Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Receta de Chipa - Chipa Recipe

Dear Readers,

The internet is so full of entirely bogus Paraguayan recipes--particularly bogus chipa recipes posted by Argentines who don't even seem to realize that chipa is a predominantly paraguayan food--that I felt it was time to get at least one good, tested recipe out there for my fellow paraguayan-american cooks, aimlessly and hopelessly surfing the internet for some direction. I searched all websites, english and spanish, combined incites from a few recipes that seemed on the right track, and used my good sense and knowledge of what chipa should be like to come up with something that is very authentic in taste, texture, and aroma. I'm pretty sure the ones you get on the street are made from yuca starch alone, but, when I tried that last time, they just didn't taste right. So these are chipa mestizo, meaning they are made with both yuca starch and corn meal. As they came out of the oven today, they were every bit as good as you get in Paraguay.

The process did involve rendering my own lard from pork fat, which I admit is probably more ambitious than many of you get. The alternatives were to use oil, which I guarantee would not come out right; butter, which has more saturated fat and cholesterol than lard and doesn't taste as good; shortening, which generally is full of the newly dreaded transfat; or store-bought lard, which is tasteless and full of the same transfats because it is hydrogenated. If you live near a fancy butcher or a large mexican community, you can probably find fresh rendered lard. For me, there was really there was no other option but to do it myself. I had always wanted to try my hand at it anyway, and it turned out to be completely worth it because the chipa were awesome. I also can't wait to use the leftover lard to make some flour tortillas!

Since I'll be working in paraguay for quite a while starting in July, I'd like to make this the first in a series of paraguayan recipes I'll be posting, in an effort to improve the quality of Paraguayan food information available online. Maybe I can convince a chipera to divulge her formula so that we can finally have a definitive chipa recipe. In the meantime, her is my best effort:




Chipa


500g Yuca Starch
500g corn flour (milled much finer/powdery than corn meal)
6 eggs
500g Grated Cheese (you want a strongly flavored cheese with high fat content; if you have access to a Brazilian grocery, queijo minas curado has the right flavor and consistency)
8 tbs. Lard
1 tbs anise seed
1 cup milk
1 tbs salt

Mix the cornmeal and yuca starch in a very large bowl. Add the eggs, the lard, and the grated cheese. Mix this together until it is fairly uniform; it will be crumbly but you should work out any large lumps and make sure the lard and egg are evenly distributed. Dissolve the salt into the milk and add it to the mixture along with the anise. Knead until it is smooth and uniform and anise is evenly distributed. It should have the consistency of soft clay.

Preheat the oven (and baking stone if you have one) to 500. Shape the dough as you like, small nuggets for chipitas, or rings for the traditional shape, though the large oval shapes (below) came out the best for me. Bake for 15-20 minutes directly on a baking stone or on an ungreased baking sheet until they are golden brown with a crisp exterior. They should still be somewhat doughy and cheesy inside and are best hot. The rings were slightly overdone in 15 minutes, but the large ovals were absolutely perfect.




Here they are as part of merienda with the obligatory cup of cocido quemado.

33 comments:

Alice said...

They look terrific! I cannot believe you rendered your own lard. You are hard core.

monica said...

Gustavo, would you please explain the process of rendering your own lard? Thanks!
Monica

harmonious1 said...

Hi and thanks for this very interesting entry. I have been researching this type of bread for several months, now, and am happy to have your perspective on the matter.
I am definitely going to try your recipe soon.
I have been eating the (north)American version (don't gag now, its pretty good, at least to my uneducated palate). It is called Chebe bread mix and it comes in a packet, you add oil (!) egg and water.
I found out about this South-American delicacy because of being diagnosed with Celiac, to where I can't eat wheat anymore. I was very happy to learn that all cultures have their 'breads' and most of them do not contain wheat, and can be very delicious!

To Monica: To render lard, just put your white pork meat (fat meat and hard to find) in a pot and put it over low heat. Cook it slowly until the liquid fat comes out, then strain it and keep it in the fridge in a jar. YUMMY!
Harmonious1

Gustavo said...

Monica, Sorry about the delay in getting back to you. Rendering lard is not particularly difficult. I bought about a pound of pork fat from the supermarket (very cheap) placed it in a pot with enough water to cover it and boiled it. The water evaporates leaving the melted fat behind, which you can ladle out into jars or what have you. I was very excited to use the browned crunchy bits of fat left over on a salad, but they turned out to be much less delectable than is rumored. Perhaps my fat was not fresh enough because the cracklings are supposed to be delicious. At any rate, its a worthwhile process, particularly if you plan on making chipa, tamales, or mexican flour tortillas, and it is also really great for pastry crusts. I found this website that gives detailed instructions. http://www.obsessionwithfood.com/2006_01_01_blog-archive.html#113709378997673043
Happy larding!

Brenda said...

Great recipe! I was looking for a good chipa recipa for semana santa and I will give this one a try :)

Anonymous said...

awesome post! even wikipedia has made a mess of describing chipa.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I am so happy that you took the effort and the time to share this recipe.

Thanks

A fellow Paraguayan

Ruth

Rylla said...

Delicious. I lived in Asuncion a couple of times and really miss chipa - so it is fun to be able make it. Plus I served it to a church group that sponsors kids in Paraguay - it was great to let them share a taste of Paraguay!

I find mandioca flour at the local Latin market (St. Paul), Also, if you want an alternative to rendering lard, just save your bacon fat in a jar in the fridge whenever you cook bacon. Then you are set for your next time making chipa.

Gustavo said...

