Recipe

Smoked Paprika & Sumac Tapioca Chips

by Sasha Marx

Making puffed snack chips at home never seemed like a realistic option to me. But when I cooked at Parachute in Chicago, chef John Clark showed me otherwise. He cooks tapioca starch and water in a saucepan until translucent, spreads the mixture onto a silicone pan liner, and dries it until it’s firm but pliable. Finally, he flash-fries it into supercrispy puffed chips. Tapioca starch lends itself well to puffing, and its neutral flavor allows for a lot of creativity in flavoring—here I dust them with a mix of smoked paprika and sumac (the non-poisonous, fruity, acidic kind). The tapioca chips in this recipe are called “glasses” in the puffed-snack industry. Dave Arnold from the International Culinary Center has a great piece on puffed items in which he explains how amylose in starch gelatinizes when cooked with a liquid and traps water in its structure. This trapped water turns to steam in the hot frying oil, rapidly expanding and causing the chips to puff. We think these chips are the perfect gateway (and game-day) snack to get into the world of DIY puffed deliciousness. Fair warning: working with the tapioca starch mixture is a little bit like wrangling Slimer into a ghost trap—messy and sticky but, in our opinion, a heck of a lot of fun. 

Yield
Makes about 25 chips
SFS_TapiocaChips_SmokedPaprikaSumac-09_20_1_.jpg
Ingredients
152 g water
44 g tapioca starch
880 g vegetable oil
20 g smoked paprika
20 g ground sumac
3 g kosher salt
⅔ cup water
⅓ cup tapioca starch
1 quart vegetable oil
3 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon ground sumac
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Essential Equipment
Instructions
    • 152 g water 
    • 44 g tapioca starch
    Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees F/190 degrees C. Line rimmed baking sheet with reusable silicone pan liner. Thoroughly whisk together water and tapioca starch in large saucepan. Place over medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly with rubber spatula, until mixture thickens and turns sticky, 30 to 60 seconds. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until mixture turns from opaque white to transparent, 3 to 4 minutes.
  1. Working quickly, using rubber spatula, transfer tapioca mixture to prepared sheet and spread into thin, even layer that covers pan liner, wetting spatula as needed to limit sticking. Turn off oven and let oven cool with door shut for 10 minutes.  
  2. Transfer sheet to oven and let dry until tapioca pulls away from pan liner, 1½ to 2 hours. Peel tapioca sheet off pan liner and flip over. Return sheet to oven and let dry until tapioca sheet is firm but still slightly pliable, about 1 hour longer.
  3. Let tapioca sheet cool completely, then break into rough 2- to 3-inch pieces. (At this point, chips can be stored in airtight container for up to 1 week.) 
    • 880 g vegetable oil
    Line rimmed baking sheet with paper towels. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat to 400 degrees F/200 degrees C. Fry 4 chips at a time until puffed but not browned, 15 to 30 seconds, adjusting heat as necessary to maintain oil temperature of 400 degrees F/200 degrees C. Transfer puffed chips to prepared sheet. Repeat with remaining chips.  
    • 20 g smoked paprika 
    • 20 g ground sumac 
    • 3 g kosher salt
    Combine paprika, sumac, and salt. Toss puffed chips with paprika mixture; serve immediately.
Instructions
    • ⅔ cup water 
    • ⅓ cup tapioca starch
    Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees F/190 degrees C. Line rimmed baking sheet with reusable silicone pan liner. Thoroughly whisk together water and tapioca starch in large saucepan. Place over medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly with rubber spatula, until mixture thickens and turns sticky, 30 to 60 seconds. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until mixture turns from opaque white to transparent, 3 to 4 minutes.
  1. Working quickly, using rubber spatula, transfer tapioca mixture to prepared sheet and spread into thin, even layer that covers pan liner, wetting spatula as needed to limit sticking. Turn off oven and let oven cool with door shut for 10 minutes.  
  2. Transfer sheet to oven and let dry until tapioca pulls away from pan liner, 1½ to 2 hours. Peel tapioca sheet off pan liner and flip over. Return sheet to oven and let dry until tapioca sheet is firm but still slightly pliable, about 1 hour longer.
  3. Let tapioca sheet cool completely, then break into rough 2- to 3-inch pieces. (At this point, chips can be stored in airtight container for up to 1 week.) 
    • 1 quart vegetable oil
    Line rimmed baking sheet with paper towels. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat to 400 degrees F/200 degrees C. Fry 4 chips at a time until puffed but not browned, 15 to 30 seconds, adjusting heat as necessary to maintain oil temperature of 400 degrees F/200 degrees C. Transfer puffed chips to prepared sheet. Repeat with remaining chips.  
    • 3 tablespoons smoked paprika 
    • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon ground sumac 
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    Combine paprika, sumac, and salt. Toss puffed chips with paprika mixture; serve immediately.
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