It’s fruity, sweet, spicy, and salty all at once! From Asia to Mexico, this frenzied dessert has taken centuries to reach us. Read on to find out how this popular condiment is made and how you can integrate it into your menu!
What Is Chamoy?
Chamoy is a Mexican condiment that has spicy-sweet nuances that play well with a tang of lime. It is usually used for toppings in fruits, drizzled on nacho chips, mixed into drinks, and served as a dip for meats and is popularly made into candy and the spicy-sweet nuances play well with a tang of lime. Chamoy is not indigenous to Mexico and is an Asian invention that got a Latino twist.
Chamoy is basically a mixture of prune, apricot, roselle flower, chili powder, sugar, and an acidic liquid like lime or orange juice, but there are different variations. You can add as much water as you'd like to make it more or less runny or liquid depending on your personal preference.
What Does It Taste Like?
Chamoy has a flavor similar to Asian sweet and sour sauces, but with more heat and tang. It has a unique sweet-and-sour flavor profile that complements light fruit and vegetable dishes, cheese, and beans. It has a mild spiciness but doesn't have a searing heat. And its sweet taste makes it easier for people to tolerate. Chamoy in candy form will usually have a more intense sugary aspect because of the contrast of salt to the food which is why many people love it.
The Different Varieties of Chamoy
There are lots of chamoy brands on the market and they're pretty similar. There are several different types of chamoy sauces available including Chilero Chamoy, , Salsas Castillo, and Tajín Chamoy. It can also be found in powder or paste forms, but it's less common than the latter two. Chamoy is sometimes referred to as apple paste because it's used to flavor apples. If you're looking for powdered chamomile, go for the Miguelito brand, or Lucas Chamoy, which are both good for sprinkles on fruits or rims of Bloody Marys.
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The Difference: Chamoy vs. Tajín
Tajin is another common Mexican ingredient and often gets confused with chamoy. Tajín is a brand name whereas chamoy is a type of food. A big difference between chamoy and tajin is that chamoy paste is made from a fermented array of fruits, while tajín (a spice mix) is usually in powder form Chamoy is made from fruits, while Tajín contains no fruits aside from the dehydrated lime juice.
To add to the confusion, the Tajín brand produces chamoy salsa made from lime juice, salt, chili peppers, and dried apricots. However, most of the time, whenever someone refers to Tajin they mean the spice mixture. Tajin is a Mexican sauce made from smoked peppers, which has a smoky flavor similar to chamoy. It tastes good with grilled meats and fruits.
Chamoy has an extra ingredient that makes it different than other chili and lime-flavored sauces.
How to Make Homemade Chamoy Sauce
Chamoy sauce is an excellent example of a simple dish made from natural ingredients. Homemade chamoy just takes a few hours to prepare and cooks down into a delicious sauce.
Here's What You'll Need:
- 3/4 cup dried apricots
- 1/2 cup prunes seeded
- 1/2 cup dried hibiscus flowers
- 3 cups of water
- 6 tablespoons homemade versions of chili powder or chile piquin powder or even tajin
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
Here's How to Make it:
- Put everything except the citrus juice into a medium saucepan and heat until boiling. Reduce the temperature to low and cook for 30 minutes.
- Turn down the heat and take some time to cool off and this would take about ten minutes.
- Put everything into a blender, including the lime juice, and mix well.
- To check if the mixture has reached the right consistency, add a few more teaspoons of water.
- Put them in glass jars and keep them in the fridge.
- It will last for two months.
How to Store Chamoy
The chamoy sauces and powdered versions are shelf stable and must be kept in a cool, dark pantry for around three months after opening. Chamoy should be stored in the refrigerator where it remains fresh for up to three weeks.
How to Cook With Chamoy
Chamoy is used for additional flavor on fresh fruit and vegetable dishes. It's often served over slices of mango, pineapples, jicamas, watermelons, and avocados. Serving apples rolled in chamoy paste is another traditional Mexican snack. Chamoyada is an icy dessert made from shaved ices or sorbets with pieces of your favorite fruits and chamoy syrup.
It can be used to add a sweet spicy flavor to savory dishes too and often it's added to nachos, tacos, roasted vegetables, steaks, and chili. Tostilocos, a traditional Mexican street food staple, uses chamoy to flavor a mixture of peanuts, Jicama, cucumber, and limes. It can also be used like any other hot sauce and drizzles onto a meal as preferred.
Ready to Explore Mexican Dishes?
Get ready to impress your family and friends with your newfound talent for making good food. Here at Culinary Depot, we provide the tools of the culinary trade for professionals and home cooks. If you'd like to learn more about our cutting and storing ware, contact us today.