Popcorn Meets Papadums: Masala Pop’s Indian-Spiced Popcorn

Here’s a shout-out to one of the best things I tried at this year’s Fancy Food Show in New York: Neha Patel’s spiced-up popcorn with bits of sesame and papadums, those delicious crispy Indian crackers. This stuff is crazy good!

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

I visited the Masala Pop table after hearing how good their Saffron Rose popcorn was (it was up for an award at the show). I expected a savory popcorn, but it was unexpectedly sweet — a mild cousin to caramel corn, with notes of buttery saffron and rose. Totally delicious.

But the savory flavors got my attention too — there was a chai masala-based flavor, and then a savory masala, with bits of papadum mixed in. Spicy, crunchy, and oh-so-yummy.

Neha, the owner of Masala Pop, explained to me that she got into the popcorn business almost accidentally. Her mom created the savory papadum popcorn, and when Neha recreated it for her friends, they would just rave on about it and tell her she should sell it. She was dubious, but eventually began producing small quantities in her Portland home kitchen — thanks to the home kitchen food service license that Portland offers. She sold at farmers markets, and then, as business popped (pun intended) she expanded into a larger production facility.

I can see why it’s so popular, too — it’s a smart, delicious twist on the hordes of commercial popcorn snacks, and one with a real home-grown twist.

Have you tried any of Masala Pop’s flavors? What did you think?