CHIPA CHIPA CHIPI
This post is dedicated to my amazing coworkers, because we all love chipa!
Everyday, we have the same discussion. Sometime between 1:45 and 3:30pm, someone will ask: “What do you guys want to do for lunch?”.
Some days it’s: “I’m having leftovers.” Other days it’s “Oh – lets get delivery!” And then we debate between ordering Marfa or The Green Monster. Occasionally we “want to be healthy, lets go to Esquina.” But “I’m sick of Esquina, lets just go to the Chino (supermarket) and get some stuff to make a salad.” Then someone might assert: “I want chipa!” Which is usually followed by a unanimous “Mmmmm, chipa!” We can always all agree on chipa.
I first learned about chipa in Brazil, when it was pão de queijo, which is way more fun to say and equally delicious. Chipa is a small cheese flavored roll, made with manioc flour. (Remember my previous adventure with mandioca?) Chipa can also be prepared with corn meal. The alternative flour combines with eggs, butter and cheese to create some, as my idol Alton Brown would describe them: seriously good eats. They are crispy on the outside and fluffy and chewy and gooey on the inside, and since they have no wheat – they are gluten free.
This colonial era food is deeply entrenched in the history of South America. Records of chipa date back to the Jesuit Missions in Northern Argentina, when the arrival of livestock and dairy with Spanish Conquistadores was combined with the local flora and fauna consumed by the indigineous Guarani tribes like mandioca and maiz.
A variation of chipa exists in each Latin American country and varies slightly in style depending on location, but it is common to find in most panaderias (bakeries) here in Buenos Aires, or being sold on the street by vendors who yell out ‘Chipa Chipa Chipa!’
Even though our nearby bakery makes some particularly tantalizing chipa, I still wanted to try to make my own, just to spoil my coworkers. They are my dependable recipe testers.
- 4 Cups chipa mix, available at your local grocery store, or Manioc Flour.
- 3 Large Eggs
- 1 Cup Grated Cheese – Any hard cheese of your preference.
- 1 Stick of Butter, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons of milk
- Salt to taste
- Combine the flour, eggs, butter and salt and mix well before adding the cheese.
- Add the milk on tablespoon at a time until the dough is sticky and consistent.
- Using your hands, roll the dough into equally sized balls. Place on a non-stick baking sheet.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes. The chipa should appear lightly browned and crispy on the outside, and super gooey and amazing on the inside. They are best when eaten fresh and hot right from the oven!
Want to get fancy? It would be easy to add another ingredient for some variation. Green onions, caramelized red onions, sun-dried tomatoes, poppy seeds, jalapeños would all be awesome additions.