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Chicha Morada: Peruvian Purple Corn Drink That Lowers Blood Pressure

Updated on December 29, 2014
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Vespa's recipes have appeared in "Midwest Living" & "Taste of Home" magazines. She belongs to "Cook's Recipe Testers" for Cooks Illustrated.

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Fight Hypertension with Chicha Morada, or Peruvian Purple Corn Drink

Chicha morada is a uniquely delicious beverage with tropical pineapple flavor and a hint of cinnamon and cloves. Although traditionally very sweet, a generous dose of lime juice balances out the syrupy sweet flavor.

Peruvian chicha also offers many nutritional benefits. Due to high concentrations of natural purple pigments known as anthocyanins, chicha morada is an antioxidant powerhouse. It protects cells from damage by free radicals, detoxifies, is a powerful anti-inflammatory and lowers blood pressure. Purple corn's anthocyanins are stable when heated, making it easy to harness their special properties in this popular purple corn drink.

Below you will find a recipe for chicha morada, Peru's refreshing and healthy purple corn drink. If you'd like to read more about how purple corn can prevent diabetes, hypertension and obesity please click here: Purple Corn or Maiz Morado: Health Benefits.


Table of Contents

  • Recipe: Chicha Morada or Purple Corn Drink

  • Serving Suggestions

  • How to Cut Up a Pineapple

  • What Can I Do With Purple Corn Kernels?

  • Peruvian Recipes With Purple Corn



Tips

  • Although the corn cobs provide most of chicha morada's rich color, dried purple corn without the cobs can be used to make a less concentrated chicha morada. (see box "What can I do with purple corn kernels?" )
  • Traditional Peruvian chicha is very sweet. Five Key limes brighten the flavor and balance out the cloying sweetness.
  • Although 3 cups of raw sugar are traditionally used to sweeten the chicha, we recommend a natural sweetener such as stevia, made from the leaves of a Bolivian tree. If you don't enjoy the flavor of stevia, sweeten chicha with just one cup of sugar then add stevia to taste. You won't even notice you're drinking lower calorie chicha.
  • Finely chop a pineapple or apple and float the diced fruit in each glass of cold chicha for an elegant touch.
  • Membrillo, or quince, is another popular addition to chicha if it's available in your country.
  • For an interesting variation, take a hint from Southern Peru. Boil chicha cobs together with passion fruit shells instead of the pineapple skins. Substitute anise for the cinnamon sticks and cloves.


5 stars from 1 rating of Chicha Morada Drink

Chicha Morada or Purple Corn Drink

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 40 min
Yields: about 7 quarts of chicha morada

Ingredients

  • 8 quarts water, divided
  • 1 pound purple corn
  • 1 palmful of whole cloves, about 20
  • 3 small cinnamon sticks
  • 1 small pineapple, fresh
  • 3 cups raw sugar (or try a little stevia), to taste
  • 5 Key limes, or lemons

Instructions

  1. Remove purple corn kernels from cobs. They should easily come off the cob with only slight pressure from your hands.
  2. Remove pineapple skin from pineapple. See "How to cut up a pineapple" for more information.
  3. Pour 4 quarts of water into a large, nonreactive pot. Add cloves, cinnamon sticks, pineapple skin and corn cobs.
  4. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Strain, reserving just the purple corn liquid.
  6. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Dilute with another 4 quarts of water. Allow chicha to cool completely. If using an artificial sweetener, wait until chicha has cooled to sweeten it.
  7. Add Key lime or lemon juice. Taste and adjust sugar and lemon, if desired.
  8. Dice pineapple fruit and add to the pitcher or individual glasses of chicha.

How to Make Chicha Morada or Peruvian Purple Corn Drink

Chicha Morada
Chicha Morada | Source

Serving Suggestions

Chicha Morada
Chicha Morada | Source

How to Cut Up a Pineapple

Don't be intimidated by pineapple's prickly appearance. They are actually quite easy to cut up.

