Jaggery, pistachio, sesame, cardamom and chilli crusted popcorn

30 Jan

Jaggery, pistachio, sesame, cardamom and chilli crusted popcorn


My baby boy turns two today.

We went to buy his cake today and he, completely unprompted thanked the staff. In the supermarket he now walks with me, for quick shops only (rather than sitting in the trolley or pram) and natters the whole way; busses, music, birds, cars.  He scoots straight past all the dolls and pink crafts and goes straight to monster trucks, robots and aeroplanes.  He knows to hold my hand at all times.  When we got home he refused to let me cook dinner and swung from my leg until I carried him whilst cooking so that he could stir. After dinner he told me that wanted cuddles with mumma and whimpered until I sat down with him and he hurriedly made conversation, becoming breathless in fact…just in case I would get up and move away from talking about favourite vehicles, animals, planets or dinosaurs.

He still feels a part of me, an extension.  Not everyone will see this. I have learned an incredible amount about life through my boy in the last two years.

I eat more popcorn now than I have for many years, because he likes it.  I used to be a definite salted girl, but somewhere along the lines, things changed. Apart from when it comes to masala popcorn, of course!

Jaggery, pistachio, sesame, cardamom and chilli crusted popcorn

For this recipe I have used jaggery.  Jaggery is a molasses like block, deep and smooth and is a product of date, cane juice or palm sap without the separation of molasses and crystals and can vary from light to dark brown in colour.  Jaggery is typically combined with other ingredients such as nuts, coconut or condensed milk to make sweet delicacies. I am using jaggery because it has got to be better than using caramel and also, because I love the deep tones of jaggery. I know that jaggery has been used for Ayurveda as it contains minerals that aren’t found in sugar.  I had added sesame seeds and peanuts, which make the popcorn taste quite festive when combined with jaggery. There is an aromatic hint of cardamom and a kick of heat.  Give it a go.

Please be careful, melted jaggery is very hot and can burn you. Please don’t lick it for a taste test when hot.



175g jaggery

3 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

75g toasted and coarsely chopped pistachio

1/3rd cup of popcorn kernels

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

¼ tsp. cardamom

¼ tsp. chilli powder


  1. Start by making the popcorn. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and allow the popcorn kernels to pop and then cool the popcorn
  2. Heat the jaggery on a medium to low flame in a non-stick pan. Be patient and let the jaggery melt. Cut it into smaller pieces to speed it up.
  3. Once the jaggery is smooth, turn the heat to a very low flicker and quickly stir in the spices, blending them through evenly. Turn off the heat and let the jaggery cool until it is warm, but not piping hot.
  4. Add the sesame seeds and pistachio and then the popcorn and stir quickly before it sets into clumps. Try and get an even coverage.
  5. Tip the popcorn out onto a large plate, letting it cool.
  6. When the popcorn is cool separate any clumps.




23 Responses to “Jaggery, pistachio, sesame, cardamom and chilli crusted popcorn”

  1. Katie @ Whole Nourishment January 30, 2014 at 6:59 pm #

    I can only imagine how much you learn in those first 2 years of being a mom! I’ve never used jaggery so this is quite intriguing, and I love the addition of pistachios!

    • Deena Kakaya January 30, 2014 at 9:22 pm #

      Hi Katie, great to hear from you! I’ve learned a lot about life’s and myself.

      Oh I really recommend giving jaggery a go if you like caramel textures but don’t want to use loads of refined sugar. Do let me know if you do try it x

  2. Ganga108 January 30, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

    These are such precious times. xx

  3. EA-The Spicy RD January 30, 2014 at 10:43 pm #

    What’s not to love about this delicious recipe and this lovely post??? I remember clearly the day my “baby” boy turned 2 because we were living in Virginia at the time, and getting ready for a backyard birthday party when I heard shouts from the bathroom. I ran to see what was happening and saw him with scissors in his hands and pale blonde hair all over the floor. He and his sister {3 1/2 at the time} had decided to give each other hair cuts. Thank goodness no one was hurt 🙂 Now he is 10, and still cuddles with me every night, hugs me and tells me he loves me in front of his friends. I bet you will have the same from yours 🙂 Happy BIrthday to your baby boy!!!

