22 Sep / Sweet and Spicy Potato Chips–The Perfect Football-Watching Snack
One of my favorite snacks as a kid was spicy tapioca crisps, or chips as preferred in the U.S. These crisps are potato chips’ exotic, far-flung cousins made with tapioca (also called cassava, manioc, yuca) instead of potatoes and shellacked in a sweet, spicy, tangy coating. Like crack, I couldn’t get enough of it, my taste buds craving more as my fingers popped crisp after crisp into my mouth on autopilot.
Why tapioca? For starters, this root is more commonly grown in Asia. Carbohydrate-rich and easy to grow, it was a staple during World War II when food was scarce. Tapioca starch is often used in place of corn starch for cooking. Do you like Taiwanese bubble tea? Well, those pearls are made from tapioca, as are the tiny translucent ones you find in pudding.
When my mom visited last year, she was eager to make her version of these tapioca crisps for me. She calls them kripik (how cute is this word!), the Indonesian word for bite-sized crackers and the counterpart of Western chips or crisps. Potato chips would be called kripik kentang. Try saying that three times in a row!
“When Daddy goes to my friend’s house, she makes kripik for him and he finishes everything. He loves this!” she told me. This happened so frequently that finally, in embarrassment, my mom just asked her how to make it.
There are only four ingredients for making kripik and you probably have most in your pantry–sambal oelek (you can make your own too), sugar, vinegar, and store-bought potato chips. Mom likes Kettle Brand chips—who knew Mom was so hip!
With the enthusiasm of a schoolgirl, Mom scooped the ingredients into a wok and stirred everything together with a flourish. Within minutes the sauce came together. In went the potato chips, and the kripik was done!
As expected, once we started chomping them down the kripik was gone in no time! My advice: make a double batch and don’t bother saving it for tomorrow (or anyone else). They taste best eaten right away anyway.[yumprint-recipe id=’17’]