Chicha morada is a beverage originated in the Andean regions of Perú but is currently consumed at a national level.
The base ingredient of the drink is cornculli or ckolli, which is a Peruvian variety of corn known commonly as purple corn which is abundantly grown and harvested along the Andes Mountains.
Its history and consumption was already widespread in pre-Columbian times, prior to the establishment of the Inca Empire. The current preparation can be traced through different works of the nineteenth century as those of Juan de Arona, and Carlos Prince. The oldest references to its preparation as we know it today come from the writings produced in the mid-1870s by the French Camille Pradier-Fodéré.
Nowadays, chicha morada is consumed in three ways: A traditional homemade preparation, a pre-manufactured product or a manufactured product.
Traditional preparation consists of boiling the purple corn in water along with pineapple peels and pieces of quince, adding a pinch of cinnamon and a few cloves. The boiled mixture is strained and allowed to cool, after which sugar or chancaca is added, as well as chopped fruit and lemon if desired.
The pre-manufactured product is sold in two ways:
As packets of dry powder manufactured with a basis of sugar, acidifiers and artificial flavors to which the preparer should only add water. Although consumption is massive because of the advantages of low cost and sweet taste, such products do not achieve the characteristic flavor of a chicha prepared in a traditional way, nor do they contain the antioxidants derived from purple corn.
As bags of purple chicha concentrate (syrup) intended for large-scale distribution. This version contains all the extract of the fruits, retaining flavor and aroma. The preparer should only add water and lemon juice.
A notable Peruvian delicacy can be derived from chicha morada by adding a binder such as chuño or corn starch to the traditional preparation. This porridge-like substance is what Peruvians call "mazamorra morada", to which is added dried or fresh fruits such as prunes and raisins. Its consumption is very widespread in Peru in celebrations together with chicha morada, but it increases during October.
Chicha morada is the representative drink of Peruvian cuisine, because it is refreshing and versatile for pairing. It combines in any occasion of consumption, either individually or as a group and is consumed by young people and adults. In October, the Peruvian 'purple month' (known as the month in which the procession of the Lord of Miracles takes place in Lima and the parishioners wear purple habits), chicha morada combines a lot with the famous anticuchos, picarones, turrón de Doña Pepa, mazamorra morada, among other dishes representative of Peruvian cuisine.