The churros, tasty sticks of sautéed dough, sprinkled with sugar and served with hot chocolate to dip. Its basic ingredients are water, wheat flour, oil and salt. This tasty treasure has an ambiguous origin, and there are more theories.
One theory says that they were exported from China to Europe by the Portuguese. Among the new culinary techniques they brought, they included the modification of the mass of "youtiao" which is translated as "demon fried in oil", in southern China. This modification is connected with the shape of the dough, since the traditional technique of "throwing" the dough was not used, but was produced with the "star" shape, which requires the use of a sleeve with that shape.
Another theory says that churros were invented by Spanish sheperds as a replacement of fresh bread. Churro dough is easy to produce and they could fry it in an open fire in the mountains, where the sheperds lived most of the time.
In Seville they use to call them also "calientes" or "calentitos de rueda" instead of churros. Calientes are usually fried in the shape of a continuous spiral and cut into portions afterwards. The center of the spiral is thicker and softer, and for many a delicacy itself. You can find them also named "calentitos de papas", which refers to the softer mashed potato-like texture.
Churros are fried until they are crunchy and may be sprinkled with sugar. Same as pretzels, churros are sold by street vendors, who may fry them fresh and sell them hot. They can be eaten at any time of the day, but the best time is to eat them for a breakfast, or as a snack accompanied with coffee or chocolate.
Churros can be eaten in many manners. Straight, filled churros can be found in Cuba, Brasil, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Chile and Mexico.
While Brazilians prefer chocolate filling, Cubans like churros with fruit filling, for example with guava, and Mexicans prefer churros with milk or vanilla filling. In Colombia and Venezuela, churros are glazed with dulce de leche, and in Uruguay churros are eaten also in savoury version, filled with melted cheese. Churros in American amusement parks and street fairs are mostly rolled in cinnamon sugar or other flavoured sugars.