Los Angeles is known for some pretty amazing street foods (we even have a street food festival every weekend called Smorgasburg LA!). And one of the cool things about living in LA’s San Fernando valley is the exposure to some of LA’s best Mexican food. That’s where I was introduced to the infamous ‘ChamPiña.’
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ChamPiña is a type of raspado (literally translates to ‘scraping’) which is a refreshing treat made of shaved ice covered in a homemade fruit topping called an almíbar (a syrup) or a jarabe (a thick sauce). So, it’s kind of like a Mexican pineapple snow cone – but so much better!
Like its popular cousin, the Mangonada (aka ChiMango), this treat is a combination of ice, syrup, and toppings. In this instance it’s pineapple instead of mango, and you know I LOVE pineapple. In fact, you can even substitute the shaved ice for a batch of my Vegan Dole Whip, which would be killer with the pineapple sauce and all of the spicy flavors.
Still, what takes this raspado to the next level is the addition of spicy Tajin (a seasoning made of dried lime, chili, salt, and other seasonings) and Chamoy (a sauce made out of pickled fruit and chili). These two ingredients can easily be found at your local hispanic grocery store, but Amazon also has them available online (click the links below).
Of Course, adding a Tama Roca (tamarind covered straw) not only makes your raspado easier to slurp, but also makes the experience muy auténtico.
At first glance, the ChamPiña may look intimidating – but it’s totally doable if you work in this order:
1) Prepare the pineapple sauce (you can use fresh or frozen pineapples for this)
2) Gather the toppings (Tajin, Chamoy, Tama Roca, Lime Wedges, and cut pineapple)
3) Crush your ice (you can do this in a blender, if you don’t have a snow cone machine)
4) Assemble, and enjoy!
It’s that easy.
Not only is the ChamPiña fresh, sweet, sour, and spicy, it’s also super refreshing and the perfect snack for a hot day.
So while the rest of the internet is enjoying their #basic Unicorn Frappuccinos, sip on this bad ass drink and transport yourself to a far-off sandy beach of flavor and pineapple goodness!
- For the Pineapple Sauce
- 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
- For the Toppings
- 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.
- In the meanwhile, place the pineapple chunks and one cup of water in your blender, and blend until smooth.
- When the water and sugar syrup comes to a boil, add the blended pineapple to the pot 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 to a sauce like consistency before turning off the heat.
- Once cooled, pour the sauce 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 sauce, chopped pineapple, Chamoy, Tajin, repeat)
- Serve with a Tama Roca straw, large spoon, and lime for garnish.