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Popcorn with Togarashi-Seaweed Spice Blend

Serves 2

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    Spicy popcorn? You bet. This Japanese seven-spice blend combines salty and spicy notes for a healthy snack. If you don’t make your own togarashi, check the container before adding it to your popcorn to make sure it doesn’t contain salt. For an even simpler recipe, skip the togarashi and just grind a few pieces of nori and a pinch of salt in a blender or spice grinder to sprinkle on your popcorn instead. If you’re fresh out of nori, you can always grind wakame, arame, or dulse instead, leaving out the pinch of salt for dulse or any seaweed you taste and find already salty.

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    Shichimi togarashi

    This customizable spice blend generally features sansho pepper, a.k.a. Japanese prickly ash, a green peppercorn with a citrusy taste, along with seaweed flakes, chili pepper, and dried citrus peel—often yuzu or mandarin orange. If you can’t find sansho, look for Sichuan peppercorn, which has a slightly stronger mouth-tingling effect. You can buy dried orange, mandarin, or tangerine peel. Or you can dehydrate your own, in which case you might as well dehydrate a 1/8 in (3 mm) thick piece of fresh ginger along with the peel. If you can’t handle a lot of chili pepper heat, reduce the pepper to your taste.

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    Popcorn with Togarashi-Seaweed Spice Blend

      Ingredients

      • 8 cups (2 L) popped popcorn, about 1/3 cup (80 mL) kernels
      • 1 tsp (5 mL) melted butter or plant-based margarine
      • 1 tsp (5 mL) shichimi togarashi (see recipe)
      • Pinch of salt (optional)
      Shichimi togarashi
      • 6 small dried red chili peppers
      • 1 tsp (5 mL) sesame seeds or hempseeds
      • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) sansho or Sichuan peppercorns
      • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) dried orange peel
      • 2 tsp (10 mL) nori flakes (or 2 sheets nori)
      • 2 tsp (10 mL) poppy seeds
      • 2 tsp (10 mL) ground ginger

      Nutrition

      Per serving:

      • calories146
      • protein5 g
      • total fat 3 g
        • sat. fat1 g
      • total carbohydrates25 g
        • sugars0 g
        • fibre5 g
      • sodium96 mg

      Directions

      01

      In small skillet over medium heat, toast whole dried chili peppers, sesame seeds, and sansho peppercorns for 2 minutes. Transfer to small bowl to cool. In blender or spice grinder, coarsely grind with remaining ingredients.

      02

      In large bowl, drizzle melted butter over popped popcorn. Sprinkle with togarashi and salt, if using.

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      Going Pro

      You might think of protein as something you mainly get from a meal and, therefore, not a component of dessert. But, if you’re going to opt for dessert from time to time, why not consider working in ingredients that go big on this important macronutrient? It’s easier (and more delicious) than you may think! Protein is an essential part of every cell in your body and plays a starring role in bone, muscle, and skin health. So, certainly, you want to make sure you’re eating enough. And it’s best to spread protein intake throughout the day, since your body needs a continual supply. This is why it can be a great idea to try to include protein in your desserts. When protein is provided in sufficient amounts in a dessert, it may help you feel more satiated and help temper blood sugar swings. Plus, in many cases, that protein comes in a package of other nutritional benefits. For instance, if you’re eating a dessert made with protein-packed Greek yogurt, you’re not just getting protein; you’re getting all the yogurt’s bone-benefitting calcium and immune-boosting probiotics, too. Adding nuts to your dessert doesn’t just provide plant-based protein, but it also provides heart-healthy fats. Yes, desserts need not be just empty calories. Ready for a treat? These protein-filled desserts with a healthy twist are dietitian-approved—and delicious.