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Tomatillo Shave Ice | Raspado

Posted on September 26 2014

Tomatillo is a small green fruit that is native to Mexico and used as a savory ingredient mostly in salsas. Although it is edible fresh, it is always consumed cooked and is most popular in a dish by the name chilaquiles verdes.

This fruit is different than the cape gooseberry  which is native to Peru (aguaymanto)uvilla (Ecuador), or uchuva (Colombia). Cape gooseberry is yellow and tomatillos are green sometimes shades of purple. My mother planted tomatillo one year and has never had to replant it again, every year it grows wild on our farm in California. We collect, de-husk, wash and freeze them and use them for salsas all year long, mostly for our tacos de lengua (beef tongue tacos). 

This year we needed to make space in the freezer and I had the idea to make a topping for raspados. And even though everyone doubted the idea, it turned out to be very delicious. I have traveled through most of Latin America and have never seen a tomatillo sweet syrup and was excited to see how well it turned out. 

Below is a cape gooseberry (not used in the Mexican kitchen) often confused with tomatillo. These I dipped in chocolate in a class I taught in Peru. 

uchuva peru

Tomatillos usually grow the size of a cherry tomato and can get as big as a golf ball. The husk has to be removed before cooking. 

tomatillo dessert

tomatillo raspado

tomatillo dessert

tomatillo sweet

tomatillo raspado

shave ice with fruit

The steps for making the syrup are simple. Gather all of your tomatillos and figure out how much you have. You will need that weight in sugar. I know, it’s a lot of sugar but that’s the point, this is a sugar syrup. If you want to lessen the sugar that’s ok too. You can do half the weight of sugar. I used the frozen tomatillos but this can be done with fresh ones as well. 

Tomatillo Shave Ice | Raspado Recipe

  • 2lbs of tomatillos
  • 8 cups of water
  • 1-2 dried red chiles (optional)
  • zest/peel of one orange (optional)
  • 2lbs of sugar

1. Boil everything except for the sugar for 15 minutes (until tomatillos are soft).
2. Let cool, remove orange peels, transfer to a blende.
3. Blend until you have desired consistency. I like little tomatillo chunks in mine. 
4. Return to the pot and boil on low. Add sugar and cook until it becomes thick like a caramel. Leave it a little watery, it will thicken as it cools. If you overcook and it gets too thick add a little bit of water. 

This syrup will keep in a container in the fridge for up to 3 months. If you know how to jar you can preserve this for longer.

Pour over your shave ice and enjoy!

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