Carrie Brown, John Werner, and Michael McLaughlin's The Jimtown
Store Cookbook, Harper Collins, 2002
Adapted by StarChefs
are pumpkinseeds, which we coat with spices and chiles and then
oven-toast until they puff and become crisp. Palomitas (little
doves) is the fanciful name Mexicans give to popped corn. Both
pepitas and palomitas are both very good, but are even tastier and
more festive when served together. We serve this combo the way Mexican
street vendors often serve popped corn in paper cones with wedges
of lime for squeezing (you can also offer the snack in a big bowl
with napkins on the side). However you serve them, dont skip the
lime its the key to this snacks success.
3 1/2 quarts, serves at least 12
tablespoons plain, unblended chile powder
tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground (see Note)
1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
large egg whites
teaspoon hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
3/4 cups (about 1/2 pound) raw pumpkinseeds
ounces (about 1 cup) lightly salted roasted peanuts
cup (about 2 1/2 ounces) raw sunflower seeds, hulled
tablespoons peanut or corn oil
cup premium popping corn
a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375†F. Lightly coat
a 9 by 13-inch metal baking pan with no-stick spray.
a small bowl, combine the chile powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, 1
1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt, and black pepper.
a large bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy. Whisk in the pepper
sauce and then add the pumpkinseeds, peanuts, and sunflower seeds
and stir to coat them evenly. Transfer the chile powder mixture
to a coarse sieve. Working quickly, so they eggs dont dry out,
shake the spice mixture evenly over the egg and nut mixture while
stirring to coat evenly. Spread the seasoned nut mixture in the
prepared pan and set it in the oven.
for 10 minutes. Stir the mixture with a spatula to break up clumps.
Continue to bake, stirring once or twice more, until crisp and brown
(about 15 minutes). Transfer immediately to a bowl and cool.
before you plan to serve, stir the oil and popping corn together
in a large, heavy pot. Cover and set over medium-high heat, stirring
occasionally. When the first kernels pop, set the pot lid slightly
ajar, vent steam. Shake the pot occasionally until the popping dies
down (3 to 4 minutes), then remove from the heat. Season to taste
Divide the popped corn into paper cones or a large shallow bowl
and sprinkle the pepita mixture generously over the top. Serve,
preferably still slightly warm, with the lime wedges. (Offer the
remaining pepitas on the side or save them for another occasion.)
You should prepare fresh popped corn each time you serve, but
the pepitas can be prepared up to 2 weeks in advance. Store the
mixture airtight at room temperature and heat for about 5 minutes
in a 375-degree oven before serving if they lose their crispness.
Toasted cumin has a rich, nutty flavor we find habit-forming. In
a small, heavy skillet over medium heat, dry-toast 1/3 cup or so
of whole cumin seeds (a larger quantity is less likely to burn than
a few tablespoons), stirring often, until the seeds are fragrant,
lightly browned, and a few are beginning to pop, 6 to 8 minutes.
Do not over-toast or the cumin will become bitter. Transfer to a
bowl and cool. Store the toasted seeds in a jar and grind them (in
a spice mill or in a mortar with a pestle) just before using. One
tablespoon of whole seeds will yield about 2 1/2 teaspoons ground.