Churros are a popular treat here in Spain, and I, like a lot of people, love to eat churros as a snack. We had our first churros in Fuengirola today, at a churreria across the street, and we brought them in and had them for breakfast. So I decided to write about churros.
History of Churros:
Churros probably originated a long time ago, when the Portuguese were doing business with the Chinese, at the time of the trade-focused, new-world Portuguese Dynasties. History says that during that time, the Chinese had a breakfast pastry called youtiao, or “oil fried devil.” The treat was usually served in pairs, to represent Qin Hui and his wife of the Song Dynasty.
The Portuguese had such an interest in this treat that they sailed it back over to the Iberian Peninsula, where they transformed the recipe to fit their liking, replacing the salt with sugar, and giving it the unique star-shape that you will see on regular churros today. The Spanish ignored the idea of it having come from China, and promptly named the new treat after the Churra Sheep, whose horns had more-or-less the shape of the new Spanish snack.
The churro then became very popular among Spanish shepherds, who found it very easy to roast the recipe over an open campfire, and simply atee them plain, or rolled in cinnamon or sugar. The first churros were as large as breadsticks. This became so popular among the shepherds because fresh food was not around to buy or trade, so the shepherds were left to their own devices. The shepherds would be walking along in distant plains, far from any town, but when they passed through any village, everyone discovered the taste of churro.
When the Conquistadors traveled to new lands, and spread their culture, religion, and language, (as well as churros) to Latin America, people there soon loved and adored churros as well, and many different places evolved them to their liking as well, filling the inside with Dulce de Leche, chocolate, vanilla, guava, fruit, milk glazes. Uruguay took it back to old roots, filling it with melted cheese. In North America they just rolled it in cinnamon or sugar at carnivals. Though back in Spain, people are still adapting churros to their liking. In the Southeastern parts of Andalucía, the dough is thinner. In the North of Spain, there is a thicker version, considered better for dipping, called a porra, and the Andalucíans like the softer texture of a churro, and don’t prefer to sprinkle sugar on top.
Today churros are found in Spain and in most Latin American countries at churrerias, which are open early in the morning to late at night, because churros are a breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack kind of treat. You could have churros for breakfast, dipped in hot chocolate, or with a cup of coffee, or meet late at night with friends and just eat churros and talk. In Latin America, you will often find street carts selling fresh churros, being made before your eyes. You never know when you’ll want a yummy churro!
Churros are made just about everywhere in Spain and in Latin America, especially in Colombia, Peru, And Venuzuela. It’s one thing you have to do before you die. Eat. A. Churro.
Below: The Churreria across the street from us