Chicha de Mani - Peanut Juice


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Chicha de mani is literally peanut juice. But it's only called peanut juice because peanuts are one of the main ingredients and give it the most flavor. It also contains other nuts and grains! Most chichas (because there are several) are made with seeds or grains like chicha morada.

Some chichas are served hot and others cold. Usually, a hot chicha will contain alcohol of some sort.

Most foreigners are really surprised by the ingredients used in juices, chichas and other drinks and beverages throughout Bolivia. Corn and plantains are also not unusual ingredients.

Chicha de Maní

Ingredients

1/2 kilo of peeled and toasted peanuts (not salted)
1/2 cup of peeled almonds (Brazil nuts, not almonds)*
1/2 cup of shaved coconut (grated, flaked, shredded)
1 kilo whole quinoa (washed very well)
1 cup white rice (washed very well)
2 cups of turbinado sugar
7 1/2 cups of water

*In Bolivia people use the word "almendra" (literally almond) to refer to Brazil nuts. We usually call Brazil nuts "castaña" but some people loosely call them "almendras" so it gets very confusing - this recipe actually contains Brazil nuts, not almonds.

Instructions

If you have raw peanuts, you must toast them in a frypan before making this recipe.

In a blender or food processor, grind the toasted peanuts, almonds, shaved coconut, and rice until you have a very fine paste, sort of like peanut butter or toothpaste. If it is too dry, sprinkle a bit of water onto it to make it easier to grind.

Place 1/2 cup of the water and the sugar into a large pot and boil until you have a thick syrup.

To the syrup add the ground paste and boil on low heat for about an hour and a half, stirring frequently. Do not allow it to dry. Sprinkle water onto it if needed, but don't add massive amounts of water. After you've cooked it for this entire amount of time take it off the heat, cool it down, cover it and place in the refrigerator until you're ready to make your juice (see why below).

While the syrup and paste are cooking, in a separate pot place the washed quinoa and 7 cups of water and boil strongly for one hour until the quinoa splits open. Leave the quinoa (or remove it and place it into a clay pot) and allow it to ferment for two or three days covered.

When the quinoa has fermented, strain it into a large bowl or pot (reserving the water). Dissolve the peanut paste in about 1 cup of water just to make it easy to dissolve, then add it to the fermented quinoa WATER.

Add more sugar to taste (only if necessary) and stir. Serve cold with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon on top.

Important note: you cannot reserve this chicha. You should only make the amount you plan to drink in a day because it becomes mucous-like and phlemgy if you save it (even in the fridge) and takes on a weird odor and flavor.

Drinking something with fermented quinoa water may sound AWFUL, but I encourage you to try this - you will be VERY surprised at how tasty it is! It is also highly nutritious!



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