Chamoy, what an odd word!
No wonder you might be wondering what it tastes like? Do you even know what it is or where it comes from?
Chamoy is a type of reddish-brown Mexican condiment used to add flavor to cocktails, snacks, fruit, meat and so much more.
Chamoy can take the form of candy, paste, or sauce.
If you're big into garnishes and dipping sauces with a kick, chamoy might be the next big thing for you!
What is Chamoy Sauce?
Chamoy sauce is a combination of a few things: dried chilies, salt, sugar, lemon/lime juice, dried fruit (typically plums or apricots). Some recipes even call for hibiscus flowers to bring out the aroma!
Chamoy has a very unique history as it is said to be adapted from Japanese culture but brought to Mexico by Chinese immigrants.
In Japanese culture, a pickled fruit is called umeboshi.
The umeboshi fruits are usually a cross between an apricot or plum and they produce a sweet, sour, salty flavor therefore leading to the inspiration for chamoy.
We will go over how to make chamoy sauce later on!
What Does Chamoy Sauce Taste Like?
Chamoy sauce is an explosion of fruity, spicy, salty, sweet, sour, and tart.
Simply observing the ingredient list can give you an idea of what chamoy sauce tastes like.
Do you like spicy, fruity margaritas?
That is what chamoy reminds me of, minus the alcohol.
When blending all the ingredients together, the sauce can result in a grainy texture. The key is to boil the dried fruit and flowers until softened. After blending in the blender, you can strain the mixture to avoid chunky sauce.
Chamoy sauce is fairly popular in the United States especially during the summer months, and year round in Mexico.
Chefs across the country have adapted chamoy into their craft as an alternative to regular old hot sauce.
Mixologists have also incorporated chamoy to kick up their cocktails a notch!
What Does Chamoy Candy Taste Like?
Chamoy candy, also known as dulce enchilados, means candy with chili.
Because chamoy is so versatile, the different varieties of chamoy candy are endless.
Chamoy takes on a powder form and is sprinkled onto favorite candies such as peach rings, gummy bears, Skittles and Twizzlers.
These candies can also be coated in chamoy sauce which produces a sticky outer coat to the candy.
Tajin is then sprinkled on top for more flavor. Do you like sour gummies? Level up with chamoy and you get a perfect balance of sour and spicy!
Tajin vs Chamoy
Ah, Tajin. Another popular condiment in the spice realm.
Many individuals confuse Tajin and chamoy as they are similar in flavor but different profile and texture.
Tajin takes only the form as a spice powder with its main contents of lime, chili and salt. Chamoy can take the form as a sauce or powder with a fruit driven profile.
How is Chamoy Made?
Homemade chamoy is the recommended way to go!
However if you’re short on time, you can usually find it at your local market in the International aisle.
Nowadays, bottled chamoy sauce may contain more preservatives than actual real dried fruit. That’s why we recommend making your own sauce.
How to Make Chamoy Sauce
Making chamoy sauce is very simple. There are a few key ingredients you must have to make the best chamoy sauce.
- Lime Juice
- Dried fruit - typically dried apricots or peaches
- Spice- you can use chili powder or dried chilis such as guajillo peppers or ancho chilies
There are a few variations on how to prepare chamoy sauce:
The popular way to make chamoy sauce is to boil the peppers, dried fruit, prunes, sugar and salt together for about 25-30 minutes. Strain the ingredients out of the water and then add to the blender with the lime juice.
Blend until you reach a liquid consistency. Check out this recipe!
If you want to bring out more flavors in your chamoy sauce, it is recommended to add dried hibiscus flowers to your batch. Check out this example.
How to Make Chamoy Candy
As we mentioned earlier, chamoy candy is typically gummy candy sprinkled with powdered chamoy.
The gummy candies can also be coated with chamoy sauce and sprinkled with Tajin.
In this recipe, the author mixes chamoy sauce with powdered sugar to make the sauce thicker. Next, the candies are coated with the chamoy sugar mix. Lastly, Tajin is sprinkled on top and all around.
This recipe takes a different approach with just mixing chamoy sauce, peach rings and Tajin altogether in one bowl. Then the peach rings are laid out on foil or parchment paper to dry. It is recommended to let the peach rings dry overnight.
How to Make Chamoy Paste
Chamoy paste has a thicker consistency and does not drip like chamoy sauce.
Chamoy paste is popular in the mixologist world where rims of glassware are dipped in for an extra garnish kick. People who like thicker dipping sauces also prefer chamoy paste to dip fruit.
To make chamoy paste you need chamoy, Tajin, pulparindo, Lucas Gusano Candy and Baby Lucas Candy.
All these candies have similar taste profiles as chamoy. First the candies are slowly melted down into a thick paste. Ensure to consistently stir or else the candies will burn Lastly, stir in chamoy and Tajin. Check out this recipe for more in depth steps!
If you cannot find Lucas Gusano Candies or Baby Lucas Candy, this recipe uses sugar instead!
Using Chamoy in the Kitchen
In the kitchen, chamoy sauce can be simply drizzled over fresh fruit such as mangos, apples, and pineapples.
This is why chamoy sauce is popular during the summer months. Don’t like fruit by itself? Try some chamoy with it!
Chamoy sauce can be incorporated in dishes such as roasted vegetables, while powdered chamoy can be rubbed onto steaks. Chefs around the world found a way to enhance their barbeque seasonings and sauces with chamoy.
Check out some of these recipes!
Where Can I Buy Chamoy?
With chamoy being so popular, you can buy it everywhere!
Check your local supermarket, in the international aisle. If you have an international market in the area, that is also a great place to check.
If you’re like me and want everything delivered to the doorstep, Amazon has it available as well.
Best Chamoy Brands
Did we mention Tajin is a brand name?
Well they make a chamoy sauce which may confuse you even more when it comes to the difference between Tajin and chamoy.
Another popular brand to purchase chamoy is Chamoy Mega Original. El Chilerito is also a popular brand with over 5k ratings on Amazon.
As with any food in the world, chamoy should be consumed in moderation. It is said eating too much chamoy can cause heartburn and gastritis.
We mentioned homemade chamoy was the recommended method of chamoy because of natural use of ingredients and being able to control how much pickled fruit and sugar is used.
Bottled chamoy at the stores in present day now contain high amounts of Red food coloring #40 and high fructose corn syrup.
These items can lead to health issues such as obesity and cavities.
In the end, chamoy is an explosion of flavors; sweet, salty, spicy, sour, tart. It can take the form as a sauce, candy, paste or powder.
You can make it in your own kitchen with a few basic ingredients or grab a quick bottle at the grocery store.
With its versatility, the pairing possibilities are endless! Summer isn’t over yet, so go try a Mangonada!