Tanghulu, also known as bingtanghulu, is a fantastic Chinese snack food. It is basically pieces of candied fresh fruit on a stick. The fruit remains soft and juicy on the inside and the candy coating adds a crunchy, sweet exterior that is really amazing. Candied fruit on bamboo skewers is such a simple concept but the result is unique and very appealing to the eye and palate. A variety of fruit can be used to make this snack. Traditionally, it is made with Chinese hawthorn but today it is quite common to use fruits like strawberries. grapes, blueberries and pineapple. This recipe is going to use strawberries which really pairs well with the candy coating.
1-2 packages of large ripe strawberries
2 cups granulated sugar
¾ cups water
¼ cup corn syrup
Begin by removing the calyx (green leafy part of the strawberry) and discard. Once this is done grab your skewers and thread 4-5 strawberries onto each skewer. When skewering the strawberries make sure that they are going in the same direction and that there is a few inches of skewer to hold on to. Place strawberry skewers aside.
After this step grab a large saucepan and pour in the water along with the granulated sugar and corn syrup. Stir until there are no lumps of sugar present. Place the saucepan over medium heat and leave undisturbed. Allow to boil for about 15 minutes or until it reaches 290 degrees (if you have a candy thermometer on hand). It is very important not to stir the mixture because it prevents a grainy final product.
Once the candy coating is ready lay out a piece of wax paper, turn off the heat and grab a strawberry skewer. Quickly spoon the candy over the strawberries making sure to coat all sides. Place on wax paper and repeat.
Allow the tanghulu to cool and serve.
Overall, tanghulu is really something special. The candy coating paired with the fruit makes the taste buds happy and the presentation is beautiful. When you bite into it you get the crackle from the candy which is then accompanied by the tart juiciness of the berry. This is a great way to enjoy fruit.
In the end you have a wonderful sweet treat that is mesmerizing. The candy coated strawberries look almost like jewels. They glisten beautifully. Every bite is sweet, tangy and the dual textures elevate the experience.