Guys – it is HOT in LA.
Despite the fact that it’s the end of September and my local Target already has a Halloween aisle (AND a Thanksgiving aisle), it still feels like the dead of summer around these parts.
Lucky for me, while running errands over the weekend I decided to stop at one of the many street vendors around my home where I discovered my new favorite treat to beat the heat.
There’s no secret that my favorite fruit is pineapple. Just one taste brings me back to the velvety smooth magic that is a Dole-Whip! But I also love a little spice in my life – nothing get’s the juices flowing like a little chili.
Which is why I instantly fell in love with this amazing Raspado.
A Raspado (literally translates to ‘scraping’) is a freshly shaved snow cone covered in a homemade fruit topping called an almíbar (a syrup) or a jarabe (a thick sauce).
This popular Mexican street food definitely has found a home in LA, where it has evolved into a true art form. Street vendors compete for curb space, perfecting their craft with homemade sauces and toppings. In fact, some of these carts are so popular that people have been known to wait in line for upwards of 45 minutes!
Luckily, the wait wasn’t as bad for me. Once I decided to try my first Raspado, I knew I had to go all in, and decided to get the big-daddy – the ChamPiña. The cart was most famous for its ChaMango (shaved iced, mango sauce, Chamoy sauce, Tajin seasoning, and fresh mangos) but I saw Pineapple and well, the heart wants what the heart wants!
Not only was the ChamPiña fresh, sweet, sour, spicy, and refreshing, it also seemed simple enough to try at home, sans the heat or the lines.
The basis of this recipe is a good sauce (jarabe) which comes together in minutes, while the supporting character are Chamoy (a sauce made out of pickled fruit and chili) and Tajin (a seasoning made of dried lime, chili, salt, and other seasonings) – the later, being very easy to find at your local hispanic market or on Amazon. Of Course, adding a Tama Roca (tamarind covered straw) not only makes your Raspado easier to slurp, but also makes the experience muy auténtico.
So while the rest of the country is slipping into the haze of ‘pumpkin spice madness,’ do yourself a favor and savor the last of summer with this deliciously refreshing snack/drink.
- 4 cups (650 g) Roughly Chopped Pineapple (fresh or frozen)
- 2 cups Water
- 1 cup Sugar
- ½ Lime
- 3 tsp. Corn Starch
- 4 tbs. Water
- 2 cups (450 g) Finely Chopped Pineapple, for garnish
- 2 cups Crushed/Shaved Ice (you can use your blender to do this)
- to taste, Chamoy Sauce
- to taste, Tajin Seasoning
- *optional, Tama Roca Straw
- Add one cup of sugar and one cup of water into a large saucepan, and bring it to a boil.
- Place the pineapple chunks and one cup of water in your blender, and blend until smooth.
- Add the blended pineapple to the sugar syrup mixture, and bring the heat down to a low simmer; squeeze in the lime juice, and stir continually until mixture comes to a soft boil.
- In a separate bowl, create a slurry with the cornstarch and water, and add the slurry to the simmering pineapple juice; stir continuously until the juice thickens before turning off the heat.
- Once cooled, pour the jarabe into a clean mason jar and set aside.
- Take a large mason jar or cup, and layer your ice and toppings (for example - ice, pineapple jarabe, chopped pineapple, Chamoy, Tajin, repeat)
- Serve with a Tama Roca straw, large spoon, and lime for garnish.
*You can find Chamoy and Tajin at your local hispanic grocer or online at your favorite retailer
** Save your extra jarabe by freezing the remaining sauce in a mason jar (but leave 1-2 inches of space for it to expand) - have extra chopped Pineapple from your garnish? Throw that into the sauce, and let it all freeze together for easy assembly next time.