Api Blanco - White Corn Drink

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Api blanco (white api) is a drink made from kernels of really large white (morocho) corn that can be served warm or cold and is traditionally accompanied by pastries.

Bolivian food recipes drinks beverages api blanco

I have great memories of api – in Western and Central Bolivia (because this is traditionally an Andean drink) they serve it at the bus stations really early in the morning so when travelers arrive in La Paz or Cochabamba super early in the morning when it’s really really cold out, a nice hot api with buñuelos (another pastry with a doughnutty-like dough) is absolutely the most delicious breakfast. It’s extra nice if you just came in from the hot tropics of Santa Cruz to the freezing Andes region. Helps you get over the shocking difference in climate (and altitude). It leaves you feeling all warm and newly fortified.

Api blanco has a smooth semolina (known as grits or cream of wheat in the US) quality to it and is rather thick, but when you make this recipe, make sure it’s not too thick. It should be more liquid than creamy. It is traditionally served at breakfast time in Bolivia.

Morocho corn was one of the first types of wild corn to be domesticated and cultivated by the indigenous peoples of Peru and Bolivia thousands of years ago. Its cobs sometimes have reddish or light brownish kernels too. You don’t specifically need morocho corn to make api blanco.

Check out my recipe for api morado (purple api) or chicha morada (both made from purple corn!)

Ingredientes (Serves 8)

1/2 pound of morocho corn* (substitute with canned hominy or any dried white corn kernel as long as it has not been toasted)

3 liters (3 quarts minus about 1 cup) of milk

1/2 pound of sugar**

1 stick of cinnamon


* If you do find dried white corn at the store, you must soak the corn the night before you plan to make this recipe. Place it in a deep bowl or pot and cover it completely with water. Leave it soaking all night so the corn will soften.

The next day, strain the water from the corn and place THE kernels into a deep pot. With a potato masher or other heavy kitchen utensil, smash the kernels a little until they break open. This is important because the starch from the corn will help thicken the api blanco. Or just used canned hominy and do the same.

Add the milk and cinnamon stick and boil until the corn is completely soft. If it becomes too thick, add a little milk. It should be a nice thick drink, but not so thick you need to eat it with a spoon.

Add the sugar and stir, then turn off your stove and allow the drink to thicken for about 5 minutes.

Strain the liquid from the corn. It is the LIQUID you want to keep, not the corn.

Serve hot or cold in a cup. Top with a few black or golden raisins and a little extra dash of cinnamon. .

** Sweeten to taste (Bolivians like their beverages very very sweet and this recipe reflects that). I like to use dark BROWN sugar instead of white sugar. It gives it a really nice flavor.

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