Go to any Peruvian’s home and you will almost always be offered a glass of this: chicha morada, a chilled beverage made from purple corn and infused with pineapple and cinnamon. It’s a thirst-quenching drink, sweetened slightly with cane sugar and then brought to life with fresh lime juice. I’ve been drinking this since I was a tater tot.
The flavor is really like none other. I keep taking sips to really explain…but the first I notice (and love) is the wonderful floral and fruity aroma that whacks you in the nose when you tip the glass for a drink. It’s almost like you walked into a groovy cool place with lots of delicious and pretty things. And the taste: smooth and supple with subtle notes of berry and spice, and beautiful– like a song you never knew you loved.
I’m pretty sure I saw that on a wine bottle somewhere.
Speaking of notes + songs, I’m going to be supplementing my posts with music pertaining to mood and food since I think they both sort of go hand-in-hand. Plus, it’s something that’s always been in my blood. Where there’s Peruvians, there’s music and food. Seems like a natural fit here. Oh! And remind me sometime to show you a video of me dancing when I was 9. Good stuff.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this song playing at our family parties; it’s a classic. It reminds me of summer time, cold beer, and ceviche.
Toss the purple corn, cinnamon sticks, and pineapple rind into a large stock pot. Pour the water over the top, put a lid on and turn the heat to high. Let it come to a boil and then turn the heat down to medium, allowing the water to boil gently, with the lid on, for an hour. After an hour, take off the lid and let it continue to boil gently to reduce a bit for another 30 minutes. At this point, the liquid should be very dark and almost opaque– a gorgeous shade of wine. Take it off the heat and let it cool to room temperature, several hours.
When it’s cool, strain it in a colander. Throw away the purple corn, cinnamon sticks, and pineapple rinds. To the chicha, stir in the sugar and lime juice. Taste it for sweetness, adding more sugar and lime juice for your palate. I strain it again to get rid of any lime “pulp” but you don’t have to. Stash this in the fridge for many hours until very chilled. For best results, don’t add ice to this as it’ll mess with the flavor. Optional: before serving you can add pieces of fresh pineapple in each glass too.
// makes 1 big pitcher