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 mais 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 just delicious.
And while today you can get Chicha Morada in Peru and abroad bottled or as a drink powder - both mostly containing artificial flavors and coloring and lots of sugar - these are no comparison to the home-made original with all its flavors and the goodies the purple corn, the fresh fruits and spices have to offer.
And preparing Chicha Morada at home is really super easy with our recipe below. Only small setback: you need a bit of time and, of course, purple corn; best fresh, frozen will do. You can get it at most Latin American food stores and even at large online retailers.
LimaEasy's Recipe for Peruvian Chicha Morada
- 3 cobs (approx. 750g / 1.6 pounds) purple corn
- 1 fresh pineapple
- 2 apples
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 cloves
- 4 l (1 gallon) water
- 4 limes, juiced
- more or less 250 g (1 1/4 cup) sugar or another sweetener to taste
- Thoroughly wash the corn and the fruits. Generously peel the pineapple and apples, leaving a bit of flesh on the skin. For now, we only need the skins, but keep the rest of the fruits for later! Cut off the kernels from one of the cobs.
- 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 for around half an hour.
- Then strain the liquid. Refrigerate your self-made Chicha Morada and dispose of the cooked fruits and spices.
- 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 apple to your Chicha Morada.
- Serve cold and enjoy!
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 two to three days, once sugar is added the fermentation process begins and it should be consumed within a few hours.