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Churro

Churros are also popularly referred to as the Spanish donuts or Spanish fritters. Churros have attained cult status as the national food symbol of Spain. Churros are also known by alternate names such as “Porras”, “Papitas”, and “Calentitos “.  Churro is favored and savored throughout the Latin American countries, France, Portugal, United States, Morocco and Spanish speaking Caribbean Islands.  The dish is a long and soft cake like pastry which is prepared from blended flour and fried in olive oil. The churro’s appear crispy golden brown from outside and are very soft to eat. The churros are enjoyed as desserts, breakfast or snacks. The churros continued to evolve outside Spain too. The original breadstick sized Churro is known as Churrito, and the big-sized stuffed churro is called Churrisimo. And a Churro cook is lovingly called Churrero.

 

History of Churro Recipes
It is believed that centuries ago Churros were developed by Spanish shepherds who lived in the high mountains. As, the mountain areas were totally cut from the outer world, and it was impossible for these shepherds to enjoy fresh baked goodies that came from bakeries. As a result the nomadic folk ended up coming up with delicious cake-like long strips of sweets, which they could easily prepare in frying pans over the open fire. This churros and churro recipes gained popularity due to their simplicity. The churros were introduced and popularized in South American countries and other Hispanic communities by the Spanish conquistadors.

 

But some historians suggest that churros were inspired by the You tiao which is a sort of fried stick prepared in the Northern China. The idea was captured by Portuguese sailors who visited the Ming dynasty and brought along with them the wisdom of culinary techniques imparted by the Chinese cooks. The Portuguese passed on their culinary knowledge to their Spanish counterparts. Spanish cooks modified these sticks by passing them through star cutter. The Portuguese have failed to grasp the exact technique of pulling the dough as the Chinese cooks did.

 

Ingredients Required for Preparing Churros
The churros are prepared using the blended flour and are fried in the olive oil. Normally churros are about the size of a breadstick but now jumbo sized churros are prepared and stuffed with goodies such as fruits, chocolate and Dulce de leche. The Spaniards like having their churros dipped in cinnamon sugar, hot chocolate or Dulce de leche.

 

Popular Churro Recipes

  • Simple Churros: They are quite easy to prepare if one goes easy with the ingredients involved.
  • Mexican Churros: These churros serve as the bridge between the dessert and savories because salt is added while kneading the flour.
  • Churros con chocolate: As the name suggests the churros are dunked in chocolate sauce before serving.
  • Orange kissed churros: As the name suggests the churros are prepared from orange flavored churro batter and dipped in semisweet chocolate sauce treated with vanilla and cayenne pepper.
  • Churro balls: The Churro balls are prepared using the churro dough. The vanilla essence is added to the dough in the preparation stage.

 

Variations of Churros
As said before the churros are prepared using the blended flour or multi-purpose flour but in Mexico and Andalusia, Spain – wheat flour is used in the preparation of a churro. These churros are shaped as wheels or spirals, which are further divided into edible portions post preparation. The wheat flour churros are called porras and calentitos or calientes. In other parts of the Spain the churros are called porras and calentitos. In rest of the Spain normally potato dough is used in the preparation of churros which are known as Papitas or Calentitos de Patatas.

 

In South East Spain normally savory churros are prepared because the sugar is not considered to be suitable for sprinkling on the churro.  Also, these churros are much more slender than their other Spanish counterparts.

 

Fruit filled churros are popular in Cuba and other Latin American countries. Cubans prepare guava filled churros whereas Brazilians go for chocolate filled churros, and Argentines, Peruvians, Chileans and Mexicans go for vanilla, chocolate and Dulce de leche fillings. The cheese filled churros are popular in Uruguay. 

 

Till the recent past the churros were only popular in Latin American countries. But today churros can be found at American food stores too. Number of food stores has come up in America which serves both special churros and traditional churros. In October 2008 San-Diego based food giant Jack in the box introduced mini sized churros to their menu. Prior to that in March 2006, Australia grabbed attention on global food scene by introducing the Chocolateria San Churro. By keeping to its name the outlet sells churro based desserts.  Similarly the other food giants like Taco Bell and Trader Joe also hogged limelight for their own churro versions. In late 2008, Australian churro franchise introduced slightly more compact version of the churro which was called "Churro Loops".

 

Trivia

  • It is believed that churro is named after the shape of the horns of the churro breed of sheep’s found in the mountainous region of Spain.
  • Churros are also known as Mexican doughnuts.