How We Made Popcorn

Do you like popcorn? Somehow popcorn always reminds me of trips to the cinema when we’d buy a giant bucket and munch our way through (probably to the annoyance of those seated around us, although we did try to limit the crunching sounds!). Popcorn is a popular snack here too, especially as lots of people grow maize in the rainy season, so there’s always plenty of maize kernels around.

When my kids were young, we often used to make popcorn – there’s something magical about putting a small measure of maize kernels into a pan, listening to the popping sounds as it heats up, and then opening the lid to reveal the magically puffy popcorn at the end. So while the cousins were here over Christmas, I decided to make some popcorn for them all.

Here’s how we did it (and thank to Dodou for acting as official photographer!).

I’d already bought the maize kernels in Brikama, and I had a pan with a lid (essential so that the popcorn doesn’t fly everywhere while it’s popping!). I also had some oil, so armed with some homemade pot holders so I didn’t burn my fingers, we set to work.

First I put the oil in the pan, then added the maize kernels. I put the lid on and placed the pan on the gas burner – it was quite tricky to adjust the burner high enough to let the corn pop but not so high that it got burned.

The important thing with popcorn is to keep shaking the pan so that the corn pops rather than sticks. And you have to hold the lid on firmly while you shake too. I could have done with three hands really!

Then the moment of revealing the popcorn – needless to say, the kids were suitably impressed by how full the pan was!

Sulieman took on the duty of testing the popcorn, just to see if it was properly cooked of course.

Then Dodou stirred in some condensed milk (and I firmly ignored both the calory count and the sugar content – it was Christmas, after all.)

Dodou then put the popcorn into plastic cups so it could be shared equally and Sulieman acted as waiter.

Although I say so myself, it tasted pretty good. We used the rest of the condensed milk to make “lait”, a drink brewed rather like the green tea with a dash of salt – it’s traditionally served on special occasions like naming ceremonies, so we made the most of the treat. And best of all, there were even some maize kernels left over for another day.

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