Monday, August 3, 2015

Pandan Churros with Gula Melaka Syrup and all about Churros

I like churros.
I like churros even more with chocolate!
Now, I like churros the most with pandan and Gula Melaka!!!

Why pandan and Gula Melaka? It's a long story that leads to my discovery of these exotic churros. It started with my two instagram friends, Yi Juan @inmyhdbkitchen and Sharlynn Ng @blackmentosbeautybox with their photos of pandan churro with gula Melaka... Yum!

According to Yi Juan, these southeast Asian flavoured churro were selling like hot cakes in the night bazaar during the Ramadan period. And Sharlynn said that she was lucky to be the first in the line... Wow! Wish that I could be in Singapore to try these churros. I know that I can't and I know that the only way that I can taste these is to make my own.

I wonder if it is a coincidence or timely situation... As I was thinking a lot about churro, a seven-pieces churro set from Davis and Waddell had arrived at our front door! Clearly, this is a sign! I have to make pandan churro with gula Melaka and so I made them!!!


pandan churro gula melaka syrup
Pandan churros with gula Melaka syrup
Thanks Davis and Waddell! I'm happy to receive this churro set from you!
This set includes 1 churro piping bag fitted with tip, 1 mesh skimmer, 2 serving plates, 2 dipping bowls and 1 icing sugar shaker. Everything that I need to cook and serve delicious churros!
... plus a recipe at the back of the box to make your churro!
Very thoughtful!

I know that I'm not a churro expert. To know how to recreate an exotic churro, I have to know everything about churros. To learn, I started by asking myself a lot of questions and try my best to seek the answers.

What is a churro?

According to Wikipedia, a churro is a fried version of choux pastry. Churros are popular snacks in Spain, France, Philippines, Portugal, Ibero-America and the Southwestern USA.

Churros are deep-fried and crunchy and mostly sprinkled with sugar or flavoured sugar like cinnamon sugar. Churros can be either thin or thick, long or short, straight or curled or sometimes spirally twisted or knotted. Regardless its shape, the surface of a churro is often ridged as it is piped with a star-shaped nozzle.

How do most people enjoy their churro?

CHOCOLATE!!! Most churros are enjoyed the most with warm chocolate sauce or drink and also coffee.

Is there a typical recipe to make churro?

Sort of. I have comparing recipes from here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and more.. and I can see that all of these recipes contains a typical proportion of 1 cup of flour plus 1 cup of water.

Interestingly, even the amount of flour and water are the same in most churro recipe, some recipes can be quite different from others...

Some recipes like this, this and this contains NO eggs and butter and only two tablespoons of oil whereas recipes like this, this, this, this, this and even the recipe provided at the back of Davis and Waddell churro cooking set contains eggs and butter and the amount of butter added can vary from 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup and the amount of eggs added can vary from 2 to 5!!!

Which is the recipe to use?

Like all the recipes that I have seen, I need to make my churro with 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of water and I like to stick to the recipe at here, here, here, here and also the recipe at the back of Davis and Waddell churro cooking set as I think that the additional of three eggs and 1/2 cup butter can be pretty standard.

Can we bake churro?

Yes... and No!
Yes (as mentioned at here and here) that we can bake churro only if we are using recipe with added butter added. From here, the best way to make straight and long churro is actually to bake them!
No? I will tell you why later.

Are there other variations of churro?

According to Wikipedia, there are churros that are filled like the ones in Cuba with guava, in Brazil with chocolate, in Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Chile and Mexico with dulce de leche, in Colombia and Venezuela with sweetened condensed milk and in Uruguay with melted cheese.

In the recent Singapore, churro are creatively made with pandan and gula Melaka... Yum! So here, I'm joining in the trend and fun too making these pandan churro with gula Melaka syrup.

The churro recipe that I'm using contains butter and 3 eggs.
For those who don't know, this is gula Melaka.
First, I made the gula Melaka syrup.
After these steps, stir in salt. Remove from heat and set aside for the syrup to cool to room temperature.
Next, I prepared the churro sugar coating.
I'm using an interesting "brown sugar" which is very nostalgic and very typical Singaporean and Malaysian.
This sugar is not available in Melbourne and I had to bring this back from Singapore.
Combine both "brown sugar" plus finely shaved gula Melaka to form this churro coating mixture.
Next I'm preparing the pandan juice to make the churro batter.
Don't forget to add the salt!
This is exactly like making choux pastry.
Guess what? Despite the uneven golden brown colour, these baked churros are crispy!
Here's my fried churros... Crunch crunch crunch! Yum!
Can you spot any differences?
I can't really see but I can taste the difference!!!
The baked churro has thicker crispy outer layer whereas fried churro has thinner crispy outer layer and a lot more fluffier inside.

After tasting the differences between baked churros and fried churros, I like to ask myself again... Can we bake churro?

My answer is NO! Although we can bake churro, I would prefer not. Why? Whether baked or fried, churros are made with high amount of butter either way and so they are not going to be "healthier" or "less sinfully" if they are baked. To enjoy churros to the fullest, please bear with the hassle of deep frying... the fried ones are really so much nicer!


More syrup please!
Drizzle with gula Melaka syrup and coat the churros with gula Melaka sugar mixture.
YUM!!!

According to Sharlynn, the pandan churros at Geylang serai bazaar are "super crispy borderline hard on the outside and the pandan was a fragrance rather than flavour". Unlike the churros sold at the bazaar, my churros are thinner which means that they have more crispy outer layers! Plus the crispy layers of my churros is thin and never hard. Sharlynn is right... The addition of pandan enhance the overall fragrance of the churros and doesn't give the churros any extra sweetness or taste.

