Chamoy is a traditional Mexican sauce that incorporates salty, sweet, sour and spicy flavors. It has a purplish-red hue and has a relatively thick consistency similar to a syrup or honey.
Because it contains an unexpected mix of flavors, to those unfamiliar with Mexican street food, it can be an acquired taste. However, those familiar with the taste are likely already salivating thinking about the magical combination of sweetness, sourness and spiciness. (Think “sour gummy worm,” but with a kick.)
What is chamoy made out of?
The ingredients traditionally include ume plums (a type of sour apricot) or other dried fruit (e.g. plums, apricots, mangoes and/or tamarind), ground chiles, sugar, salt and citrus juice (e.g. lime or orange). Because no animal products or by-products are used, it is vegan.
What can you put chamoy on?
Because it has such a comprehensive flavor profile, chamoy can go on a wide variety of both sweet and savory foods.
- fresh fruits & vegetables: apples, mangoes, oranges, pineapples, strawberries, watermelons, papayas, cucumbers and jicama
- dried fruits: dried mangoes, dried apricots and dried pineapples
- chips: potato chips, tortilla chips, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, Doritos and Tostitos
- candies: gummy bears, sour gummy worms, sour watermelon gummies, Fruit Roll-Ups and Gushers
- nuts: Japanese peanuts, peanuts, almonds and cashews
- pork/beef/chicken: tacos al pastor, barbacoa, chicken wings, chicken salads, chili
- seafood: fish, shrimp and oysters
What are some dishes and drinks that use chamoy?
There are many traditional Mexican dishes, drinks and snacks that make use of this flavorful sauce. They include:
- Mexican fruit cups
- micheladas (spicy beer-based alcoholic beverages)
- paletas (Mexican popsicles)
- chamoyada/raspados (Mexican shaved ice)
- elotes (Mexican corn)
Chamoy vs. Tajin
Another popular flavor in Mexican street food is Tajin. It is a dry seasoning that contains chili flake, salt and dehydrated lime. Tajin is a common complement to chamoy, like mustard is to ketchup. They go hand-in-hand when added to Mexican fruit cups and drinks.
Also, while chamoy is a condiment made by many different brands (e.g. Amor, Bokados, Chilerito, etc. ) while Tajin is a brand and seasoning in itself.
Where can I get it?
You can find chamoy at any Mexican grocery store or typically in the Latin or Hispanic food section of most large supermarkets. It is also available online here.
How can I make it?
It is fairly simple to make chamoy at home. The toughest part is making sure you have the right ingredients. Here’s a simple recipe on how you can make it yourself.
- 3 ancho chiles (discard all seeds and stems)
- 1 10-12 oz jar apricot jam
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Put all ingredients in food processor or blender and blend until completely smooth.
- Use sauce on desired food (fruits, vegetables, dishes, desserts…pretty much whatever you like). Enjoy!
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Kristina Reynolds is the Founder & CEO of Glutto and an alumna of the University of California, San Diego. She writes articles & posts for Glutto Digest with insights from fellow industry experts. Furthermore, she is the author of The Fittest Food Lovers: How EVERY BODY Can be Incredibly Fit and Still Enjoy Food, a collaborative philanthropic book with proceeds going to charities that fight world hunger.