Dear Readers,

I have updated this recipe, because I tried it a second time using corn meal, and the results were disastrous. When I made it using much finer milled corn flour, available in the Brazilian section in my Boston-area supermarket, the results were perfect. If you can't find corn flour, you should substantially decrease the amount of corn meal you use, perhaps by half or more, and compensate by adding more yuca starch. Also, the courser the yuca starch you can find the better. Most of the 'tapioca starch' you can find easily from Southeast Asian and Latin American grocers is much more fine and powdery than is ideal, though it works in the absence of any alternative.

Rylla, I'm glad you could give you church group a taste of paraguay! Bacon fat is definitely delicious and ought to be saved, but not for making Chipa. It is much to strongly flavored for this use. Rendered lard has a rich but less dominating flavor and works much better here.

ERNESTO said...

you can also keeep the fat from the bacon, which is the most aproximate taste that you can get, where are you from?

MariaAdella said...

OMG!!! I just asked a friend now living in Bolivia to find me a recipe for chipa (via Facebook)...then I found yours! Two questions: 1-how long do you cook the pork fat to get out all the lard? (and what do you do with the fat afterwards?); 2-where do you get the yuca flour here in the Boston area? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

by "corn flour", do you mean "corn starch", or "polenta"?

Gustavo said...

MariaAdella-

Look at the link in my earlier comment for detailed directions on rendering lard. As I mentioned, it is fairly easy. YOu can get Yuca starch at market basket, and most likely Super 88 (though I've not looked there) as well as most Brazilian and latin american groceries, there are a couple in union square, somerville.

Anonymous- By 'corn flour' I mean finely milled corn meal, not corn starch.

Anonymous said...

Gustavo your chipa recipe is perfect!!! Thanks for sharing it with us. Your recipe is very original and others in the web are full of misleading chipa recipe.

Top Chef said...

WOW nice recipe, and your right about Argentinians. Once on this kids cartoon they were explaining what yerbe mate was and they said it was an Argentinian tea! That is so wrong, yerbe mate is from Paraguay so is chipa. My mother is from Paraguay and I am a Proud Paraguayan American that is discouraged by Argentinians who steal recipes and ideas. Paraguay is a mother land of original food and culture!

Daisy said...

Hi Gustavo,

I am two years late in reading this post. I am a librarian working on an exhibit on Latinos in the US. I am having trouble finding much documentation on Paraguayans here much less images to use. If you have and are willing to share any graphics, I would appreciate it.

Lesliey said...

When I was in Paraguay cocido was my everyday breakfast, do you know how to make cocido de mani?

I love cocido!!

Hey so in the United States it's hard to get some of these ingredients like the Yuca Starch I can't find it. Where can i find Yuca starch?

Ivan said...

PARAGUAAAAAAYYYYYY!!!!!!

mattmarie said...

I want to try your chipa recipe...the tbs...is that Tablespoon or teaspoon?

Thank you...

Ale Equiza said...

Hi Gustavo,

I was browsing for a chipa recipe and found yours. Besides the recipe, I found surprising the post about "who owns chipa" (and mate, as "TopChef" posted). I'm sure chipas and mate are widely consumed in Paraguay, but it is also quite common in Argentina. Chipas are quite traditional in the provinces of the Mesopotamia region and mate is drink across the entire country (actually, Argentina is the first worldwide producer of yerba mate, followed by Brazil and Paraguay in third place). I respect and support the development of regional food and the pride associated with it, but there is no need to change facts to achieve that.

Char said...

thanks so much for this recipe, visited paraguay back in september on an exchange and have been craving chipa for a long time <3

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Anonymous said...

Go Chipa!!!! I really want to eat chipa barrero!!! I will try your recipe for this Semana Santa!! I made my cocido quemado already with charcol and everything!
Thank you!

Alba

martha said...

Hi Gustavo!
for the first time i wil try to bake chipa , it seems ur recipe is the same that my mother used in Paraguay long time ago,let u know how it went.thanks. martha.

Anonymous said...

Does the corn flour from Bob's Red Mill (BobsRedMill.com) work for this recipe?

Instead of yuca STARCH (tapioca starch), could you use a blender to grind tapioca pearls into a slightly gritty flour?

Ethnic grocers are more likely to sell real lard (tan and flavorful) at Christmas time.

Anonymous said...

hi! My grandmother used to make Chipa on special occasion to us! She passed away a couple of years ago and I wanted to find a recipe and try to make it myself and taste something that will bring back lovely momments we had with her. Thanks you for your recipe. The only thing is I remember my grandmother used to bake them wrapped on banana tree leaves and that when she couldn't get hold of them and baked the Chipa without them were not the same.
'when I bake mine I will bake them on banana tree leaves no matter what! I will probably have to import them as I live in the UK now' My granmother will be very proud

Sharon Weaver said...

Hi Gustavo, thank you so much for this recipe! I was wondering, I bought "manteca de cerdo" or lard from a hispanic market nearby, and I was wondering if it's good for chipa because it's light brown and not solid, but sort of runny (but thick). Would "manteca de cerdo" work fine for chipa? THANKS!

Gustavo said...

Sharon,

I'm so glad you found my recipe. Yes, that is exactly the kind of lard you want to use for making chipa. Let me know how it turns out!

Anonymous said...

Can lard be substituted for some other ingredient?

Rusty and ML said...

Yeah! Real chipa! I grew up outside of Eusebio Ayala (THE chipa capitol),and they were my favorite food ever, bought from women serving them from large cloth-covered baskets, still warm out of wood fired outdoor clay ovens. I was looking for a recipe with cornmeal b/c I was sure this was an ingredient, and other recipes I have tried don't have that. I use Monterrey Jack cheese, by the way.

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Laura Fleitas said...

Thank you ! Cant wait to try

Anonymous said...

I WILL TRY YOUR RECIPE....:) THANKS!