Api Morado - Purple Corn Drink

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Api morado (purple api) is made from purple corn. Similar to api blanco, it is served at breakfast time. It’s thick and hearty and can be served hot or cold. Customarily we accompany any type of api with an empanada or other pastry. Read my recipe for api blanco too. It’s just as delicious, although I prefer the deep sort of “grape-y” flavor of purple api. Api morado is prepared in a completely different way as you’ll see when you compare both recipes. See my recipe for chicha morada also made from purple corn!

Bolivian food recipes drinks beverages api morado

Ingredients (Serves 8)

2 cups ground purple corn (also called purple corn flour as seen in this photo)
15 cups of water
1/4 pineapple, chopped (don't drain)
2 sticks of cinnamon
2 whole cloves
Rind from one orange, finely grated
Sugar to taste


Purple corn is usually sold dried on the cob but you can also buy it in kernels or as purple corn flour (pictured above). You need ground purple corn or purple corn flour for this recipe. I’ll show you where to get it below. If you use whole purple corn (it is usually sold dried on the cob), cut or break off the kernels and grind them or blend them in a blender or food processor with or without a little water (depending on your food processor). In Bolivia women used to use a mortar and pestle but this takes a long time. If you find purple corn flour, super! You just eliminated this step. (I’ll tell you where you can buy purple corn below).

Soak the ground purple corn or corn flour in 6 cups of water for two hours. Boil the remaining 9 cups of water with the cinnamon and cloves while you do this so the water will take on the flavor of the spices.

If you used corn flour, add the six cups of soaked corn flour to the nine cups of boiled cinnamon water.

If you used ground purple corn, strain the corn from the water, reserving the water and not the corn. Add this purple water and the grated orange rind to the boiled cinnamon water.

Cook together, stirring constantly until just a little thick. Add the sugar and chopped pineapple and serve. You can also refrigerate and serve it cold. Either way, it’s thick, hearty, healthy and delicious! It’s like drinking a little Andean history.

Where to Buy Purple Corn for Api Morado

(Morado means purple in Spanish.) La Tienda is an online Spanish and Latin American food store where you can buy purple corn really fast! They're located in Williamsburg, Virginia but they ship all over the world! They also have warehouses in Spain. Their website initially contained only food from Spain (a country they love!) but they've added a new section to their site called "New World Flavors" where they are now featuring all kinds of cool foods and ingredients from South America too (and they told me they're planning to add more very soon)! To purchase purple corn, click on this image and it'll take you to their site to make your purchase. The price includes about 4 ears of purple corn.

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