Thursday, July 26, 2012


I have been meaning to turn my hands to puffed snacks for a very long time, a good few years, but it always seems to slip my mind, but no more, I finally had a packet of tapioca flour, which I had picked up when buying supplies for kim-chi, I had oil for deep frying, and I could jury rig a steamer big enough for my purpose.

The process of making a puffed snack is pretty simple sounding, a little less so in practice I found. Basically, you mix together tapioca flour and a liquid (flavour), then roll it thin, steam it so the starch gels, dehydrate it, finally deep fry it and it should puff up.

I had a few problems, but they all stemmed from the fact that liquid + tapioca = Non-Newtonian fluid, so rolling out the dough, or in fact handling it at all, was problematic to say the least, I could form it into a shape to start rolling out, but as soon as pressure was released it behaves like a liquid, try to roll it thin and it’s hard as a rock, so more work needs to be done to solve the rolling out problem. Not being able to roll it it evenly and thinly enough, led to uneven dehydrating and some of the puffs, when deep fried, had a chewy centre.

Somewhat disheartened by the difficulties, and less than stellar flavour, I am still resolved to figure this one out, and have fun experimenting with flavours, different starches possibly too. Perhaps, my next puff should be Chicharrón, nothing beats puffed up, crispy pork skin.

Roasting pan, with steamer and dough.

Steaming for 15 minutes.

Ready to go in an 80°C oven.

Couple of hours later, dehydrated and brittle.


  1. Hi Stephen. I agree puffed things sound a lot more simple than they are; my experience is that the amount of dehydration is critical (Goldilocks principle; not too dry, not too wet).
    Rather than rolling the dough, try forming it into a log and steaming it whole (it will take a bit longer, of course). Chill it, then slice as thin as you like with a knife or meat slicer.
    Good luck,

    1. the log idea sounds like a good simple way to solve the rolling problem, I am definitely trying it next batch. Having it portioned like that would probably help with more even dehydration too.

      Thanks heaps!

  2. Yes, the log idea works very well. I tried it first following a Heston Blumenthal recipe in the Fat Duck book for beef puffs/crackers that went on an awesome beef dish (namely Beef Royal "1723").

    1. how long did you have to steam the log for it to gelatinise the starch? The next puff I'm really keen to try is beef tendons, cooked, dried then fried.

  3. I know this is an old feed.....but. The way to go is cryovac. Food saver will probably work. You can move the stuffs into even layers with fingers and palms. Steam in the bag. Chill and dehydrate. Works great.