One of the hallmarks of Semana Santa (Easter Week) in Paraguay is chipa… lots and lots of chipa. On Wednesday families gather round the tatakuá to bake tray upon tray of this Paraguayan delicacy which will serve as a snack during the next few days. A large meal is prepared on Thursday (in commemoration of the Last Supper) after which people are meant to focus their energies on religious activitiesrather than the kitchen. Once Thursday´s leftovers have been polished off meals consist almost entirely of chipa. I should point out that while freshly baked chipa is warm and chewy on Wednesday, as the days go by it becomes hard and dry. To make matters worse the chipa supply is never-ending, thanks to the Semana Santa tradition of gifting chipa to friends and neighbors. By Easter Sunday even the most ardent chipa lover is sick of the stuff.
So, what should you do with your leftover chipa? Sure, you could just throw it to the chickens or in the trash, but what’s the fun in that? Instead, why not try one of these alternate uses for your Semana Santa chipa?
You may be sick of eating chipa plain, but it is actually easy to spruce up or transform into a completely new dish.
- Egg McChipa: scrambled eggs on a toasted chipa half make for a delicious breakfast!
- Chipa meatballs: grate chipa and use it in place of breadcrumbs for meatballs.
- Chipa chips: bake or toast chipa cross-sections and eat them like chips. Especially good with guacamole, hummus and cream cheese. (If you like this idea you can buy gourmet chipa chips from Karu once your Semana Santa stash runs dry)
- Grilled cheese chipa: For a true cheese overload try chipa with melted cheese, panini-style!
- Chipa 2.0: If you are dead set against repurposing chipa (my Paraguayan mother was horrified by most of the above ideas) you can simply pop stale chipa in the microwave to improve the taste and texture.
Fun and games
Due to it’s ring shape chipa, especially stale, hard chipa, is perfect for lots of games, such as:
- Chipa horseshoes / ring toss
- Chipa races: tie different colored ribbons around each chipa and roll them down a hill. Up the ante by making the looser eat his / her chipa.
- Ultimate Chipa: chipa can make for a good mini frisbee – cut in half to improve aerodynamics.
- Chipa darts: send your dart flying through the chipa hole and it counts as a bullseye.
Home and Health
Here are some miscellaneous uses for chipa around the house
- Chipa bird feeder: bring birds to your garden by hanging chipa from the nearest tree.
- Chipa teether: it seems weird but frozen chipa makes for a great toddler teething ring.
What have you done in the past with your Semana Santa chipa glut? Do you have any alternate uses of your own? Be sure to share them in the comments or on the Discovering Paraguay facebook page !
The elaboration of immense quantities of chipa is one of the most emblematic aspects of Holy Week in Paraguay. On Holy Wednesday, families gather around the tatakuá to cook asaderas of this typical delicacy that will serve to alleviate hunger in the coming days. A hearty lunch is prepared on Holy Thursday (in commemoration of the Last Supper) assuming that from there one already concentrates on religious activitiesand not in the kitchen. Once the remaining Thursday meal is settled, the menu consists entirely of chipa. It should be noted that the chipa fresh from the tatakuá on Wednesday is warm and crunchy, but as the days go by it becomes hard and dry. To add insult to injury, the tradition of gifting chipa to friends and neighbors means that there is a veritable endless of chipa. Arriving on Easter Sunday even the most fanatic of the chipa is tired of seeing it.
So what can you do with all that extra spark? Yes, you could feed it to the chickens or throw it away, but those options aren’t much fun. Better try one of these alternative uses for the Easter chip.
You may already be gorged on chipa, but there are easy ways to use it to make other dishes.
- Half toasted chipa with scrambled eggs: a delicious breakfast!
- Chipa Meatballs: grate chipa and use in place of breadcrumbs / cracker crumbs with your favorite meatball recipe.
- Chipa Chips: Toast or cook cross sections of chipa and eat them as if they were French fries (Lays style) or nachos. They are very good with guacamole, hummus or cream cheese / cottage cheese. If you like this idea, you can buy the gourmet version of Karu once your Easter chipa is over.
- Chipa mix: a chipa empanelado with melted cheese is a delicious option for cheese fans.
- Chipa 2.0: If you prefer to consume the chipa in its original form (my Paraguayan mother found all the above ideas too strange) you can put the chipa in the microwave for a few seconds to improve its flavor and texture.
Due to its ring shape the old and hard chipa is perfect for many games, such as:
- Set of rings
- Sparkle Race: You can tie ribbons of different colors to several sparkles and roll them down a hill. For those who want to step up the game, they can make the loser eat his chip.
- “Ultimate” chipa: for fans of “Frisbee” you can play with chipa (cut it in half to improve its aerodynamics).
- Darts: if you manage to throw your dart through the chipa, it counts as a target shot.
In the home
These are some miscellaneous uses for the chipa in the home
- Bird feeder: you can attract birds to your garden by hanging a sparkler from the nearest tree
- Baby teether: put the chipa in the freezer and then give it to your baby while he is cutting the teeth.