Sipping this icy cold beverage, I marvel at its deep and beautiful purple color. The perfume of apple and pineapple reminds me of dessert. The tartness of the quince, and the spiciness of cinnamon, cloves, and allspice, along with the citrusy of lime juice, makes for a very complex and delicious refreshment. Chicha morada is completely different to other chichas I´ve tried, which are fermented and with a stronger corn flavor. Besides tasting good, they say that it’s full of healthy goodness, with the corn and pineapple acting as diuretics, making this a wonderful drink for people with high blood pressure.
But you might be wondering, what the heck is purple corn? This colorful food is one of the many varieties of corn native to Peru. It’s sold dried, by the kilo, and it´s good for chicha morada, and mazamorra morada, one of the most popular desserts from Lima. To use purple corn and give the water the most color, you should take the kernels out of the cob. But don´t you dare discard the cobs, because that is where the secret lies: they render even more color than the kernels! Break the cobs or leave them in one piece.
The purple itself doesn´t give more flavor to the water. The flavor is actually in the fruits and spices, so don´t forget to use them. You don´t need a recipe for this beverage, because I can explain to you how to make a good chicha morada in 3 easy steps:
1.-In a big pan put the purple corn, along with pineapple peels, chopped apple (1 or 2), 1 chopped quince, cinnamon sticks, allspice, cloves, and lots of water. 2.-Bring to a boil and cook without a lid for about one hour, so the water acquires a vibrant purple color. 3.-Turn off the heat, let cool, strain discarding the solids, add sugar to taste and the juice of 3 or 4 limes.
That´s it! This is the way to make a good chicha morada. Serve it very cold, with chopped apple, if you want. That is the original way to serve this beverage, but you can do it without the fruit. The most colorful and tasty summer beverage you will try!
Photo of chicha morada by www.andreafranco.org