The royal purple color of Peruvian Chicha Morada captivates the artist in me, but its flavor and health benefits keep me interested. Chicha morada is the quintessential drink of the Andes and an essential ingredients in cocktails, desserts, and more… Make it on your stove top or in your Instant Pot, grab an icy cold glass, and reserve the rest for future use!
About Chicha Morada
I submit that chicha morada is the representative non-alcoholic beverage of Peru (pisco sours being their alcoholic counterpart). The traditional preparation combines dried purple corn with spices, and typically fruit including pineapple peels and cubed apple. Then the mixture is slow-simmered (think mulled apple cider), strained, and mixed with fresh lime juice and sweetened to taste.
Health Benefits of Chicha Morada
The base ingredient in chicha morada is purple corn (culli, ckolli). While purple corn was once a sacred crop to the ancient Inca civilization, it is now grown and harvested in the Peruvian Andes in abundance, and consumed throughout Peru.
Historically, purple corn was valued as a natural colorant for foods and beverages (ie. chicha morada). While the traditional uses continue, research into the health benefits of purple corn has made it a sought-after ingredient in supplements and “functional foods” (foods with boosted or added nutrients).
Do I have to Make Chicha Morada Myself?
Nope. While homemade chicha morada is clearly my preference (hence this post), I confess to using this packaged drink mix while I waited on my Amazon shipment of maiz morado (purple corn). It’s a powdered drink mix that compares about as well to homemade as instant powdered tea compares to brewed tea. NOT. THAT. GREAT. At any rate, since I was playing with flavors, it did give me a good idea of what direction to head with my recipes.
A tastier option IMHO is a natural concentrated chicha morada (includes the fruits and spices). However, neither short cut option has the complex (and delicious) flavor of chicha morada made the traditional way, nor does it have the health benefits!
NOTE: If you’re using a concentrate or packaged mix, be sure to follow instructions for diluting!
Making Peruvian Chicha Morada
- 15-16 ounces (about 4 ears) dried maiz morado (purple corn)
- Pineapple peels (top is optional)
- 1 large apple
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 5 whole cloves
- 5 allspice berries (optional)
- 2 star anise (optional
- 3-4 limes
- sweetener (I prefer a liquid sweetener, especially ginger simple syrup)
- Instant Pot or deep pot for stove
- cutting board
- sharp knife
- citrus squeezer
Peruvian Chicha Morada is so simple to make! On the stove, it requires about 50 minutes. My preferred method is to use my Instant Pot. SET. FORGET. I set the Instant Pot to 25 minutes, and let it naturally depressurize (though you can certainly open it sooner).
The liquid gets strained, and the fresh lime juice gets added to the mixture. Lastly, sweeten to taste!
Peruvian Chicha Morada is a “stand alone” recipe, but also the foundation for cocktails and desserts. Look for a pisco cocktail late July, and a dessert late this summer. You know Peru holds my heart, right?
- 15-16 ounces maiz morado (purple corn)
- pineapple peels - refuse from one
- 1 apple - cut in chunks
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 5 whole cloves
- 5 allspice berries (see notes)
- 2 star anise (see notes)
- 8 cups water
- juice of 3-4 limes
- sweetener (see notes)
Add corn, pineapple peels, cut up apple, spices, and water to the Instant Pot.
Set to 25 minutes high pressure
Release pressure after 10 minutes.
Add corn, pineapple peels, cut up apple, spices, and water to a large pot.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer.
Simmer 50-60 minutes.
Strain into a pitcher or other appropriate container (I remove large pieces first).
Add fresh lime juice.
Sweeten to taste (see notes).
Pour over ice, and garnish with fruit if desired.
I love to use ginger simple syrup to sweeten chicha morada! I definitely recommend a liquid (rather than granular sweetener) like honey or agave nectar. Sweeten to your taste. We prefer ours less sweet.
If you're only using a portion of the chicha morada, you may wish to sweeten only the part you're using. We reserve the leftover portion to add to cocktails or desserts, and prefer to sweeten separately.
Calories will vary according to amount and type of sweetener, size of serving, how much pineapple is left on the peels, etc. The entire bag of maiz morado has only about 90 calories. We use about 1 tablespoon simple syrup per serving, and I used 4 servings in calculation.
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- Inca's Food Maiz Morado (Purple Corn) 15 oz - Product of Peru
- Instant Pot Ultra 6 Qt 10-in-1
- Oggi 5629.0 Perforated 11-inch Stainless Steel Colander with Soft-Grip Handles
- Anchor Hocking 81605L11 Batter Bowl
- Luminarc on Tap 4-Piece Pilsner, 16-Ounce
- Stainless Steel Cocktail Picks Set - 4" (18 pcs) - Premium Reusable Martini Olive Metal Picks with Velvet Bag - Drink Garnish Skewers Appetizer Toothpicks Fruit Sticks (3 Head Designs)
Serving Size:12 ounces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 100