Being partly south american I thought I knew a lot about corn. That there were tons of ways of eating it, that there were many types of corn, not just the big yellow ones we buy at the supermarket. but what I didn’t know was that you can also drink it. All that changed when I arrived in China and was treated to a glass of corn juice on my birthday.
I said “treated” but really that might have been the intention of the gifter (a very nice music teacher at my school whose office was right in front of mine) but once the first sip touched my taste buds it was pure sacrifice (and lots of years of etiquette at work) to keep a straight face on my side. I’m not exaggerating when I say that was probably the worst non-alcoholic drink I’ve ever tasted. Erase that. It was the worst thing I’ve ever drank. I made it through that dinner taking tiny sips from my glass, pretending to like it while simultaneously explaining I’d never heard of corn juice before…
Here’s a picture of the infamous drink:
On that occasion in China I had bottled corn juice, a few months later I had the chance to actually see them prepare a fresh glass for someone else at a roadside stall. What they did was just chop the kernels of the cob and place them in a blender with some water. No Sugar. No pre boiling the corn. Nothing. Just that, fresh corn kernels plus water in a blender. The customer however received the glass with a very happy face. I, on the other hand, was horrified and had to keep telling myself that tastes differ and everyone is allowed their own. While at the same time thinking that blending corn was the first stop to making “humitas” one of my favourite chilean foods and definitely not a drink!
I’m usually pretty open to trying out new foods and giving them a second chance but the Chinese corn juice is something I don’t ever want to taste again. So, when I arrived in Lima-Peru and was offered “chicha morada” along with an explanation that its purple corn juice I was pretty sure I wouldn’t like it. But as always I decided to at least try it. And OMG am I glad I did!! it was fantastic! I ended up drinking nothing else but Chicha Morada the entire time I was in Lima.
To say they are both corn juice is like saying cheese and butter are the same because they are both produced from milk.
For starters Chicha Morada is made from a purple corn (yes, naturally purple corn) that only grows in the Andes. Not the yellow variety we usually eat. This purple corn is so hard and dry that its actually imposible to eat. Because perfectly good nutritious food shouldn’t be wasted what the Inca’s did was boil this inedible corn and then take the water it was bolied in (now a very dark purple water aka enriched with purple corn nutirents and flavour) let it cool, add some lemon and pineapple juice and then drink it. This my friends is the recipe for Chicha Morada. One of the most refreshing and tasty drinks I’ve ever had.
Nowadays Chicha morada can be store bought bottled but must be drank the same day kind of like buying fresh milk. Or, what most people in lima prefer to do, just prepare big pots of it at home.
Chicha Morada can be found in nearly all restaurants in Peru and if you ever go to Peru you should absolutely try it.
So as a conclusion DON’T drink the Chinese Corn Juice (unless you are Chinese and grew up drinking it which would mean you like it).
but DO drink Chicha Morada.
Have you had Cornjuice before? if yes, how did you like it? Have you come across any other different/unusual use for something you thought you knew all about?
Do: Peruvian Chicha Morada.