Peruvian Chicha Morada
Unless you’ve traveled to Peru, chances are you have never tasted chicha morada. I have Erik Burmeister to thank for introducing me to this delicious Peruvian specialty. Chicha morada is a non-alcoholic Peruvian beverage made from purple corn called “maiz morado“. “Chicha” is common in South and Central America–it is a fermented (alcoholic) or non-fermented (non-alcoholic) beverage made from grains, maize, or fruits.
Traditional Peruvian chicha morada is made by boiling “maiz morado” (purple corn) with water, “pina” (pineapple rinds), “canela” (cinnamon), “clavos” (cloves), and sugar. Sometimes citrus juice such as “lima” (lime) is added as well, as with my recipe. This fruity beverage can be traced back to the pre-colonial era in Peru. Considered a staple of Peruvian cuisine, I am told you can find chicha morada in restaurants and local markets.
Chicha morada has a lovely, not-super-sweet flavor, almost a cross between mulled wine and a melted grape popsicle. The vibrant purple color comes from the anthocyanin pigment of the purple corn and is believed to have lots of natural anti-inflammatory properties (more so than blueberries even) adding a possible health benefit to this refreshing fruity beverage. Maiz morado is mostly grown in the Northern Peru region but companies such as Goya make it available in the states. Sold dry, you can find this Peruvian food item online at specialty stores such as Kosmos Peru or at times, even on Amazon.
Chicha morada is also sold pre-made and in powdered forms. But don’t be fooled, those are not nearly as good as the easy-to-make homemade version. Although made with dried corn, there is no actual corn flavor to this drink. The spices and fruit are what come forward, along with the sweet-and-tart combination of the sugar and lime. Served on ice with some diced pineapple and green apple, you have one heck of a refreshing and flavorful beverage that is perfect for summertime.