    • Deena Kakaya January 30, 2014 at 10:46 pm #

      Oh, I want to HUG you. I’m not just saying it, I’m feeling quite emotional at how life and I have transformed. Also, hubby is away for work and missed the birthday. I’m so happy to read your message, I really hope my boy is as loving as yours at ten. Boys are the best xxxx

  4. Cj January 31, 2014 at 12:59 pm #

    So Good – Would love to see this submitted at Food Foto Gallery.com so I can share with all my foodie friends 🙂

  5. Nip it in the bud January 31, 2014 at 2:41 pm #

    I’ve never heard of jaggery and don’t suppose I can get it here. Is it a bit like using mollasses.
    I’m a love struck Mumma of a gorgeous newly 2 year old as well. The talking, humour, fiery independence, totally soppy moments are just so life affirming.
    Sorry to read your husband was away for this very special birthday, I’m sure you all had a fabulous time despite that – it’s a great excuse for extending the celebrations when he’s back.

    • Deena Kakaya January 31, 2014 at 8:03 pm #

      Hello! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Where do you live? Jaggery looks like molasses but tastes like caramel. I got my most recent block from Asda!

      I just saw your lovely pics of your little boy, wonderful smiles. I feel so blessed, life is utterly different now xx

      • Nip it in the bud February 9, 2014 at 10:30 pm #

        how funny, and there was me presuming it was something I’d have to hunt high and low for it!

  6. kellie@foodtoglow January 31, 2014 at 9:36 pm #

    Oh I remember those days of toddlerhood. You feel like a goddess! What a feeling to be the definite centre of the most special person in your life’s universe. Cherish them and hold them close to your heart.

    Cracking recipe too, with so many favourite ingredients. We are popcorn fiends in our house, me usually favouring American superfine popcorn salt AND nutritional yeast (double savoury!), or whizzed up nori. But this, with the cardamom and the special sweetness of jaggery, sounds divine. Hope your boy – and you! – enjoyed his birthday 😉

    • Deena Kakaya January 31, 2014 at 9:46 pm #

      Hello Kellie, you know, I always love reading your comments, and your posts.

      I do feel utterly blessed to experience all that I do. I don’t think be ever experienced the utter rush when he says, ‘I LOVE you mumma’.

      Ooh, nori? That is a phenomenal idea, is there a recipe on your site?

      We had a wonderful time thank you, hope your thoughtful daughter is coping well with those exams xx

  7. Anita Menon February 1, 2014 at 6:11 am #

    Everyday they change. I feel, even if we blink we’ll miss something. I miss my daughter’s toddler years 🙂
    The jaggery crusted popcorn sounds addictive

    • Deena Kakaya February 1, 2014 at 9:41 am #

      Hi Anita, it’s good to hear from you. How old is your daughter now?

      I’m very lucky that I am able to enjoy my boy, time really is flying.

      Yes, it’s addictive! So good x

  8. themuffinmyth February 2, 2014 at 8:37 am #

    Deena, this looks fabulous! I’ve never used jaggery before, but now I’m going to have to try and find it. Would it be at an Indian or Asian market? It sounds like a great whole foods ingredient to learn to play with. Congrats on the birthday of your little boy, it must be quite a special feeling!

    • Deena Kakaya February 2, 2014 at 2:55 pm #

      Hi Katie, lovely to hear from you.

      Well, I got this latest block of jaggery from Asda! I normally get it from an Indian store though. It’s lovely because it’s got a deep caramel like colour and flavour, but actually contains nutrients.

      Oh thank you for the wishes, it’s amazing how time flies when watching a tiny one develop xx

  9. Sophie33 February 2, 2014 at 9:54 am #

    What a great & tasty idea! Yumm Yum Yuummmmmmmm! x

  10. Nazima February 27, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

    what a delicious sweet popcorn idea Deena. I am a sweet popcorn fiend so this is on my list. I have some palm sugar so may use that and see how it goes. My son turned 2 on the 6th so they our little ones are nearly the same age!! Ah it is a lovely feeling and I never tire of cuddling my two kids!

    • Deena Kakaya February 27, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

      Hi Nazima, it’s lovely to hear from you!

      Oh I’m glad you like this one, it’s so smooth like caramel and I can imagine palm sugar would be lovely also. If you do try it with palm sugar I would love to see how you find it.

      Oh wow, our 2 year olds are very close in age indeed…aren’t they so wonderful right now? You are right, their cuddles are the best feeling and I am so glad that I made the big changes in my life that I have in order to see my boy grow xx


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