Churros Are A Popular Snack and Breakfast Food in Spain:
On a recent trip to Carmona, I fell in love with Churros! No, churros is no olive-skinned Spanish soccer heartthrob, but the humble breakfast and snack food that is so popular in Spain, Portugal and Latin American countries.
A First Taste of Churros
We arrived at a very shut Carmona market square and were told by our guide that we had twenty minutes to kill. I later find out that there is quite a lot to see in Carmona, and why he chose for us to hang around in an empty square made no sense.
The market stalls have finished their day’s trade, except for a couple of stallholders in the process of shutting down, one being a churros vendor. The stall didn’t look very flash, but with twenty minutes to spare, I decided to give the churros a try. And this was where my churros love affair began. I liked the churro so much that I had it every morning for breakfast from there on.
Who Invented the Churro?
My instant liking of churros was no coincidence of the taste-bud. The churro is believed to be a derivation of Youzagwei, a Chinese fried dough bread that I’ve had my fair share of when growing up in Asia. According to one theory, the churro was brought to Europe by the Portuguese. During their travels to the Orient and trade with the Chinese during the Ming Dynasty they brought home with them some of the Oriental recipes.The Youzagwei has a slightly chewy texture due to the “pulling” of the dough. The Portuguese however never learned the Chinese skill of pulling the dough as the sharing of knowledge with foreigners was forbidden by the Emperor. The Spanish churros dough is extruded from a star-shaped die and has a softer texture when cooked, which I rather like.
There are of course other theories on the origin of the churro, including one linking its creation to Spanish shepherds. But we’ll leave this theory for another time, since the Spanish shepherds seem to be credited with the invention of many other Spanish foods.
Varieties of Churros
The various churros-eating countries have developed their own spin of the humble churro such as in Brazil where churro sticks are filled with a thick caramel-like sauce (dulce de leche) or in Uruguay where churros can come with melted cheese. Churros can be shaped straight and stick-like, spiral-shaped or horseshoe-shaped like the ones we had in Carmona. In Spain you can have churros sprinkled with sugar, dipped in chocolate or plain.
Churros are gaining popularity elsewhere in the non-Latin world and churrerías have even begun popping up in various suburbs in London.