Peruvian superfood “paletas”: Chicha morada (RECIPE)


Purple Corn is just one of the 3,000 corn varieties native to Peru and is a staple of the native diet. As its name implies, the corn is purple in color- a deep vibrant hue derived from its nutrient-dense pigmentation. Purple corn is rich in anthocyanins, which have great potential in reducing the risk of heart disease and help increase visual acuity and improve night vision.

Chicha Morada

For centuries, Peruvians have soaked purple corn to make a brightly colored, sweet drink called Chicha Morada – a very popular beverage amongst Peruvian children given Chicha Morada is a cheaper and healthier alternative to soda.


1 lb dried purple corn kernels

12 cups of water

3 cinnamon sticks

1 tablespoon of whole cloves

1 whole pineapple, diced (peel reserved)

1/2 cup white sugar (you can add another ½ cup if preferred)

1/2 cup lime juice

1 green apple, peeled and diced


In a large pot, add the purple corn, water, cinnamon sticks, cloves and half of the pineapple peels. Heat over high heat and once the mixture reaches a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes.

Remove the liquid from the heat and pour in the sugar and fresh lime juice.
Place a strainer atop a large bowl and pour mixture through it, catching the large corn ears, pulp and pineapple peel. Refrigerate for about 3 hours or until cold. To serve, add ice, and a small handful of diced pineapple and apple to each glass.

Serves 12

Chicha Morada Paleta

With its hints of cinnamon and sweet scent of cloves, frozen Chicha Morada is the perfect blend and texture for _paletas_.


Chicha Morada drink (see chicha recipe above)


Use Chicha Morada drink to fill in your Popsicle molds ¾ of the way.
If you’re using molds with attached sticks, place and secure the stick tops in the molds. If you’re using freestanding sticks, freeze the ice pops for 30 minutes until slightly firm, then place the sticks in the center of each mold and finish freezing until they’re solid throughout.

To unmold the frozen ice pops, run them under warm water to loosen them from their molds.

Serving varies.

_Manuel Villacorta is a registered dietitian in private practice, MV Nutrition, award winning nutrition and weight loss center in San Francisco. He is the founder and creator of Eating Free, an international weight management and wellness program and author of three books,_ Eating Free: The Carb Friendly Way to Lose Inches, “Peruvian Power Foods: 18 Superfoods, 101 Recipes, and Anti-Aging Secrets from the Amazon to the Andes”:, _and his newest book_, “Whole Body Reboot: The Peruvian Superfoods Diet to Detoxify, Energize, and Supercharge Fat Loss”:



Manuel Villacorta