How to "Chicharrón" anything… well, almost anything.

Who dosen’t like the savory crispiness of a Chicharrón? That is, a pork rind… at their best, they are perfectly crisp, lightly salty, maybe a touch spicy. However, prepare yourself for what I’m about to say… what if they didn’t have to be pork flavored?

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I know, pork is a pretty good flavor for something to be… but what if you could have the texture of a Chicharrón with the flavor of kimchi. Or pineapple. Or Shrimp. Or…

I have to thank the wonderful work that Alex Talbot and Aki Kamozawa do at their site Ideas in Food. If you’re not reading it regularly, your food is probably boring. If you’re reading it regularly, but not taking advantage of the “years past” links… you’re underutelizing the site greatly.

I stumbled upon the recipe for Kimchi Cracklings in one of the past year links. My family grew up with fried shrimp chips… after mom would fry egg rolls, we’d get a box of “shrimp chips” out of the pantry and dump them into the oil. Out of the box they looked like translucent poker chips. But seconds after hitting the hot oil, they would magically puff up into a crisp puffy chip. I’ve always wondered how to make them… Ideas in food solved the mystery.

Since you can see the link for the kimchi cracklings above, I thought I’d share a non-recipe… my favorite type of recipe. A non-recipe is more of a technique than a recipe… a technique that you can apple to [almost] any ingredient to achieve a specific result.

Anything Chicharrón

220g Something mostly solid

**Something mostly water**

200g Tapioca Flour

Note that I didn’t specify ingredients. This technique should work with almost any product. for the pictures, my solid was Guajillo Chilis- hydrated in tequila with a bit of orange zest (left over from a margarita competition that I recently participated in) My Liquid was beer- Sierra Nevada Celebration fresh hopped IPA to be exact.

In a food processor, puree the solid and just enough liquid to form a thick puree. When you think it is fine enough, let it go a couple more minutes. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl several times. your end consistency here should be like tight mashed potatoes.

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Next add the tapioca flour. Stir to combine, then puree some more. Here we’re looking for tight cookie dough consistency.

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Next lay out a large piece of plastic wrap. Spritz it with water, and place a table spoon of the mixture on the plastic wrap.

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Fold the plastic wrap over the puree and roll out to the thickness of a tortilla… a pretty thin tortilla. it should be roughly the shape of a amoeba.

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Steam the amoebas for 15 minutes in the plastic wrap. Next, burn your fingers trying to peel the plastic off the puree (which is now kind of like a fruit roll up) Lay out the steamed amoebas on a dehydrator tray and dehydrate for about 10 hours until crisp and brittle. You’ll want to use a relatively low setting on your dehydrator (I set my excalibur to 125F)

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Once completely dehydrated- break into half dollar sized pieces and fry at 350F.

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Boom. Magic. Chicharrón. Season immediately after removing from the oil.

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The best iteration of these so far has been the kimchi. I tried cheese (queso chihuahua) and that didn’t work at all (too much fat content?) these guajillo chips are good… like a next level dorito. They’re screaming to be served with a bit of black bean dip or a guacamole.

Have fun, Chicharrón away!

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