Gachas is a very common and basic dish in Central and Southern Spain. It is quite a popular staple food in Spain among the farmers and shepherds. In olden times, the dish was considered a rural dish, but with changing times and enough variations, gachas recipe has been prepared as a well-liked dish in Spanish meals. The consistency of the preparation depends upon the method of cooking and the requirement. It may vary between soup-like consistencies to a thick pie-like dish having golden brown crust. Though the gachas recipe is quite old, but still the basic ingredients and method of preparation is traditional. Several variations of are also prepared such as Andalucian gachas, gachas manchegas and sweet gachas.
History of Gachas
The origin of gachas is based on ancient Iberian cooking. It is regarded a staple food that is prepared with unrefined ingredients and methods. Basically, at the time of its origin, the gachas recipe was famous among rural people. In Spanish town and cities, this rural dish was replaced by rice and potatoes in the 20th century. The resurfacing of the dish was done at the time of Spanish civil War when many economic downturns occurred. The dish at the time earned the name "gachas de los años difíciles" means “gachas of the difficult times”. Many modern chefs also presented a view that well-prepared Gachas recipe should not be considered a coarse or rural dish.
The main ingredients used in gachas are flour, olive oil, garlic, water and salt. Due to such minimal ingredients, the preparation is regarded a very inexpensive dish and fit for farmers and shepherds. Flour used is mainly wheat flour. In many Spanish towns and cities, saffron and sweet paprika may also be added to offer color to the dish. Fried onion and bread croutons are often included in order to enhance the taste and texture. Besides wheat flour, the corn flour and grass peas’ flour is often used in certain areas. Grass peas flour is considered toxic if consumed in large quantities, hence its used is banned commercially. Tomatoes, snails and cod are also incorporated in few areas to make a traditional gachas recipe. The method of preparation is quite easy and relatively similar in all Spanish regions. A pan is used for cooking the dish. In hot olive oil, chopped garlic is fried until brown. Flour is added gradually, while stirring continuously. Water and salt are included when flour attains colored. The thickness of the preparation can be adjusted by adding enough water. The dish is ready to serve when a cooked smell starts coming out. In sweet gachas, sugar is substituted instead of garlic and salt. Other ingredients remain the same.
Serving and Eating Gachas
All variations of gachas, except the sweet dish are often served as side dish with pork products. Among them salted bacon and pork sausages are very common. In some regions, the dish is also traditionally served with curdled blood and liver of goat, pig or sheep. A simple slice of bread is also a good accompaniment of the dish. Sweet gachas are typically served as dessert.
Health Facts Related to Gachas Recipe
Gachas is a healthy dish, as it does not contain any harmful products. All ingredients are less calorific and beneficial for health. Olive oil and garlic the main components that provide various nutrients that are helpful for the digestive system as well as for skin.