Pop it Like it’s Hot

Upon arrival in Hawaii, there were only a few foods I knew were must-eats, and Hurricane Popcorn was near the top. A simple concept that has won fiercely loyal fans, boxes are said to be smuggled back the mainland by those in the know, craving the distinctive island snack food. Found in both popped and unpopped formats, the microwave bags are the only way to go for the true Hurricane Popcorn experience.

Broken down into separate packets containing popcorn kernels, dry toppings, and buttery flavor, it became immediately obvious that a homemade equivalent would be just about as complex to assemble. Salty, rich, and packed with umami, its appeal is easy to understand, but the ingredients themselves are rather unsavory. In the same vein as “slimy yet satisfying,” those glistening, crispy kernels made a lasting impression as “good but greasy.” Certainly, we can all do better… So after returning home, that’s just what I did.

Of course, never satisfied to go the basic route, I tried to one-up the original by making my own savory, soy sauce-infused mochi pieces, more true to the description than the dry rice crackers included in a plastic baggie. Though it’s not technically mochi, the sticky pounded rice cakes typically enjoyed for desserts, arare do fit the bill better for this unique snack application. Simpler is truly better, so don’t be fooled by the above photo; to best satisfy the next Hawaiian-inspired snack attack, do as I say, not as I do.

Homemade Hurricane Popcorn

2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
1/2 Cup Unpopped Popcorn Kernels
3 Tablespoons Non-Dairy Margarine
3 – 4 Tablespoons Ao Nori
2 Tablespoons Toasted Sesame Seeds (White, Black, or a Blend)
1 Cup Hana Arare (Flower-Shaped Rice Crackers)
Flaky Sea Salt, to Taste

In a large stock pot with high sides, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Place 3 – 4 popcorn kernels in the pot, cover, and once one pops, that will mean your oil has come up to the right temperature to really get popping. Add the remaining unpopped popcorn into the pan and cover the pan once more.

Gently shake the pan over the heat, still covered, to pop the kernels evenly and prevent already popped corn from burning. When the pace of popping slows to one pop every 3 – 5 seconds, remove the pan from the heat. Keep the pot covered while the final kernels pop; about 3 minutes. Carefully lift the lid away from you, as there will be a good deal of very hot steam looking to escape.

Meanwhile, melt the margarine in a microwave-safe dish, heating for 30 – 60 seconds. Transfer the popped corn to your desired serving bowl, leaving any unpopped kernels in the bottom of the pot. Drizzle the melted margarine all over, tossing to coat. Sprinkle in the nori flakes, sesame seeds, and salt, to taste. Finally add the arare right on top, and stir gently to incorporate. Enjoy right away!

Makes Approximately 4 Quarts (About 4 Servings)

Printable Recipe

18 thoughts on “Pop it Like it’s Hot

      1. Ah, now I understand! Any chance you can get plain sheets of nori instead? You could toast them lightly and then cut them into strips with a pair of scissors. The rice crackers should be available in most grocery stores in the international section. Of course, I have no idea about availability across the globe, but they’re still fairly common so it should be worth a look. I would feel badly for posting so many things you can’t try!

      2. I can shred the nori but would love to have tried the mochi. My daughters say its delicious (recent trip to Mainland Australia). I can get rice crackers so I might try it with them. Cheers for the good save Hannah ;)

  1. I remember having these popcorn in Maui…we were all crazy about it…I love the nori in it…
    Thanks for the recipe Hannah, and hope you are having a lovely week :)

  2. Oh….I’ve never tried the Hurricane Popcorn before! What am I missing out??? I probably haven’t been to Hawaii for too long. I swear I didn’t see these on my last visit! Good thing is that you have an easy to prepare recipe. ;) Can’t wait to make these for snacking.

  3. I love those rice crackers! Funny, I have an official popper but so, so rarely make popcorn. That must be remedied. Love the addition of seaweed!

  4. Oh Hannah! I want to dive into a bowl of these now! I usually go for a sweet popcorn like salted caramel but I think I might just fall in love with this one. Need to restock my pantry with some corn kernels for popping soon!

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