  1. Lay pineapple flat on cutting board or other surface.
  2. Use a sharp knife to cut off the crown, or prickly top of the pineapple.
  3. Cut off the bottom.
  4. Turn the pineapple on end and carefully carve off the skin from the sides of the pineapple.
  5. Slice the pineapple down the middle.
  6. Now you can cut it into bite-sized pieces. Throw away the center core, which is hard, dry and flavorless.


Homemade Corn Tortillas Made With Purple Corn
Homemade Corn Tortillas Made With Purple Corn | Source

What can I do with purple corn kernels?

  • You can make a less concentrated chicha morada from corn kernels only. If using corn kernels to make another batch of chicha, dilute boiled chicha with 2 instead of 4 quarts of extra water.
  • Reserve purple corn kernels to make unique purple Homemade Corn Tortillas.
  • Leave corn kernels on the cob and boil both cob and kernels to make chicha morada. After boiling, you will find that the kernels have cracked and softened. Spray cooled corn kernels with olive oil, roast them briefly in the oven and then sprinkle them with sea salt for a nutritious snack.
  • Mill dry corn kernels. Use purple corn flour as you would any other gluten-free flour, but with all the added health benefits of purple corn.


Peruvian Recipes With Purple Corn

  • Api is a warm breakfast cereal made of purple corn
  • Mazamorra is a gelatinous dessert made of very concentrated chicha morada thickened with corn or potato starch. It is usually speckled with dried fruit such as prunes and served alongside arroz con leche
  • Chicha morada makes a delicious granita or sorbet
  • Beautiful purple chicha morada popsicles
  • Purple cow float: Add one scoop of vanilla ice cream to a glass of chicha morada.
  • Purple cow shake: Blend one scoop of vanilla ice cream and a glass of chicha in the blender until smooth
  • Try adding a little chicha morada to smoothies

Comments

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  • sylvia13 profile image

    Sylvia Gadea de Beer 21 months ago from Shoal Bay, NSW, Australia

    Oh, Chicha Morada, reminds me of going to birthday parties when I was a kid! The taste is good, but I didn't know it has health benefits!

  • vespawoolf profile image
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    vespawoolf 21 months ago from Peru, South America

    Chantelle Porter, I haven't seen any studies on the quantity you need to take, but blood pressure decreases shortly after drinking an 8 ounce glassful. I hooe you can try it and tell me what you think.

  • Chantelle Porter profile image

    Chantelle Porter 21 months ago from Chicago

    I have high blood pressure and I am definitely going to try this. How much do you need to drink a day to see it's benefit?

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

    CraftytotheCore, you're my first reader who's actually sampled this all-natural drink. How exciting! I hope you start making it at home...we've all heard about cherry juice alleviating pain, but that's nothing compared to the benefits of purple corn. Thank you for coming by!

  • CraftytotheCore profile image

    CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

    I can tell you that this drink is as delicious as it sounds! There was a Peruvian restaurant in North Haven, CT, where I used to order this drink by the pitcher full. I had no idea it is an anti-inflammatory and can lower blood pressure. I have arthritis in my neck and high blood pressure, both which I have trouble finding relief from. I will have to try making this at home! Thank you for this awesome recipe!

  • vespawoolf profile image
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    vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

    rose-the-planner, I hope you can try chicha morada someday. We just enjoyed a glassful today with lunch...it's very popular in Peru and everyone knows about the health benefits it offers. Of course, it has to be consumed on a daily basis to lower blood pressure. Thank you for the vote and comment! Have a great weekend.

  • vespawoolf profile image
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    vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

    pstraubie, I'm glad you plan to try this delicious and healthy drink. It really works! Thank you for the votes and comment. Have a great weekend!

