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.
In Western and Central Bolivia (because this is traditionally an Andean drink) they serve it at the bus stations very early in the mornings so that when travelers arrive in La Paz or Cochabamba trembling with cold, a nice hot api with buñuelos (a soft pastry made from deep fried dough) is absolutely the most delicious breakfast.
Api blanco has a smooth, creamy semolina quality (similar to grits or cream of wheat in the US) although it is not as thick. It is a creamy, milky liquid. 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
(purple api) or
(both made from purple corn!)
Ingredients (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
2 whole cloves
Black or golden raisins (enough to sprinkle on top)
* 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. If you are using canned hominy, you can skip this step because it has already been canned in liquid.
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, cloves 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 will drink, 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 because it gives it a milder sweet flavor.