Add Color to Your Meals with Peruvian Purple Rice

This recipe has been in my notebook for many years. It was given to me -with this spectacular photo included- by Peruvian chef Jean Paul Desmaison, when he had a dreamy restaurant called La Cofradía, in Lima. Purple rice is not only beautiful but also delicious and very original. It was the perfect side dish for our braised lamb shanks, posted two years ago as our recommended entree for an out of the ordinary Thanksgiving dinner.

The rice is purple because it is cooked in purple corn water (yes, the one used to make Chicha Morada and Mazamorra Morada, two of our favorite recipes of all time). Don´t be fooled by it´s color, because it´s actually very easy to make. All you need is to find dry purple corn in your closest Latin American grocery store (or online), add pineapple peels, quince, apples, cinnamon, cloves and allspice. Use the amount of liquid needed for the rice, add lime juice and sugar to the remaining corn water, to have a meal and a refreshing beverage all in one go.

Serve this fabulous rice as a side for lamb shanks, asado, roast chicken, pork, shrimp, or fish, and surprise your family and friends with a new and delicious dish.

Purple Rice
Recipe type: Side dish
Cuisine: Peruvian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
  • 1 lb Peruvian purple corn
  • ½ pineapple (use the peels only)
  • 1 quince, quartered
  • 2 apples, thickly sliced
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 allspice berries
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ leek, finely sliced
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, finely sliced
  • 2 cups white rice
  • Salt and pepper
  1. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, simmer the corn with pineapple peels, quince, apple, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves, for about 45 minutes.
  2. Turn off the heat, strain the water and discard the solids. The water should have a deep purple color.
  3. To make the rice, heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan. Add the garlic and sauté until lightly golden. Add the leek and bell pepper, and stir for 3 minutes.
  4. Add the rice, season with salt and pepper, and add 3 cups of hot purple corn water.
  5. Bring to a boil, put the lid on, turn the heat to very low, and cook undisturbed for about 25 minutes.
  6. Stir once with a kitchen fork. Put the lid back on and turn off the heat.


  1. […] a few years ago by celebrity chef Jean Paul Desmaison. What got my attention at the time was the purple rice made with chicha morada water. The color was a rich, stunning purple that made it really festive. A […]

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