  • rose-the planner profile image

    rose-the planner 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

    This is an amazing recipe. I found the health benefits very interesting. I would love to try this. Thank you for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose

  • pstraubie48 profile image

    Patricia Scott 3 years ago from sunny Florida

    This sounds like a recipe I must try. Am bookmarking and adding to my recipe files so that I use it soon.

    There are several family members who would benefit from using this drink.

    Angels are on the way.

    Voted up and shared. ps

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    KoffeeKlatchGals, good luck on your search for purple corn. You can also buy the extract if you can't find the real thing. Peruvians swear by this remedy and we've seen the benefits first hand with our close friends. Thank you for the vote and comment!

  • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

    Susan Haze 4 years ago from Sunny Florida

    I'll be looking for purple corn. I take medication for high blood pressure. It would be great to be able to lower it with a delicious drink. Up and awesome.

  • vespawoolf profile image
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    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Lindacee, we have an advantage here--if we don't feel like making chicha morada, we can buy it already bottled. I wish you had that convenience in the U.S. All Peruvians grow up with this drink, so you should definitely check it out! It's such a delicious and healthy to the diet. Thanks for your kind words!

  • lindacee profile image

    lindacee 4 years ago from Southern Arizona

    We have a Peruvian restaurant right down the street --wonder if they know of this healthful drink? Guess we'll have to go check it out. The recipe is a bit more time-consuming than I prefer (I don't spend a lot of time in the kitchen), but I do love hearing about natural foods that can improve our health. Great Hub! :)

  • vespawoolf profile image
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    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    DeborahNeyens, you're right... it's the pigments known as anthocyanins that provide all the health benefits and it's only found in foods with the purple/red/blue coloring. We often think of blueberries, but purple corn is unique as a grain with these properties. I hope you can find it somewhere in Iowa! There are farmers who enjoy growing exotic crops so you just never know. Thanks for your comment.

  • DeborahNeyens profile image

    Deborah Neyens 4 years ago from Iowa

    I take medication for HBP, so I'm always interested in hearing about natural remedies. I've never seen purple corn, even in Iowa, which is the corn capital of the US. I suppose all of the health benefits come from whatever makes the corn purple so using regular corn wouldn't be the same. I will have to look for a source for purple corn.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    anglnwu, it is a healthy drink and we drink it every chance we get. I'm glad you also appreciate all the health benefits it offers and hope you can try it someday! Thanks for your comment.

  • vespawoolf profile image
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    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Thanks AudreyHowitt!

  • anglnwu profile image

    anglnwu 4 years ago

    I'm in awe of this drink. I haven't heard of it but it looks quite easy to make. Since it's so healthy with anthocyanins and plenty of antioxidants, i would love to drink this on a regular basis. Great hub and rated up.

  • AudreyHowitt profile image

    Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

    Wow--this looks wonderful!!!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Alocsin, I'll be interested to hear what the cook says. All Peruvians grow up drinking chicha morada! I wonder if they import the purple corn to the U.S.? I hope you can try it! Besides all the health benefits it offers, chicha morada is refreshing and delicious. Thanks for the comment and vote!

  • alocsin profile image

    alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

    I often eat at Peruvian restaurants but have yet to encounter this drink. I'll bring this next time and see if the cook can make it up especially for me. Voting this Up and Useful.

  • vespawoolf profile image
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    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Au fait, we take the extract and also drink chicha morada whenever we can. It's delicious and nutritious! Thanks again for all your support.

  • Au fait profile image

    C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

    Another interesting hub! Hard to decide which is better; the drink or the extract made from the Peruvian purple corn? Voted up and interesting!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Peggy w, its amazing how popular this drink is in peru and neighboring countries. I am glad it is something new for you. Thanks!

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

    Well now this is certainly a drink that I have never previously heard of prior to reading this hub. It looks colorful and pretty. Nice learning about the health benefits and how to make it. Up, useful and interesting votes. Will share.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Lemonkerdz, thanks to you for the new format! I imagine you will be making your own chicha morada soon. : ) Enjoy and thank you for coming by.

