Tanghulu recipe is a delicious sweet and sour treat that can be easily made at home.
What is Tanghulu?
Tanghulu or Bingtanghulu as it is also called is a Chinese treat that has its origins in northern China. Traditionally Tanghulu was made using Crataegus pinnatifida fruit or Chinese hawthorn as it is commonly called. This fruit that is prevalent in China is quite tart with a texture similar to that of an apple. The seeds of the Chinese hawthorn were removed and filled up with red bean paste. The fruit is then placed on long bamboo skewers and covered with hardened sugar syrup.
Nowadays other fruits such as strawberries, mandarin oranges, blueberries, pineapples, kiwi, banana and grape, etc are also being used.
What is the history of Tanghulu?
Tanghulu originated during the Song dynasty by a doctor looking for a way to treat his anorexic wife. It gained popularity during the Qing dynasty and was found in tea houses and as street food.
What does Tanghulu taste like?
Tanghulu tastes similar to a hard fruit candy. It has a fruity center well, to the crunch of the hard sugar shell.
The original Tanghulu
- Granulated sugar 2 cups
- Water 1 cup
- Strawberries 1 lb (or fruit of choice)
- Candy thermometer
- Silicone baking mat
- Sheet tray
- Bamboo skewers
- Place the strawberries in a colander.
- Wash and pat them dry and keep them aside.
- Now place about 3 of the strawberries on a bamboo skewer keeping an equal distance between all pieces or place a single piece of fruit on each skewer.
- Place a saucepan on medium heat and pour in the water and sugar. Move the saucepan so that the water covers all of the sugar wells and let it come to a boil.
- Now place a thermometer in it and allow it to continue to boil for at least 10 mins until it comes to 300 degrees F.
- Now dip the bamboo skewer into the sugar syrup and twirl it so that the fruit is coated evenly.
- Shake off the excess sugar and then, place it on a silicone baking sheet.
- Let it sit for at least a minute so that it hardens and enjoy!
- It is very important to have the right temperature for the candy to harden else you will end up with sticky sugar syrup. If you do not have a candy thermometer, you can still test if the sugar syrup has reached the desired temperature by dipping one of the skewers in the syrup and then quickly dipping it into ice-cold water. If it hardens immediately and is unmovable, the desired temperature has been reached. If the sugar syrup is still sticky and movable then it has to be cooked down more.
- This dish works with just about any kind of fruit of your choice, if you are using berries, pull the leaves of the berries upwards or away from the berry so that it does not stick to the sugar syrup. You could also remove the leaves if desired.
- A silicone baking mat works best as the silicon prevents the candy from sticking to the mat. However, if you prefer to use parchment paper, spray some non-stick spray on it before using it.
- Remember to pat dry the fruit after washing, if the moisture is too much, it will interfere in the sugar hardening process and you would not get the desired results.
- To store Tanghulu, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate. however the longer it is kept, the more the sugar from the fruit would break down releasing moisture and turning the hardened sugar syrup sticky. So it is best consumed immediately.
Tanghulu with honey
- 1 lb of strawberries (or fruit of choice)
- 2 lb granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 cup water
- Wash the strawberries and pat them dry and keep them aside.
- Now place about 3 of the strawberries on a bamboo skewer.
- Put the water, sugar, and honey in a saucepan and let it come to a boil, you will notice that the syrup changes color as it heats up.
- Once the temperature hits 300 degrees F, dip the strawberries in and coat them in the sugar syrup and shake off the excess.
- Place them on a baking sheet to harden and enjoy!
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