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Making mazamorra morada! (Peruvian purple corn pudding)

I’m in Lima, Peru, visiting family and getting an education on Peruvian culture! And I’m working on a blog post about a big cultural difference I’ve noticed in my Latin American travels. But first things first: I just learned how to prepare mazamorra morada, a pudding dessert made from purple corn.

purple corn

Here’s the supermarket display where we got the corn. Maiz is “corn” and morado is “purple.”

I’m from Ohio. Ohio is corn country, and Ohioans think we know corn – driving past cornfields, buying it fresh from roadside stands, etc etc. But I’ve never seen the variety of corn I see in Peru – or the variety of preparations! This is one example – where corn is boiled for the color and flavor it gives to the water it’s boiled in.

First, we removed most of the purple corn kernels from the cob. (My participation was pretty limited, so whenever I say “we,” it probably means somebody else did it while I watched.) We boiled the kernels and cobs together in a big pot, then set it aside for a bit.

Purple corn

Boiling the kernels and corncobs gives the pudding its distinctive color and flavor.

After the water had turned a dark reddish purple, we removed the corn. Then we actually boiled the corn again in another pot to make a second batch of the purple corn water. This was for chicha morada, a kind of punch. (I’ve also seen chicha-flavored ice cream, hard candy, and slushies. It’s a popular flavor here.)

Next, we added sugar and a bunch of fruit to the pot. The fruit you use is a matter of taste; we went with pineapple, dried peaches, prunes, and raisins. We heated it all and kept it cooking on the stove until the dried fruits were stewed soft. Incidentally, all the fruit turned purple, no matter what color it started as.

Fruit in a pot of purple pudding

Hard to tell what kind of fruit you’re looking at – it’s all purple!

Potato starch is used to thicken the pudding. We mixed a bunch of starch with some of the purple corn water, then poured it all into the main pot. It looked a little thick (to someone who knew how it was supposed to look, i.e. not me), but luckily we had the other batch of water in reserve to make chicha. So we added some of that to thin the pudding a bit.

I was then invited to taste test. Two thumbs up! I’ve never had it served warm before, and I liked it that way. I know some people prefer it cold.

This was only my second time tasting mazamorra morada made from scratch. So when it comes to a taste test, I’m not exactly an expert… but it was really nice of them to pretend otherwise, no?

Bowl of pudding

Here’s the sample I was invited to taste-test. Prettiest pudding ever.

If you want to make this dessert outside of Peru, there are box mixes for the purple corn base. I’ve seen them at groceries with specialty Latin American items.

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