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  • Writer's picturecoffeeandwoodsmoke

thunder (and hurricane popcorn)

Updated: Sep 26, 2021

the sky, thickly veiled in white smoke, gradually darkened. i paced the house, obsessively looking out the window as the wind picked up, swirling through branches and laying grasses down flat. it seemed the promised rain might actually arrive.

like much of the west, montana’s summer has once again been plagued with drought and fire. we desperately need rain, yet the occasional thunderstorms blowing through place us on edge; every lighting strike could spark another conflagration.

i unearthed the dutch oven and set it over a flame safely contained on the range top, poured the oil in till it shimmered, added the popcorn kernels and salt. under cover the corn started its staccato popping, and outside the first big drops fell. they coalesced in sheets, and the thunder arrived. the lightning strikes out the front window became more frequent, and we watched, entranced, each with a bowl of popcorn.

one bolt struck so close as to be simultaneous with the thunderclap and we were enveloped in a luminescent blue-white. the power ramped off, then returned.

it rained, and rained, and rained. by the time the lines had run through, my gauge said 0.99″–a darn good soaking for these parts, and a much needed one.

we opened the windows to let the fresh air in and polished off the last of the popcorn. a matinee much better than any movie.

“Hurricane Popcorn” (a.k.a. Kakimochi Popcorn)

i learned about this delicious twist on popcorn while living in hawai’i, and it’s one of my all-time favorite snacks. once you try this mixture of popcorn, kakimochi (also known as arare or glutinous rice crackers), and furikake, it’s hard to go back to the regular fare! i’ve included rough proportions below, but feel free to mix it up however you like. enjoy!


  • 1/2 C popcorn kernels

  • 2 T sunflower oil

  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

  • 1-2 Tbsp butter or butter substitute, melted

  • 1 C kakimochi (arare; Lotus Foods makes a delicious gluten-free version if needed)

  • 1 Tbsp furikake

To prepare:

  • heat a large dutch oven over medium heat.

  • add the oil and a few popcorn kernels.

  • put the lid on the dutch oven and wait for the kernels to pop; when they do, the oil is hot enough to make the popcorn.

  • add the rest of the kernels along with the sea salt, then put the lid back on.

  • once the kernels start popping, shake the lidded oven every once in a while to prevent scorching (use potholders if the handles of your dutch oven get hot).

  • once the popping slows down to ever few seconds, remove the dutch oven from the heat.

  • pour the popped corn into a large bowl, taking care to avoid any unpopped kernels.

  • drizzle with the butter and toss in the kakimochi and furikake.

  • enjoy!

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