Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Chippy-Crusted Fish Nuggets

Early on in my cooking I got tired of boring old bland bread crumbs, so now I spice up anything fried with the generations-enduring, age-defying snack chips all Filipinos know - Chippy, the first corn chips ever to reach across the country (at least in my generation) before the likes of Granny Goose and the more recent Ruffles and Lays. And locally manufactured at that.

Chippy first came out, and stayed on for decades, in only one flavor - in the red foil pack, in salty, barbeque-flavored rectangular chips. It is now identified as barbeque flavor because there are now two other Chippy flavors, chili & cheese and vinegar.

When I had been experimenting with my chicken roll I had wanted to have a crunchy, flavorful crust. I first tried the proven coating of flour-egg-cornstarch, which came out crunchy, but too dusty/chalky for the tongue, and tasteless besides. One day I just saw the Chippy pack that had been sitting for ages on the kitchen shelf, since in the family we have not been really fans of junk food. I put it to good use, and have never looked back since.

Of course I would try other corn chips (potato chips crumble easily, defeating the crunchiness purpose), but nothing beats Chippy in flavor. The chili & cheese variant is perfect for cordon bleu/chicken roll, while the vinegar flavor matches battered fish fillet, with the original barbecue transcending everything, especially deep-sea fish needing a strong marinade.

The best fish nuggets I've cooked so far are fillets of tanigue cut into 2-inch squares, marinated in calamansi juice, finely crushed (pounded in a mortar) garlic and salt overnight in the refrigerator. When ready to cook they are first dredged in flour, dipped in beaten eggs, then coated with roughly crushed Chippy, and fried in hot oil for two minutes on both sides.

I never crumble the Chippy too finely, or the nuggets won't be crunchy, and the flavor won't be perceptible (at least for me, but I've had people in awe by Chippy pounded to dust). I just make a little opening in the foil pack to let out the air, and crumble the chips inside with my hands.

The same process can be applied to chicken fillet, with the same marinade, and with the same delicious and crunchy result. Different strokes, for different folks. Serve with garlic mayonnaise and sweet chili sauce for dipping.


Lani said...

Kai, galing naman. Thanks for sharing this info ha. Tamang-tama sa Thursday ay darating dito sa house ang friend ko from US at pasisikatan ko siya ng mga luto ko. Kapag nakakuha ako ng magandang tanigue, isasama ko ito sa menu ko sa Thursday.

God bless~

Theoretical Cook said...

Hi Kai.
Kakaiba ito. I have been a chippy fan since childhood pero di ko pa na-try na gawing ingredient ang chippy. This post has given me a world of ideas.

a said...

Hi Kai,

Wow amazing how you come out with idea "Chippy-is my favorite snacking way back in the Phils." but not even thinking of adding it to one of my dish - anong lasa?

Thanks for sharing!


Kai said...

Lani, you can use tuna or even tulingan. It's fun to watch people munching on the nuggets with wonder on their faces while they try to figure out where the flavors are coming from.

I've been a fan of Chippy from childhood, too, Theoretical Cook, but nowadays I find it too salty, and it's nutrient-empty besides. So I try to have it in other ways.

Tin, masarap! Gives so much flavor to your ordinary fried fish/chicken fillet. So fragrant, too!

Anonymous said...

now we have gourmet BBq flavoured Chippy crumbs.
Inventive, kai.

Anonymous said...

hi kai..
i miss chippy! have to grab some packs later in the fil-store! hubby uses cereals as bread crumbs..i use crumbled broas...now i should try it with chippy!

Kai said...

Angelo, just another way to eat Chippy! If there's a will, there's a way, haha!

Whoa, Ces, now you gave me an idea. I should try cereals and broas next time!

Anonymous said...

how about some crushed and crumbed chichacorn?