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Worldwide Gastronomy Habits & Trends

Churros – The Story of this Spanish Banger and a Foolproof Recipe

ByFranziska Dietz

Nov 27, 2021

The key to happiness is deep frying. This, dear friends, is stated common knowledge. Some deep-fried favorites definitely are churros, the doughy goodness from Spain. During the lockdown months of the Corona pandemic, their popularity has grown even more: Churros have been one of the most searched foods online. So let’s follow the trend and find out some more about this crunchy delicacy and how to make it yourself. Read on to get some background knowledge of churros and an easy recipe how to make it yourself.

Churros – When The Lamest Ingredients Turn Into Pure Goodness

When looking at the ingredients of churros – water, flour and salt – one might be tempted to shake their head. How the hell can you turn these lame ingredients into our beloved churros? Well, the answer is: Deep-frying. Churrros are mainly plain, simple dough that has been deep-fried. That is it, simple as it is.

Nowadays, they are mostly linked to Spanish and Portuguese cuisine. But they are also quite popular in some South American countries. In Spain, though, churros are either thin and sometimes knotted, or long and thick. The latter being called porras or jeringos. They are considered a typical breakfast in those countries, often consumed with hot chocolate, dulce de leche or café con leche, sometimes sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.

Spain – Home Of Churros?

Nowadays, most people link churros to Spain. However, the true origin of this crunchy snack stays unclear. This definitely roots in the most basic ingredients of churros, water and flour, which have been used by people for thousands of years.

Is Spain really the true home of churros?

According to some theories, churros or churro-like pastries have already existed in Ancient Egypt. In the tomb of Ramses III, archeologists fund engravings that portrayed workers processing wheat, making a dough of it, rolling it up and frying it. Maybe this has been the first ever record of a churros recipe!

There is one more country that claims to be the true home of churros: China. According to this theory, churros derive from the popular Chinese dish youzhagui, meaning “demon fried in oil”. Just like churros, these demons are a typical breakfast dish, although not sweet but savory, as in China salt is added to the dough. It might be possible, that Portuguese merchants brought the recipe to the Iberian Peninsula, where it quickly spread. But, in the end, the true origin of churros will probably never be solved. Also, because of the simplicity of its ingredients and its manufacturing, it is not unlikely that people in different, far away parts of the world just had the same flash of inspiration.

The History of Churros in Spain

Of course, Spanish people laugh at the idea of churros deriving from any other country than their own. Actually, this really is quite unlikely. Churros are traditionally made by pressing the dough through a form that makes a kind of star shape. This food has been served all around Europe in the 16th century and were called syringe fritters. But there are ancient churros-like recipes from Moorish Spain that actually can be traced back to the 12th century.

So it seems quite undoubted that churros have been part of Spanish cuisine for many centuries. The first ever churros-reference or recipe dates back to the late 19th century. At that time, the famous Chocolatería San Ginés in Madrid started serving churros along with thick, dark chocolate.

Churros and hot chocolate, a match made in heaven!

So for sure, this popular dish has been enjoyed by the Spanish for at least 100 and something years. And it certainly can be named as one of the favorite breakfasts of the Spanish people. Maybe you are curious yet, so let’s get to the point and find out, how to make churros yourself!

Churros – Some Precaution Advises Before Getting to It

Now that you know everything about the admittedly – not very safe – historical background of churros, let’s get to the hard facts and a foolproof recipe to make churros at home.

Some safety precautions first: Please, take care when deep-frying. Hot oil can cause the worst burn injuries, and we do not want anyone being hurt in the process of following this churros recipe.

Also, it is very important to use really dry flour. If you live in a humid place, it is recommendable to dry the flour for half an hour at a low temperature in the oven.

For the typical churros form, you can either do it the professional way and use a churros gun. But if you don’t have that, a pastry bag with an open star tip does it just fine!

Finally: A Foolproof Churros Recipe

As ingredients for this churros recipe, you will need:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of flour
  • a pinch of salt

To proceed:

Add the water and salt to a pot and bring to boil. Just before it starts boiling, add the flour all at once and stir very well with a wooden spoon. Take the pot off the heat and keep stirring until the dough does not stick to the sides anymore. If it’s too sticky, add a little flour. Form the dough into a ball and set aside for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the oil to a frying pan and bring to about 185C. Before frying the churros, you can squeeze them onto a lightly floured surface. Or you simply place them right into the hot oil and snip them with scissors as you go. The churros will float, but make sure to turn them halfway through the frying. The churros are done, once they are golden brown.

As a last step, remove them from the oil and sprinkle them with table sugar while they are still hot.

Then: Enjoy!

This recipe was taken from BBC Travel. If you are looking for a delicious hot drink to take along with the churros, check out our blog post about Chai tea.