ​(I like Orville Redenbacher)
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup margarine
  • 1 cup Karo light corn syrup
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 jar of nori furikake rice seasoning

Optional: You can add small flower-shaped Japanese rice crackers to the cooled popcorn.  Japanese rice crackers are found in some Asian food aisles. Also called arare, mochi crunch, or kakimochi.

Place popcorn in a very large bowl. Set aside 2 large baking pans or cookie sheets with raised sides.

In a heavy 1.75 quart saucepan, combine sugar, margarine, and corn syrup. You need a large pot because in the next step, the liquid foams up. Over medium heat, stir until it boils. Continue cooking without stirring for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in the soy sauce, vanilla, and baking soda. It will foam up considerably.

Drizzle over the popcorn, tossing the popcorn as you pour. You’ll notice the popcorn shrinks…so don’t panic. That’s why you start with 24 cups and end up with 14. Sprinkle the furikake over the popcorn and toss to coat. Divide the popcorn into the 2 pans and set aside the large bowl. Do not wash it. Bake at 250 degrees for one hour, tossing every 15 minutes.

Pour all the popcorn back into the large “dirty” bowl. If left in the baking pan, it will stick. After a couple of minutes, toss the popcorn, lifting it off the bottom. Cool completely and break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.

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