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Peruvian Chicha Morada - a delicious drink made from purple corn

Peruvian Chicha Morada

The delicious purple corn drink made in Peru

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Sunflower - Last Update: October 16, 2017

For thousands of years ancient cultures high in the Peruvian Andes produced a refreshing, fruity and healthy (at least if you go easy on the sugar) non-alcoholic drink called Chicha Morada that with the arrival of the Incas spread throughout the empire and later was refined with ingredients brought to the country by the conquering Spaniards.

Still super popular, especially with kids, and not less delicious today Chicha Morada is one of Peru’s signature beverages you shouldn’t miss.

Traditionally it is prepared by boiling Peruvian purple corn (maiz morado) with pieces of pineapple, quinces, cinnamon and cloves in water and then add lime juice and sugar to taste.

The result is a deep purple, refreshing drink with a pleasant fruity flavor and a homey touch of cinnamon and clove; something different, but something you never tasted before and so good.

And while today you can get Chicha Morada in Peru and abroad bottled or as drink powder – both mostly containing artificial flavors and coloring and lots of sugar, these are no comparison to the home-made original.

And preparing Chicha Morada at home is really super easy with our recipe below. Only small setback: you need of course purple corn, best fresh, frozen will do. You can get it at most Latin American food stores and even at online shops such as amazon.com.

Health benefits of Chicha Morada and purple corn

Ready-made Chicha Morada, which mainly consists of water, artificial flavors and coloring and lots of sugar, surely hasn’t got any health benefits. But when preparing it from scratch and either reducing the sugar content or using healthier sweetening options, you get all the goodies the purple corn, the fresh fruits and spices have to offer.

The Peruvian purple corn, the main ingredient of Chicha Morada, has one of the highest contents of anthocyanins, powerful pigments that give the kernels their color and have shown antioxidant properties.

Even though only proven in virto (there are no substantial clinical trials until now), the anthocyanins in purple corn improve blood circulation, lower the blood pressure and heart rate, and reduce cholesterol. They help fight diabetes and obesity.

Additionally, anthocyanins have anti-inflammatory properties, encourage connective tissue regeneration, promote collagen formation and decrease chances of developing serious eye diseases.

The other ingredients of Chicha Morada enhance and complement the effects of the purple corn with similar and related properties.

Photos

Chicha Morada is made of fresh and colorful ingredients
To prepare Chicha Morada just boil Peruvian purple corn, pineapple, apples, cinnamon and cloves in water
Once cooked, strain, let cool and add lime juice and sugar
Ready is your home-made, refreshing Chicha Morada
Today Chicha Morada as well is sold bottled and as drink powder

Eva’s Recipe for home-made Peruvian Chicha Morada

Food

Ingredients:

3 cobs of purple corn (approx. 750g / 1.6 pounds)
1 fresh pineapple
2 apples
2 cinnamon sticks
2 cloves
4 l water (1 gallon)
4 limes juiced
about 250 g sugar or another sweeting option to taste

Preparation:

  1. Thoroughly wash the corn and the fruits. Generously peel the pineapple and apples leaving a bit of flesh on the skin (keep the rest of the fruits for later!). Cut the kernels from one of the cobs off.
  2. Put the two still “complete” corncobs, the kernels, the "empty" cob, the skins of the pineapple and apples as well as the cinnamon sticks and cloves in a large pot. Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 45 minutes. Set aside, allow to cool down for around half an hour.
  3. Then strain the liquid. Refrigerate your self-made Chicha Morada and dispose of the cooked fruits and spices.
  4. Shortly before serving add the lime juice and sugar or another healthier choice to taste. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add diced pieces of pineapple and apples to your Chicha Morada.
  5. Serve cold and enjoy!
  6. Please note: Even though often advised otherwise, only add the sugar shortly before serving. While the cooked Chicha Morada can be kept in the fridge at least for two to three days, once sugar is added the fermentation process begins and it should be consumed within a few hours.
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