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Churros served with thick hot chocolate
|Type||Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack|
|Place of origin||Spain
A churro, sometimes referred to as a Spanish doughnut, is a fried-dough pastry—predominantly choux—based snack. Churros are popular in Spain, France, the Philippines, Portugal, Latin America (including Brazil and Spanish-speaking Caribbean islands) and the United States. There are two types of churros in Spain, one which is thin (and sometimes knotted) and the other which is long and thick (porra). They are both normally eaten for breakfast dipped in hot chocolate or café con leche.
The origin of churros is unclear. One theory is they were brought to Europe by the Portuguese. The Portuguese sailed for the Orient and, as they returned from Ming Dynasty China to Portugal, they brought along with them new culinary techniques, including modifying the dough for You tiao also known as Youzagwei in Southern China, for Portugal. However, they modified it by introducing a star design because they did not learn the Chinese skill of "pulling" the dough (the Chinese Emperor made it a capital crime to share knowledge with foreigners). As a result, churros are not "pulled" but rather extruded out through a star-shaped die.
Another theory is that the churro was made by Spanish shepherds, to substitute for fresh bakery goods. Churro paste was easy to make and fry in an open fire in the mountains, where shepherds spend most of their time.
Churros are typically fried until they become crunchy, and may be sprinkled with sugar. The surface of a churro is ridged due to having been piped from a churrera, a syringe with a star-shaped nozzle. Churros are generally prisms in shape, and may be straight, curled or spirally twisted.
Like pretzels, churros are often sold by street vendors, who will often fry them freshly on the street stand and sell them hot. In Spain and much of Latin America, churros are available in cafes for breakfast, although they may be eaten throughout the day as a snack. Specialized churrerías can be found in the form of a shop or a trailer during the holiday period. In addition, countries like Venezuela and Colombia have churrerías throughout their streets.
The dough is a mixture of flour, water and salt. Some versions are made of potato dough.
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In southern, southwestern and southeastern Spain, the word churro usually refers to the thicker variant, called porra in northern Spain, the Basque Country and other parts of Spain. The thicker variant is usually fried in the shape of a continuous spiral and cut into portions afterwards. The center of the spiral is thicker and softer, and for many a delicacy in itself.
In parts of South East Spain, a much thinner dough is used, which does not allow for the typical ridges to be formed on the surface of the churro. The final result therefore has a smooth surface, and is more pliable and of a slightly thinner diameter than standard Spanish churros. Another difference is that sugar is never sprinkled on them, because the flavour is not considered suitable.
Filled, straight churros are found in Cuba (with fruit, such as guava), Brazil (with chocolate, doce de leite, among others), and in Argentina, Peru, Chile and Mexico (usually filled with dulce de leche or cajeta but also with chocolate and vanilla). In Colombia and Venezuela, churros are glazed with arequipe and sweetened condensed milk. In Spain, a considerably wider diameter is used to accommodate the filling. In Uruguay, churros can also come in a savoury version, filled with melted cheese.
Churros in American theme parks and street fairs are most often rolled in cinnamon sugar or other flavored sugars.
"Tejeringos", an Andalusian variation of the churro
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