Raspas, mangonadas and agua frescas are just a few delicious ways to keep cool in Texas

Tacos of Texas podcast host Mando Rayo knows the best chilled treats and where to find them. Tiger’s Blood, anyone?

By Kristen CabreraJuly 21, 2023 2:33 pm, ,

With record-breaking triple digit heat seemingly unending in parts of Texas, you can’t have enough variety of ways to keep cool. And sure popsicles and ice cream can be satisfying, but what if you add tajín or chamoy and crank up the heat on your frozen treat?

These chilé-based products are a core component in some of the treats Tacos of Texas podcast host Mando Rayo talked with Texas Standard about. And it’s very likely these delicious treats are just around the corner. Listen to the interview above or read the transcript below.

This transcript has been edited lightly for clarity:

Texas Standard: So tell us tell us about caldo and how that takes the edge off.

Mando Rayo: Now, that’s what moms cook over the summer. I don’t know why. They’re like “oh, it’s 100-plus degrees, here’s a hot soup.” Hot beef soup. You know what I mean? We’re just like, “okay.”

But then I got to get a raspa, some mangonadas, maybe a rusa – something to cool me down.

Okay, so what is a raspa? Tell us about that.

Yeah, I mean, basically, it’s a Mexican snow cone, but different.

“Raspa” in Spanish means “to scrape.” So in Mexico or even like, if you go to a flea market, you see vendors with a big giant block of ice and then they scrape this thin ice into a cup and then, you know, it’s kind of like shaved ice, right? And then they put, you know, the different syrups, different flavors. It could be different fruits and everything from, you know, your traditional fruits from even mango or to strawberries or grape or even like my son, he likes tiger blood.

So, yes, it’s basically like a Mexican version of a snow cone. But a snow cone is crunchy, a raspa is nice and soft and cool.

Tell us a little bit about mangonadas. What are those?

Oh, man, that’s like a great summertime a cold dessert, you know.

A mangonada – you’re talking about fresh mangoes, chamoy, that mango nectar and lime. And you know, that chamoy kind of gives it that sweet flavor. And then maybe you top it off with some tajín, and, man, you’re cooling down, you’re enjoying it, and it cools you down because it’s fresh, cold fruit but also with that sweet and spiciness of some tajín, you know what I mean?

Yeah, absolutely. You know, it’s interesting how popular these drinks seem to be getting. Agua frescas seem to be everywhere.

Oh, yeah. Well, man, that’s where you start. You know, if you’re going to dive into these beverages during the summer, you start with an agua fresca.

You know, probably the most popular ones are like agua de horchata – which is a rice milk – to you know, melón, agua de sandia. And, you know, you can get them at different Mexican restaurants, the flea market or even like I was actually cruising down 183 south over by the airport here in Austin – you see these vendors pop up and they’re just there to make sure that you have something cold as you, you know, go from in between jobs to your errands. All you do is you cruise into their spot and get yourself a nice agua.

Is this something that is relatively easy to make yourself or is it better getting something from a stand, do you think?

I mean, if you want the real deal, you got to go to the stand. You can get creative for sure. But, you know, I mean, I think like most everything that if you want to take the time for, there’s a process.

Like the mangonadas are easy, because it’s just a lot of different ingredients that you put in and you can kind of do your own flavor. But the aguas frescas, there is a process to that. So if you get, you know, say an agua de melón, you can blend it but then you also have to sift it to make the texture has to be that water texture.

So it is a process but and you can do it, and you can do it in the comfort of maybe an air conditioned house.

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