#271 chamoy

  • 1 cup of prunes
  • 1 cup of dried apricots
  • 1 cup of dried Jamaica flowers (hibiscus)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of Tajin
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Juice of 3 lemons

Boil the water with the Jamaica flowers & the dried fruit. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add the mixture to a blender, along with the rest of the ingredients. Return to the stove and cook for another 10 minutes, or until desired setting point has been achieved. Just like marmalade, cool slightly & transfer the mixture into warm sterile jars, leaving about 1 cm space between the lid. Seal the jars. It can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 years if processed correctly!

Mexican cuisine is one world’s most beautiful & complex and throughout the entire country, different versions of the same dishes & different tastes of the same ingredient are put on altars, with each region boasting being the best of the best. Its ancient techniques & skills have been developed over thousands of years of history, and ingredients native to Mexico are so plentiful, as well as those brought over by the Spanish conquistadors, that the flavors remain traditional & unwavered.

The hot chile pepper is a basic ingredient. Mexican food has a well-known reputation for being very spicy, but to be honest, it has a wide range of flavors, not all being entirely spicy. However, chiles are indigenous to Mexico & their use dates back thousands of years, which makes it kind of hard to avoid! The importance of the chile since what seems like the beginning of time – actually the Mesoamerican period – branded it as much of a staple food as corn & beans. Until today, I believe, a Mexican just won’t think they’re eating if chiles aren’t on the table in one way or another! If a savory dish or snack doesn’t contain chile pepper, hot sauce is sure to be set on the table…and additionally, chile pepper is often even added to fresh fruit & sweets!

Which brings us to this single, most unique savory sauce in Mexican cuisine – and I would add, the world! The precise origins of chamoy are uncertain, but rumor has it that a Japanese emigrant to Mexico produced some pickled ume fruit which was later recreated with the local apricot, plum, or mango. After some time, various versions of Mexican chamoy began to be sold all around the country. Because of its combinations of salt, sweetness, & heat, chamoy is advertised as a condiment for a wide variety of foods ranging from fresh fruit & juices to potato chips & assorted nuts. It’s also used as a flavoring for frozen confections such as sorbet or raspados, with such a unique flavor combination that is at once salty, sweet, spicy, & cold!

Coming soon: our favorite Mexican cocktail with chamoy, the Michelada!


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