Have you heard of chancaca syrup, thought it sounds delicious, but not sure what it actually is? You’re not alone.
When I first heard of it, I thought, I really want to know what that is. As someone who loves all things sweet, any type of syrup is definitely something I want to know more about.
Sound like you? Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I’m going to be telling you everything there is to know about chancaca syrup.
I’ll be writing a little bit about its history, what it is, where to buy it, and what to do with it.
Read on for an all you need to know guide about chancaca syrup.
What Is Chancaca Syrup?
Chancaca syrup is a sweet sauce served warm, made from raw unrefined sugar. The sugar comes from sugarcane.
There are many different variants of chancaca syrup. Sometimes, it is flavored with orange peel. Other times, it can be flavored with cinnamon.
The syrup is usually eaten with sopaipillas or picarones. You can either pour the chancaca syrup over the sopaipillas or picarones, or have it on the side and use it to dip them in.
Chancaca syrup originates from South America, being found in Bolivia, Chile, and Peru.
In these countries, the word chancaca actually means panela. Panela is the unrefined sugar which is used to make the syrup.\
Definition Of Traditional Terms
You may be liking the sound of all of this, but unsure about what some of the traditional terms mean.
Sopaipillas and picarones sound great to dip in chancaca syrup, but what are they?
What Are Sopapillas?
A sopaipillas is a type of fried pastry which is popular amongst many regions of South America with Spanish heritage.
It is made using wheat dough, which you mix with masa harina, and then add butter. You then leave the dough to rise, after which you roll it into a sheet.
You then cut pieces out of the sheet into triangular, circular, or square shapes.
The size of these shapes depends on what you are making the sopapillas for. If they’re for a dessert, then a smaller measurement is preferred, and so you should cut shapes of a length between 3 and 4 inches.
However, if you are making them for a main course, for which they may be stuffed, you should aim for about seven to eight inches.
Once you have cut out these shapes, they are then left to rise further, before being deep fried in oil.
Once you fry them, they should expand, creating a hollow center, perfect for stuffing.
These deliciously fried pastries are perfect to dip in chancaca sauce.
What Are Picarones?
Picarones are a dessert that originate from Peru. They are a bit like bunuelos, which is a type of Spanish doughnut.
Its principal ingredients are squash and sweet potato. It is produced in the shape of a doughnut.
It is traditional to serve them with anticuchos, which is another type of dish originating from Peru.
Picarones first came into being in the colonial period. They were invented to replace the aforementioned bunuelos, a type of doughnut popular in Spain.
This is because bunuelos had become too expensive to produce, and so people were looking for something less expensive to make.
People began to replace more and more of the expensive ingredients used to make bunuelos with squash and sweet potato.
It was through this process that, without meaning to, people invented picarones.
Picarones have an important place in Peruvian culture, being mentioned in books, music, and poetry.
These delicious ring shaped treats are also perfect for dipping in chancaca syrup.
They are traditionally served with the syrup poured over them, or with a side of chancaca syrup to dip them in.
What Is Panela?
Panela is a type of unrefined sugar which is used to make chancaca syrup. It comes from sugar cane and is mainly produced in Columbia. It is produced when sugarcane juice is boiled or evaporated.
In Mexico, panela is known as piloncillo, which translates as “little loaf”. This is because of the shape in which the sugar is made.
The boiling sugar cane is poured into molds which are in the shape of a loaf of bread. Therefore the final product has the same shape as a loaf of bread.
Similarly to white and brown sugar, there are two varieties of panela available.
One is lighter and known as blanco panela, whilst the other is darker in color and known as oscuro panela.
Panela sugar is distributed and sold in various different forms. It can come in solid blocks, granulated, or liquid.
It is used for the production of many things, including soft drinks, beer, winemaking, baking, and vinegar.
It is also used to make chancaca syrup. In fact, in the places which chancaca syrup comes from, Bolivia, Chile, and Peru, panela itself is known as chancaca, hence the name, chancaca syrup.
How To Make Chancaca Syrup
So, now you know all about chancaca syrup in terms of what it is, where it comes from, its history, and what it is traditionally served with.
There is only one obvious piece of information you need: how to make it.
To make chancaca is easy. With the right ingredients and simple cooking equipment, anyone can do it. It is really easy. The process only takes about 30 to 40 minutes
Making chancaca syrup is easy. However, like with any recipe, you need to make sure you have the correct ingredients.
Before you start the process of making the chancaca syrup, make sure you have the following ingredients.
Firstly, you’ll need one cup of panela. That’s the raw unrefined sugar from which chancaca syrup is made.
Secondly, you’ll need the rind from an orange. You don’t need too much of this, as too much orange flavor will be overpowering and spoil the taste of the panela. To be safe, go for about 3 or 4 small pieces.
Next, you’ll need cinnamon sticks. Again, you don’t want too much of this, or the taste will overpower the taste of the panela.
I would say only 1 stick of cinnamon, or 2 if you love cinnamon and really can’t resist.
You’ll also need 2 to 3 cloves, and 2 cups of water.
The Cooking Process
Now that you’ve got all the ingredients, you can start cooking. This is the easy part, and should take less than 40 minutes.
First, put the panela and water into a saucepan and leave it to simmer on a high temperature. Wait until the panela is completely melted through.
When the mixture starts to thicken, now it’s time to add the spices. Add the cinnamon, orange rind, and cloves. Leave this all in the pan to simmer for about 10 minutes.
When you can see that the mixture has become thick and shiny, and has, you can switch off the heat.
Leave the syrup for 15 minutes, then sieve it to remove any excess rind and species.
You’re done! Now you can use the syrup however you want. Keep it traditional and dip picarones in it, or drizzle it on icecream. It’s your choice!