“‘Chipas…chipas…chipas‘ – that’s what you’ll hear throughout the streets of Paraguay or at sporting events. Vendors carry large baskets containing bags of these treats. There are different types – they vary in size and shape and some may have added spices like anise or fillings like chicharrón (crumbled crispy pork skin). But in my opinion, the best chipas are home-made and baked in tatakuas, igloo-shaped wood-fired clay ovens similar to pizza ovens. Because of the tapioca flour, lard, and cheese, the texture is slightly dense and cheese on the inside but a bit crispy on the outside. The cheese Paraguayans use is their queso Paraguay, which can only be found there. It’s similar to an Italian fontina, but I find that a combination of mozzarella and Parmesan works nicely.” – Grace Ramirez
Reproduced with permission from La Latina, by Grace Ramirez. Published by Random House (NZ). Text copyright ©Grace Ramirez, 2015. Photographs copyright ©Garth Badger, 2015. Click here to purchase your own copy.
- 250 grams tapioca flour, plus extra for dusting
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons anise seeds, crushed
- 2 eggs
- 75 grams lard, softened
- 1 tablespoons grated Parmesan
- 150 grams shredded mozzarella or Italian fontina
- 1/4 cup milk
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Combine flour, salt, anise seeds. Set aside. Beat together eggs, lard, cheeses, and milk. Add in flour mixture. Mix until a rough dough begins to form. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, pushing the dough down and over on itself. Transfer back to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper or a silicone mat. Measure out 35 grams dough balls, or make rounds from a heaped tablespoonful. Make a small hole in the center of each dough ball, and place 5 centimeters apart on the baking tray. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.
- Chipas can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. To reheat, use a toaster or the oven at 250 degrees F, heating until warm to the touch.