Chipá is a type of cheese bread most commonly prepared in the northern provinces of Argentina and Paraguay. The word “chipá” comes from Guaraní, the language of an indigenous group of the same name based in this region. I found an excellent description of these tasty rolls on the food blog The Traveler’s Lunchbox:
“…these little breads are fundamentally different from the majority of cheese-bready things around the world in that they are naturally and completely gluten-free….They’re made entirely with tapioca starch (the fine, white powder extracted from cassava roots), which gives them a texture quite unlike
In northern Argentina and Paraguay, where the cheesy little rolls enjoy enormous popularity, vendors called chiperos walk the streets with large baskets of chipá for sale. The cries of the chipero are a familiar sound in these parts, and people flock to him to buy chipá to accompany their breakfast or as an afternoon snack.
My boyfriend’s stepdad Tomás is a truck driver, and many years ago he was sent to make a delivery to the city of Clorinda, located in the Argentine province of Formosa just a stone’s throw from Paraguay. Close to his final destination but feeling drowsy, Tomás stopped and parked his truck to get a little shut-eye. At roughly 3 am he was awakened by the sound of someone knocking on the door of his truck. Slightly alarmed, he got up and peered out the window only to be met by the weathered but smiling face of a vendor asking, “¿Chipáaaa, señor?” I’ll let you imagine what Tomás’ response to that question was at 3 am.
This recipe for chipá comes from my friend Gabriel’s blog, Live from Waterloo. His wife Gaby has graciously shared her (formerly) top-secret chipá recipe with the entire universe.
4 cups yuca (tapioca) flour
2 tsp. salt
7 Tbsp. butter (just under 1 stick), melted
10.5 ozs. cheddar cheese, grated (I used an Argentine cheese called pategrás)
milk, as needed
Mix the dry ingredients (tapioca flour and salt) in a bowl and make a well in the center. Add the melted butter and eggs. Mix well, incorporating all of the dry ingredients into the liquid ingredients. Add the cheese and then gradually add milk as needed, until the dough is soft and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Form the dough into balls about 1.5 inches in diameter. Bake at 450º F for 15 to 20 minutes.
Note: Don’t open the oven during the first 12 minutes of baking.
Chipá make a great accompaniment to mate and are best enjoyed straight from the oven. ¡Buen provecho!
Find more recipes and Argentine food facts at my blog Seashells and Sunflowers.