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Chicha Morada (“chicha” for short) is one of the most popular non-alcoholic drinks in Peru, especially on the coast. Made of purple corn, which gives it its distinctive color and lends the name “morada” or purple in Spanish, Chicha has been a staple of every birthday party in my family, whether for children or adults.
I remember my mom and aunts making Chicha in big pots on a portable stove out on the patio hours before a party, simmering it for a long time and then making sure it cools down so it will be refreshing. Today, my kids have inherited my love for Chicha and every time we visit a Peruvian restaurant, that’s the first thing they order.
In addition to being delicious, Chicha has many healthy and nutritious properties, including promoting blood flow, reducing cholesterol and supporting healthy blood sugar levels. Also, it curbs your appetite and has incredible antioxidant levels.
This recipe is perfect for a hot summer’s day. Enjoy!
Yields 6 servings
4 lbs purple corn on the cob
3 cinnamon sticks
1 pineapple, finely diced, skin reserved
2 quince (you can substitute with 2 granny smith apples), quartered with skin on
4 qts water
Sugar to taste
Juice of 3 limes
1 apple, finely diced
Remove the corn from the cobs and wash everything thoroughly. In a tall, pot place the cobs, corn, cinnamon sticks, cloves, skin of the pineapple and quince or cooking apples, then add the water. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes over medium high heat, then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 1 hour. When the kernels have burst, remove pot from the heat, strain and let cool.
Once the liquid cools, transfer to a glass pitcher and add sugar to taste, lime juice and the chopped pineapple and apple. Served fully chilled, adding ice if desired.
You can find dried Peruvian purple corn at Latin American food stores as well as any health store.
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