Chicha Morada – Peru’s Purple Corn Drink

Chicha Morada

Chicha Morada

The Refreshing Traditional Purple Corn Drink of Peru.

“Chicha Morada is one power packed drink with wholesome nutrition of vitamins and minerals, using purple corn, that’s only found in, or originated from Peru.”

The main ingredient of Chicha is of course, purple corn, which is one of many Peruvian Super Foods. The corn, or “choclo” in Spanish, is cultivated in coastal areas, as well as high in the Andean mountains at elevations of nearly ten thousand feet. The use of purple corn dates back 2,500 years ago as evidenced from artifacts found in archeological sites in Peru.

What makes it a Super Food?

Very few natural crops are pigmented deep purple; those that are however, are loaded with Phytonutrients and Antioxidants, specifically Anthocyanin. Purple Corn is also a great source of vitamins C and E. Many of purple corn’s phytonutrients (plant nutrients) contain massive amounts of Phenolic and anthocyanin’s. Crops that contain the most phenolic and anthocyanin also have the highest antioxidant activity.

What is Anthocyanin?

Anthocyaninins are a type of complex flavonoid that produces the blue, purple, or red colors in food.  Anthocyaninins are anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, protect us from disease, promote blood flow, and reduce cholesterol. They may also help to stabilize and protect capillaries and blood vessels from free radical damage. They can promote collagen formation, keeping us younger looking, and improve circulation. Purple corn is a more potent antioxidant than blueberries, so drink up.

Studies have shown that diets rich in poly-phenol compounds are associated with reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease, and some cancers. Research in both humans and animals have shown that increasing poly-phenol intake can; protect against atherosclerosis, lowers blood pressure, reduces blood clots, and elevates antioxidant capacity of the blood. Other benefits include, but not limited to (Anti-Diabetes, Anti-Obesity, Anti-Cancer, Anti-Hypertension, Anti-Heart Disease, Anti-Aging, and Anti-Inflammation. Also effective against asthma, thyroid and goiter diseases, gland problems, kidney disease, the flu, colds and cough, fever, even Dengue fever, skin problems, digestion problems, reflux, GERD, post nasal drip and eyesight problems, and reduced chances of colon cancer in studies.)

Purple corn juice alone is extraordinary, combine it with other fruits and ingredients, and it makes one healthy power packed drink!  No wonder Chicha Morada is a very popular and traditional drink in Peru.

In an effort to provide information, but not turn this article into a long drawn out medical journal, I will spare you by including the links to the following ingredients, if you so choose to research on your own.

Benefits of Pineapple.  Benefits of Cinnamon.
Benefits of Clove.  Benefits of Lime.

Now, for the recipe already: Cooking is an art. There is no right or wrong way to make Chicha.   Add fruits that you like, such as apples, tangerines, and grapes. The goal though, would be to create a fusion of flavors, and not have any one flavor overpower another.

First, rinse the corn, pineapple, and limes. Use about three to four ears of purple corn, and the kernels should be firm, but not dried out and rock hard. (Purple corn is different from Indian corn in the United States.) Break the cobs and remove most of the kernels. Cut up a pineapple and leave the rind on. Slice a few limes and place all ingredients into a medium to large pot, including the cobs. Put in several cloves, and sticks of cinnamon.  DSC03374Fill the pot with water and bring to a boil. Continue to boil for several minutes, stirring the mix occasionally.  After the water has turned a dark purple color, remove from heat, and remove the cobs, fruit, and cinnamon sticks, set aside, and strain the juice._DSC6200

I added more water after I took the photo.

At this point, you can add sugar to your personal taste preference.  If however, you have made more than you will be able to drink within a couple of days, than I suggest adding sugar to each pitcher full as you go.  Otherwise, the sugar may ferment the drink too quickly.  You can put some of the pineapple and other ingredients back in to continue flavoring the drink.  Let it cool and enjoy.  Keep refrigerated.

If you want to make more, after removing the Chicha juice you just made, refill your pot with your solid ingredients, add water, and repeat to extract more flavoring.  Even after boiling the corn kernels twice, they are still somewhat firm.  If you are ambitious, you can then grind the kernels, and make purple corn chips out of them.

No purple corn where you are at?  Try searching on or for a local Peruvian store in the USA.  There are many in the Miami, FL area, also California.  Some sell the kernels, and others, packages of dried powder that you mix with water and other fruits.

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