  • lemonkerdz profile image

    lemonkerdz 4 years ago from TRUJILLO, PERU

    Nice one Vespawolf! loving the new format to your hub. As we live in Peru, and have not made our own chicha morada for years, we will be trying your recipe soon. Thanks for all the useful imfo.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Sylvia, I'm glad to meet someone who has tried chicha morada. Yes, it's very popular here and served most everywhere. Thanks for coming by!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Ericdierker, I hope you can find some purple corn. There aren't many things that are both delicious and good for us. : )

  • sylvia13 profile image

    Sylvia Gadea de Beer 4 years ago from Shoal Bay, NSW, Australia

    I am originally from Peru and as a kid I remember we were usually served chicha morada in the parties we went to! It is nice to prepare it with some pineapple too! Congratulations on your hub!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    OmParamapoonya, I hope you can find the purple corn in your local market. I love corn milk in any form, but the purple offers so many health benefits. Thank you for your meaningful comment!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Ologsinquito, interesting you should mention the ban on genetically modified foods. We were relieved to hear about it--most Peruvians definitely favor natural foods. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Moonlake, you can find the purple corn on Amazon or Ebay. I doubt you can find it locally unless a farmer happened to grow a crop. It's definitely worth trying if you can find it! Thanks for all your support.

  • Ericdierker profile image

    Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

    Great hub, I will look for the purple corn.

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image

    Om Paramapoonya 4 years ago

    I have tried simple corn milk and liked it a lot. This corn drink, though, sounds a lot more interesting than the corn milk I had. I'll give it a try for sure (whenever I can find purple corn at my local farmers market!). Thanks for this wonderful recipe.

  • ologsinquito profile image

    ologsinquito 4 years ago from USA

    Looks delicious. Peru recently passed a ban on genetically modified foods too.

  • moonlake profile image

    moonlake 4 years ago from America

    This looks really good. I don't know if we could find purple corn but will be keeping my eyes open for it. Thanks for sharing. I voted up and shared.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    RajanJolly, it took me a while to get these Hubs out this time. Yes, please link to your corn Hub and I will link back. Thank you for all your support: the votes, pins and comment.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Mhatter99, purple corn has just recently become known in other parts of the world which is interesting since it dates back before the time of the Incas! Thanks for coming by.

  • rajan jolly profile image

    Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

    This is something I was waiting for and thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe. I'll be linking my corn hub to this hub with your permission. Thanks for sharing.

    Voted up, useful and interesting and pinned as well.

  • Mhatter99 profile image

    Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

    First I've heard of this. Thank you for the info.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Beingwell, it's is a delicious and healthy drink. Enjoy and thanks for your comment!

  • beingwell profile image

    beingwell 4 years ago from Bangkok

    Wow! The drink looks gorgeous! I wanna' make one at home. Seems super easy! Thanks vespa. Shared!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Suzie HQ, I never heard of purple chicha before coming to Peru, but it's as common here as Coca-Cola. I'm glad we have a healthier alternative to soft drinks and we often make it at home, as well. I hope you can try it someday--at least when you come to Peru! Thanks for the votes, share and tweet.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    JackieLynnley, the best thing about purple corn is that there are no side effects, so there's nothing to lose! And we've found it powerful in lowering blood pressure. I hope you have a positive experience with it as well. Thank you for coming by.

  • Suzie HQ profile image

    Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

    Hi Vespa,

    Wow, what an unusual drink! purple corn I have never seen before! This was really interesting and a recipe I would love to try. I love pineapple and limes so it sure sounds like a drink I would love! Thanks for sharing another unusual dish from Peru, voted up, useful, interesting, shared, tweets pinning.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

    Wow I have got to try this. I use the corn silk tea now and know that is good but this sounds equally as good for a different but just as important reason. I can't imagine who wouldn't want to try it. Thanks for such an important and informative hub. Up and sharing.

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