Chamoy sauce is a popular Mexican condiment with a distinctive taste people easily get “addicted” to. Speaking from experience.
Chamoy sauce combines several flavor profiles from sweet to spicy, which is the main reason why it tastes so good with almost anything.
From glazing fish to making drinks, this versatile sauce can be used in so many ways, which we’ll cover below. Besides that, I’ll also share with you my homemade chamoy sauce recipe that I’m really proud of, so stay tuned!
5 Dominant Flavors Of Chamoy Sauce
Chamoy sauce is usually made of the following ingredients: hibiscus flowers, dried fruit (e.g. apricots, raisins), chile de arbol (dried chile peppers), granulated sugar, tajin, lime juice, and salt.
If I had to describe the flavor of chamoy sauce in three words, it would be ‘fruity chile sauce’.
Now, if you’re looking for an in-depth explanation of its flavor profile, this sauce has five dominant flavors based on its ingredients:
When I tried chamoy sauce for the first time, the last thing I expected was its sweet undertone which got me hooked momentarily. “Thank you, sweet-ie!”
Of course, I was determined to find out why sweet is one of its dominant flavors (hint: it’s not just because of the granulated sugar.)
The sweet component mainly comes from the flavor profile of apricots, as well as some other fruits that have high sugar content, such as prunes and raisins.
Granulated sugar content is another reason why this sauce tastes sweet, but the sweetness doesn’t overshadow the rest of the flavors.
Do you know that flavor that is sour but with a hint of sweetness and no matter what you do, it keeps you coming back for more? Of course, you do.
That’s exactly what tangy lime juice does to chamoy sauce. When combined with dried fruit and sugar, I daresay that lime juice brings out the best in this sauce.
Advice: When making your own homemade chamoy, don’t add too much lime juice to avoid an overly bitter and sour taste.
Confession: My life would be a lot easier if someone warned me about that before, but I guess we learn best from our own mistakes. 😎
Chile de árbol is the reason why chamoy sauce tastes spicy. Chile de árbol is a Mexican pepper that has a potent, spicy flavor with a hint of sweetness. It can be used as a substitute for guajillo chiles.
Besides chile de árbol, Tajin seasoning also adds a bit of spiciness to this sauce because it’s made of chili powder combined with dehydrated lime and salt.
DID YOU KNOW? Chile de árbol peppers are on the high end of the heat scale. (Luckily, sugar and dried fruit come to the rescue.)
I always say that chamoy wouldn’t be chamoy without dried hibiscus flowers that add that hint of sourness just like Tajin seasoning.
Also known as Dried Flor de Jamaica, hibiscus flowers have a lemony taste. I don’t know why I’m writing this, but I think everyone should know that hibiscus flowers became Malaysia’s national flower in 1960. Yes, they are that important!
Salty is the final dominant flavor of chamoy because, logically, it contains salt. Tajin seasoning also adds a bit of saltiness to the sauce given that salt is one of its ingredients.
I think every single one of these flavors does a great job at combining with other flavors and thus creating an explosion of sweet, tangy, spicy, sour, and salty.
The best of all is that neither of these flavors overpower the other but they are perfectly balanced, which is probably the reason why I’m “addicted” to this sauce.
What Are The Best Ways To Use Chamoy Sauce?
When I first discovered chamoy sauce, I used it primarily as a dip for mango. I didn’t want to consume it in any other way out of fear that I’ll end up disappointed. How silly of me, right?
A good thing is that the stubborn phase (usually) doesn’t last too long, so after some time I started experimenting with chamoy sauce and combining it with almost everything. I’ll share with you a few combos that are my favorites.
If chamoy could talk, I’m sure it would order you to use it in the following ways:
• Make a delicious mango slushy of mango juice, chamoy sauce, and frozen mango chunks.
• Drizzle chamoy sauce over ripe fruits such as pineapple, peaches, mango, and melon.
• You can use chamoy with veggies as well. My favorite veggie combo is chamoy + cucumber.
• Chamoy can also be used as rim paste for micheladas, beer, or cocktail recipes (you have no idea how proud I am of this discovery).
• Mix chamoy with fruit-flavored gummies (specifically peach rings gummy candy) in order to make dulces enchilados.
• I’ve also discovered that chamoy is a great accompaniment to tacos.
• Or you can use it as a topping for popsicles or frozen yogurt.
• You can use it to make various parts of meat more flavorful, including ribeye, brisket, sirloin, or filet.
• Chamoy sauce is also great for glazing pork, fish, or chicken for the grill.
• I love using chamoy as a dip for chips and different crunchy snacks.
• I’ve also realized that chamoy is a great substitute for jams and jellies on toast.
• Drizzle chamoy over Kennebec fries or use it as a dipping sauce for a sweet and savory experience.
Pro tip: Feel free to experiment with different flavors because that’s the only way to discover more tasty combinations.
Where To Buy Chamoy Sauce
So, you’ve decided to try out that famous chamoy sauce, but you aren’t sure where to find it. Worry not, you can easily find chamoy in your local grocery stores (look for an aisle of Mexican foods and goods).
If you don’t find it there, then you’ll most certainly find it in specialty Mexican stores. If that fails as well, then you can always order it online.
But do you know what’s even better? Making your own homemade chamoy sauce (see below).
Homemade Chamoy Sauce Recipe
- 6 ounces dried apricots
- 1/4 cup dried hibiscus flowers
- 1/3 cup Tajín
- 2 cups water
- 7 dried árbol chiles (stemmed and seeded)
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (you’ll need 1 lime)
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
Step 1: Mix hibiscus flowers, dried apricots, chiles, and raisins in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiled, reduce the heat to allow it to simmer for approximately 14 minutes. The fruit should be plump and soft. When you’re done with simmering, let the fruit cool for a few minutes.
Step 2: Pour the simmered fruit into the blender, and add sugar and Tajín. Blend on high speed until it reaches a smooth consistency. You can also strain the fruit through a fine mesh sieve for a smoother texture.
Step 3: Add salt and lime juice, and that’s it. Your homemade chamoy sauce is ready!
Chamoy sauce should be kept covered in the fridge for up to a month. Or you can keep it in the freezer for 6 months.
Consume Chamoy Sauce In Moderation (Or At Least Try To)
Even though chamoy is considered healthy, you should not eat too much of it because it contains high levels of sodium.
If you eat too much chamoy, this can result in digestive issues. Having an upset stomach is the last thing I need in my life and I’m sure you agree with me, too.
Therefore, chamoy should be consumed in moderation. Easier said than done, right? 😆