chipa and sopa paraguaya

Two things that you can find anywhere in Paraguay that are guaranteed to fill you up. Chipa is made in huge batches in the morning and sold throughout the day at bus stations, on buses, to passers-by on the sidewalk, in parks…you get the idea. It squeaks when you eat it fresh. It’s often filled with cheese (the basic chipa and the one the recipe here is for), but can also be filled with meat and possibly other fillings. They don’t stay well for more than a day, so if you make this, plan to eat it all that day, preferrably right away (or serve to a crowd). We often had a couple for breakfast along with some juice. The chipa in this picture are the two crunchy-looking things in the middle, sopa paraguaya on the right, and a lonely little empanada sitting on the left.

Sopa paraguaya may be the quintessential dish for Paraguay. Taking a look at it, you might think it’s just cornbread, but it’s so much more. It’s got onions, it’s creamier (if a bread can be creamy), and it’s a meal within itself. This is a good-looking recipe here (haven’t tried it yet myself, though) and I recommend trying it out.

Both recipes are from Comida Paraguaya by Josefina Velilla de Aquino, a book I think we will treasure long into the future. Thanks again to Chris for the translation.

CHIPA

250 gms fat (shortening, butter, lard, etc.)
8 eggs
500 gms grated “Paraguayan cheese” (or another salty, softish white cheese)
1 tbsp anis
1 tbsp rough salt
1 c milk
1¼ kilo manioc flour

1. Beat the fat, eggs, and cheese together.
2. Add the anis, salt dissolved in milk, and flour, stir together.
3. Knead well, although not too long.
4. Form chipas, which are usually either the shape and size of a donut, or the shape of a long, thin dinner bun.
5. Place on a buttered and floured pan, bake at 250 degrees C for about 25 minutes.

SOPA PARAGUAYA (Paraguayan Cornbread)

½ kilo onions
1 c water
1 tbsp rough salt
¾ c fat (they suggest pork lard, I’m sure butter or something would be fine)
300 gms cheese (some kind of salty, soft, white cheese)
2 c curdled milk
500 gms corn flour (polenta)
4 eggs

1. Boil the onions (chopped finely) in the water and salt for 10 minutes in a covered pot. Let cool.
2. In a separate bowl, beat the fat until foamy. Add the eggs one by one, the cheese (grated very finely) and the boiled onions (just the onions – save the water for later). Beat well after each addition.
3. Add the milk and the onion water, then the corn flour.
4. Let rest for 15 minutes.
5. Put in a deep-dish pan, buttered and floured, cook at 200ºC for 1 hour.

* Many people put grated corn kernels in in addition to or instead of the polenta.
* You can also add only the yolks in Step 2, and then gently add the whites, beaten until fluffy, after Step 4.

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13 responses to “chipa and sopa paraguaya

  1. hi
    the recipe is great but you chould name anotehr kind of cheese that can replace the paraguayam one!
    thank

  2. When I was growing up we used to eat sopa, we found a comination of munster cheese- (we like the chunks of cheese in our sopa,) and ricotta worked very nice. We also would go to the Latin market and buy Mexican “queso fresco” also a good choice.
    There is not one way of making sopa, like every receipe, every family has a variation. We also would add creamed corn and canned/frozen corn in ours (again we liked our sopa chunky).

  3. la sopa paraguaya es fantastica

  4. I was in the Peace Corps in Paraguay in the ’70s, & sopa was a traditional dish for Holy Week and weddings, as well as any other time. I couldn’t find my Paraguayan recipe book, so I was delighted to find this one. It looks like the traditional recipe, so I look forward to making it. I was also happy to find the chipa recipe and will try that one. I can’t say how many times over the years I wished I could have it again. Women sold it on the streets, and when it was warm from the oven, it was heavenly. I believe they baked it in traditional ovens, called tataquas. They are brick domes with two openings, on brick platforms. They build a hot fire inside and wait for it to burn out. Then they sweep out the ashes, put the chipa, or other food inside and cover the openings. The food has a nice smoky flavor unlike anything I have ever tasted. I might try to make some version with my charcoal grill.

  5. Cheers for getting the basic recipes right. I keep seeing recipes for Sopa Paraguay with Parmesan Cheese! My mother- who was Paraguayan- would be mortified to see Parmesan cheese in Sopa Paraguay. It is traditionally made with 2 Kinds of cheese: a hard Farmer’s Cheese like a ricotta salata or panela or queso fresco and a melting cheese like mozzarella or queso oaxaca. (I use the mexican cheeses as an example because they can be easily found in the US) – she always added whole kernel corn too but that’s not necessary. I sometimes add pepper jack or any other left over white cheese and it doesn’t take away from it. I posted mom’s version on my site. It’s probably close to what Rebecca remembers..

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  7. hi, thanks, for the recipe I made it but I ll cook tomorrow, I would like to make sopa so o

  8. I lived in Paraguay for 2 years. When they don’t have pork lard they do substitute it with 8 oz or so of butter.

  9. Hi. I am looking for Chipitas or also called chipa piru
    would you make them or know where to get them?
    Thanks. E.

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