Cool & Refreshing Peruvian Chicha Morada
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The Chicha Morada is a traditional Peruvian drink made from dried purple corn, fruits, and spices. It is traditionally consumed during the hot summer and had chilled or with ice. The dried purple corn is indigenous to the Andes Mountain range and grown in plenty there. But dried purple corn can be found in most Latin supermarkets or online. There are also plenty of bottled versions of this iconic purple drink as well as powdered alternatives, but nothing beats making it from scratch.
Let me tell you, the Easy and Delicious Chicha Morada is super simple to make and requires minimum ingredients, but it does tend to take a long time. It involves putting together the dried purple corn, the fruits, spices, and water and bringing it to a boil, and then simmering it for a long, long time. You then add the sugar and lemon juice and voila, you have a delightfully pretty, purple drink that is both divine and healthy. Interestingly, every part of the pineapple and apples is used in making it. The fleshy, tasty part of the fruit, as well as the skin or peel, is also used, boosting both flavor and health. And making the Chicha Morada is even more economical and practical because you can use the discarded flesh, pulp, and peels from making a bath of Chicha Morada to make an entirely new batch. You can keep using the purple corn until the corn starts splitting, then you know it’s done. Just use the corn, and fruit, you add more fresh-cut fruit to give it more flavor.
The dried purple corn is rich in antioxidants and helps fight against several diseases from obesity to cardiovascular diseases and even certain types of cancer. For more information on the health benefits of the amazing purple corn, look what the United States Department of Agriculture has to say about it here.
The Chicha Morada is even more interesting because it also is very versatile. Besides the traditional pineapple and apple that is used to make it, you can add many other fruits like guavas and peaches. And what is even better, the Easy and Delicious Chicha Morada can be used along with alcohol to make delightful, refreshing cocktails.
- 1 pound of dried purple corn
- 1 ripe pineapple peeled and cut, reserve the peels
- 2 apples chopped with the peel or peel and chop and reserve the peels
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 5 cloves
- 1 ½ cups of sugar white or brown
- ½ cup fresh lime juice
- 1 gallon water
- Get all your ingredients together.
- Wash the dried purple corn and remove all impurities and dirt
- In a large pot, place the dried purple corn, the pineapple, and the pineapple peel, the apples with the skin, the cinnamon sticks, the cloves and add the water.
- Bring it all to a boil and then let it simmer for about 50 to 60 minutes. The water will be a dark purple color.
- Take off the heat and strain and remove all the solids.
- Add sugar to the purple drink and stir till it completely dissolves
- Once the chicha has completely cooled, add the lemon juice
- Chill and serve or serve with ice
Tips & Tricks
- Use everything from the fruits. The skin and peels all have extra flavoring that enriches the taste of the Chicha Morada.
- Add the lime juice only after the Chicha Morada has completely cooled, else the drink will have a bitter aftertaste
- You can increase or decrease the amount of sugar in the drink as per your personal preference.
- The discarded fruits and spices can be used once again to whip up another batch of Easy and Delicious Chicha Morada. But this time halve the water and sugar as the drink won’t be as potent.
- You can add some fresh, chopped fruits, like apple or pineapple to the drink before serving.
- A shortcut to making this, place all the ingredients, except the sugar and lemon juice in an Instant Pot, set the pressure cooker timer to 30 and you’re done. Let it naturally depressurize.
You can refrigerate for as long as you’d keep fresh juices in the fridge. You can also freeze it for up to a month. And just let it sit out before drinking so it will still be chilled but not icy. This Chicha Morada is a non-alcoholic beverage, but it can be used as a mixer for a cocktail. If you are using it as a mixer, you might want to go easy on the sugar as it might make your drink extra sugary, almost syrupy.
Unfortunately, the Chicha Morada cannot be made without dried purple corn. Nothing else has the color and taste of the purple corn. But they are quite commonly available in most Latin supermarkets. You can also find it online.
Yes, absolutely. Brown sugar is the obvious answer, and it blends well with the Chicha Morada giving it a little rustic vibe. You can also use maple syrup, honey, agave, or even ginger syrup that has a little hint of spiciness.
So, obviously, there is no substitute for dry purple corn. It is irreplaceable in this recipe. But the rest of the ingredients are all suitable for variations.
The fruits are the most obvious. Besides pineapples and apples, you can use peaches, plums, quinces, nectarines. While green apples are the most popular choice you can use any apple that has a little tartness to it. As for the whole spices, you definitely cannot make this drink without cloves and cinnamon, but you can add some star anise to it or even some allspice.
The Easy and Delicious Chicha Morada is a summer drink. It is cool, refreshing, and extremely healthy as it is full of antioxidants. It is perfect with some ice, chopped fruits, or just as a mixer for some fun, colorful cocktails.
For more such interesting drink recipes check out the Haitian Egg-Free Cremasse and this Lacto-Fermented Fruit Juice.
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