Besides gula Melaka, I like to enjoy my churros with chocolate too!
I'm enjoy this churro with my favourite homemade hot fudge sauce.
Equally YUM!!!

Here's the recipes.

Gula Melaka syrup that is mostly adapted from SBS

50g gula Melaka*
1 pandan leaves, washed, split and knotted
25g water
salt to taste

*The ratio of gula Melaka to water that I used is 2:1. I like this proportion the best as the sweetness is just right and the syrup is still thick and syrupy at room temperature.

Bring gula Melaka, pandan leaves and water to boil and cook until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add salt and remove from heat. Allow the syrup to cool completely at room temperature.

Pandan Churros that is largely modified from a standard recipe at Food Network


For the churros:
5-6 pandan leaves, washed and snipped**
125g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1/4 tsp salt
150g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
3 large eggs (70g each), lightly beaten
cooking oil for frying
cooking oil spray for baking
** If fresh pandan leaves are not available, you can use pandan extract or essence instead.

To coat the churros:
gula Melaka, finely shaved
the "nostalgic" orange-coloured brown sugar or light brown sugar to toss
Both in equal proportion.

Using a processor or a blender, process pandan leaves and 1/2 cup of water until the leaves look blended and chopped. Place a muslin cloth over a medium bowl and pour the pandan mixture through the muslin cloth. Gather the edges of the cloth and squeeze the retaining liquid out from the pandan pulp. Top with extra water if necessary to form a total volume of 250 ml (1 cup).

Combine pandan juice with butter and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour. Reduce the heat to low and stir vigorously until the mixture forms a ball, about 1 min. Remove the dough from the heat and, while stirring constantly, gradually beat the eggs one at a time into the dough.

To deep fry:
Heat about 5 cm (2 inches) of oil in a heavy, high-sided pot over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 180°C or 180°F. Pipe churros batter straight into the hot oil. Use you fingers or a knife to break off the batter when it reaches its required length.

The churros are cooked when they float on the frying oil. Remove and transfer them on paper towels to drain off any excess oil.

To bake:
Preheat oven to 200°C or 390°F. Line baking trays with baking paper.

Pipe long strips of churros batter onto the prepared trays. Spray the piped batter lightly with cooking oil spray. Bake for 12-15 min or until crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. Do not over-bake!

When the churros are just cool enough to handle, drizzle them with gula Melaka syrup and toss them in the gula Melaka + brown sugar mixture.

Serve immediately.

Happy Cooking and Baking
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24 comments:

  1. Have never made churros but reading your explanation they don't sound half as daunting as first thought. Would be a great sat afternoon "project" for sure

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  2. I never know what churros are until I watched from Food Network - Guy's Big Bite cooked his churros.. He dipped his churros in simple cinnamon+sugar, it looks delicious, coz I love anything deep-fried.. Fried stuff is nice, hehe..

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  3. The churro set looks adorable, unfortunately I'm not living in Australia :( I used to make my churro batter without egg.

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  4. Hi Zoe. What a great giveaway....I have been thinking about churros too lately, maybe it's the cold weather....and who can walk past Queen Vic Market without queuing up for some. Would love to try making some myself. Thanks for the recipe.

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  5. I love Churro. Dipping it in chocolate sauce brings it to the next level.

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  6. This is a totally new idea for me and churros. We eat them mostly unadulterated here.

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  7. That's a good long detailed post on Churros, Zoe. Churros ain't churros if it's not crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside :) Love the pandan gula melaka version, it must taste so good! :)

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  8. Hi Zoe, I have been craving for churros lately, your recipe come in time for me to try on. I always love the combination of pandan and gula malaka.

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  9. Wonderful ideas here and some great ideas that I will try!

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  10. I love churros! Even simple plain ones.. Though I am not that level making them myself :D

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  11. Lovely pretty set ... I like the plain churrors ...Coated with pandan gula melaka must be very yummy. I have not attempted homemade though. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

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  12. My daughter loves churros with Chocolate sauce but pandan churros with gula melaka syrup sounds so exotic. Good one, thumbs up!

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  13. I first had churros in Europe dipped in a chocolate so thick that it's like ganache, and it was so delicious! Love your twist on the pandan and gula-melaka, looks delicious too!

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  14. Woa Zoe, I can smell it from here, looks so tempting!

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  15. Zoe, I tried churros with chocolate sauce at a restaurant and it was awesome! And now you made an Asian version with pandan and gula Melaka. I bet it is just as awesome! And I love your 7 pieces churro set!

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  16. Hi Zoe!

    i was looking at one of your earlier posts and i was really interested to know which shop you bought your merlion mould?

    i'm from singapore btw! :)

    any help would be much appreciated :)

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    1. Hi Ling,

      I bought my merlion mould from a baking supply shop at Joo Chiat a few years ago. Sorry that I don't know the shop name.

      Hope that you will find these moulds.

      Zoe

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  17. Oh nooooo... I was really hopin that the baked churros would be as good as deep fried ones... so I can make them too!

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  18. I love churros! I have made them a few times and my kids go crazy over them!

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  19. I love Churro's! Such a yummy tummy warming dessert. Your ones look incredible!

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  20. Zoe, I'll take the fried one :P
    Lovely Churros! Now I get to know this snack better.

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  21. I have NEVER heard of churros, until now!
    I love trying new things & would love to whip up a batch of these to try on family night.
    U have made it look so easy when I'd have thought it would be very difficult!
    Thank you so much for a new idea :D

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  22. You really did a lot of research on churros!
    What you came out with is so unique and i'm sure it was absolutely delicious too!.

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