Food and Entertaining

Binging With Babish: Fire Flakes From Avatar The Last Airbender

(suspenseful music) – [Aang] Hey, there’s some food. – [Sokka] Finally.
(footsteps pattering) What do you have? – [Man Vendor] Flaming
Fire Flakes, best in town. – I’ll take ’em! Mm, mm!
(flakes crunching) Ah! Oo, hot, hot! (panting) – [Katara] Flaming Fire Flakes, hot. Whataya know. – [Andy] Hey, what’s up
guys, welcome back to “Binging With Babish”
(upbeat music) where this week we’re taking
a look at the Fire Flakes from “Avatar: The Last Airbender”. Here before me are some
real-life fire flakes, Flaming Hot Cheetos. This, of course, is a
very, very funny joke but as funny as this joke indisputably is, if Flaming Hot Cheetos is still your spicy, crunchy snack
of choice, ah, your welcome. Anyway, this is not a show about comparing different types of spicy snacks, this is about making our
own and my first attempt, mixing Corn Flakes with cayenne pepper yielded mixed results.
(hand banging) (coughing) And flying in the face of
all conventional wisdom, milk offered no improvement so it looks like we’re gonna
have to start from scratch and for our Fire Flakes foundation there’s a really cool recipe on ChefSteps for a sort of fried,
puffed rice cracker thing which I think is gonna do the job nicely with some added spices because, “Flaming Fire Flakes, hot”. So, in a medium saucepan we are combining 100 grams of long grain white
rice and 400 grams of water. While that cooks we’re
gonna make a spice blend reminiscent of Chinese five spice. Into the mortar of a mortar and pestle goes half a small cinnamon stick, half a small star anise pod, about a teaspoon of fennel seed and a generous shake, Oh! Not that kind of shake. A generous shake of spicy, tingly, oddly numbing Szechuan peppercorns. I want this to be both
predominate flavor and sensation so I’m gonna add about two tablespoons. Then, by virtue of my pestle, I’m going to mortar and pestle
these spices together by hand into a finely ground powder, which, as you can see is pretty tiring. You can do this, Andy, you’ve got this. You might not have made
it on the football team but you can out, screw it, I’m gonna get the blender. So, instead by virtue of
a high-powered blender we’re gonna grind our
spices into a fine powder then we’re gonna pass it
through a fine mesh sieve to capture any big ol’ honking pieces and then the resultant
powder is gonna be a kinda bitter, acrid, strange spicy
stuff but do not worry, once it gets a little
bit of heat treatment it’s gonna taste a lot better but then to compliment
it’s color and spiciness we’re gonna also add some
cayenne pepper and sweet paprika, about a teaspoon each, tiny
whisked until homogeneous. Meanwhile, over on the
stovetop our rice has cooked for about 15 minutes and is total mush. So now, using that selfsame,
high-powered blender we are going to liquefy it into a paste with a couple teaspoons
of our seasoning mix, give it a little taste to make
sure that it is spicy enough. Don’t worry if it tastes a little off, it’s gonna taste a lot
better once we cook it but before we can cook it first we must dehydrate it. So, using an offset spatula
we’re gonna smooth it out to a one millimeter
thick sheet on a Silpat. You obviously don’t have
to measure it or anything, just make sure that it’s really thin. The thinner your sheet
the rewards will be sweet and now bust out the biggest dehydrator you got in the house, pop in your spiced puree of rice spread, that sure sounds appetizing, right? Close your frankly charming
French doors if you got ’em, crank this fellow up to
122 degrees Fahrenheit and let it dehydrate for two hours during which time your sheets
should mostly dehydrate, more towards the edges then the center. So, when we remove them
we’re gonna do two things. First, we’re gonna peel
them off the Silpat. They’re probably still gonna
be gooey on the bottom, don’t worry about that and we’re gonna flip
those sheets gooey side up on top of our dehydrator
racks and break off the parts that are fully dehydrated. They should be ever so slightly bendy but snap when stressed. Everything else that’s not yet dried out is getting another 30
minutes in the dehydrator after which time you
should have two sheets of very unsettling looking, skin-like rice cracker, uh, things which we are now going
to breakdown into flakes because, you know, Fire Flakes. You wanna break ’em down
into about half the size that you would eventually want them to be because they’re going to
expand by about 50 percent when we deep fry them. Into some 350 degree Fahrenheit oil they go for like five seconds, that’s all the time it should
take for them to puff up and float to the top. Drain them on some paper
towels, rinse and repeat and then it’s time to discover just how surprisingly good they are. Let’s listen to my unfiltered reaction. Mm, oh, my God. Huh. Oh, my God, that’s actually good. That’s actually good. Holy (beep)! I’m not always surprised when the food that I’m
making comes out right but my pre-fried taste test
had not given me high hopes but here we are with some
spicy, tingly, flavorful, crunchy, oily, delightful little snacks which I think could use
a little bit more kick and, of course, a generous
pinch of kosher salt applied and tossed together while warm. I don’t know why I’m
using so many bowls here, at least I can’t use anymore
in making this recipe, ah, damn it! So, there you have it, Fire Flakes as I always
kinda imagined them. They are spicy and tingly and the flake itself has
this light, ethereal, bubbly, disappear-in-your-mouth,
munch-o like crunch and they are spicy from the cayenne pepper and the Szechuan peppercorn but they’re not “scratch
off your tongue” hot. If you want to make it “Avatar:
The Last Airbender” accurate just up the spice content because, you know,
“Flaming Fire Flakes, hot”. (upbeat music)
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