Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Day 262

Chicharron de Harina: OK, so today's new food had me completely stumped at first. It's rare that I eat something that I cannot identify at all, but it's actually happened more than once recently. Even though my friend's parents brought me tons of great new food from their Asian trip, they found this unusual item at a farmer's market in Florida. They had no idea what it was either, and apparently it was given to them by a vendor at the market. My first assumption was that it was some sort of candy, but I was dead wrong.
After doing a bit of research, I found another food blog that talked about this particular Mexican treat. As it turns out, it's called chicharron de harina, and it's made from a pasta-like mix of wheat flour, salt, corn starch, and sodium bicarbonate. The idea is to throw the little dried discs into a deep-fryer or pan lined with hot oil, with each piece puffing up to about double the size. I only had one of these to attempt cooking, so I heated some oil in a pan and went to work.
Once the oil was hot, I dropped the wagon-wheel-looking disc in and watched it cook. It instantly started puffing up, and the color quickly changed from deep orange to light brown. Once all of it was puffy, I retrieved it from the oil and let it cool. My first bite reminded me of slightly burnt popcorn, and the crunchy texture was a lot like pork rinds or fried dough. I could see where these would be a great snack (well, if I had more than one of them), and the other blog recommended sprinkling them with a bit of cinnamon sugar, salt, or chili powder for added flavor.

Now that I know what these are, I'm eager to try them again with some seasoning. Who knew there were other chicharrones besides the ubiquitous pork skins?

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