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The mysterious relationship between “Chicha de Maiz” and Latin Americans edit

It is called "Chicha de Maiz" (a kind of corn beverage, made with corn sprouts. It is delicious fresh, or add  extra kick by fermenting it a few days).

Dsc03003_1 The mysteriously idyllic, almost lost relationship between "Chicha de Maiz" and Latin Americans has been one of my ongoing quests, no expiration date for this one. I am just really intrigued by the different ways it's prepared in the different Latin American countries. It always puzzles me the fact that people do not prepare it any longer, as they used to do in the long gone days. Would this be an obsession? Maybe.

As human beings we sometimes tend to get on our horses and ride our dreams, likes and dislikes to the maximum, and then...drop them! They are gone for good sometimes. Because of my relationship with food, I have been obsessed with certain dishes, styles and even some "ingredients," many many times.

To give you an example, I confess that long time ago when I was living in México, I prepared and ate a different kind of delicious pancake every morning for 3-4 continuous months...I am not sure why, but I did. One day I quit, and until nowadays I have not managed to cook or eat the evil thing.

Back to the "chicha," I would never get tired of experimenting here and there, just trying to keep the tradition alive. Would you join me?

Dsc02969_1 To keep the gods happy, our brewing sessions were conducted strictly by the women of the kitchen team, at my house.  The men simply looked after the fridge and took care of any "food they could munch on" while we were busy at chicha making. That is a no-no, but you know how men are sometimes when they want to bug out.

From ancient times, in Andean society and other Latin American indigenous groups, participation by men in the brewing process of the chicha is considered bad luck. I totally relate to this thought. They also thought is was pure stupidity, since men are considered to lack the basic skills required to brew good corn wine/beer.

Now the step by step recipe with photos:

2_17 First: Find some good dry corn, the kind that has the "germ." Place it in a container with some water and cover it with plastic wrap. Open a few holes on the plastic so it can breathe and germination begins. Check it out every day, shake the container a little bit and add more water if it seems too dry. After 2-3 days it should have sprouted.

Second: Grind the corn sprouts and place in a deep pan with water to cover. Simmer for 3-4 hours. Then, ferociously press the mixture through a sieve. Then put the liquid back on a deep pan, add molasses to taste, thin with water if it seems too thick and simmer for 1 more hour.

Third: Let the mixture cool to room temperature and then bottle it and serve cold.

3_14 Fourth: IF, and only if, you want to feel the tropical beat, heat up your ears a little notch, THEN, leave the concoction out, covered, at room temperature to ferment a couple of days. If you choose to ferment it, please take note of the very important issue we address next.

Disclaimer: do not attempt to juggle knives, ride a bicycle, or do anything important after imbibition of this beverage. It is for nutritional use only. The management is not responsible for your obscene and irrational behavior.

Un abrazo!

Melissa

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  • by Chef Melissa
  • September 12, 2007
  • 3:58 pm

Comments

Picture of Pico .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said on...
02.11.08 at 04:16 PM |

Hello Melissa,

I remember the first time I mentioned the word ‘chicha’ in NYC. I was trying to explain how good and satisfying it is, until I learned that it is a bad word for Puerto Ricans. You should have seen the looks I got.

As per your comment about men lacking skills for brewing, keep in mind that in Belgium beer has been produced by monks for centuries. And I can tell you that their beers are extremely good.

Cheers
——-

Picture of melissa melissa said on...
02.12.08 at 08:25 AM |

Hola Pico, thank you about your comment! You are right about the beer—-Yum! Have a tasty week…
Melissa

Picture of ramsaa .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said on...
02.22.11 at 06:52 PM |

Hi, I only have one cuestion… What is necessary for the fermentation? I want to feel the tropical beat :D

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