Chicha de Maíz

Fermented Corn Drink

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • 12

    servings, 8 ounces each

Appears in

Secrets of Colombian Cooking

Secrets of Colombian Cooking

By Patricia McCausland-Gallo

Published 2004

  • About

Be careful—this is tasty but wild. Chicha is actually a drink that ferments into an alcoholic beverage, which is what actually conserves it. It can become stronger but the taste then is not so sweet. There is always about half a cup that is kept to ferment the next chicha, and in that case the pineapple is not needed. Maiz peto is what we call the corn that is dried and sold in bags at the market.


  • cups (1 pound) white or yellow dry processed corn kernels* (maiz peto)
  • Skin of one pineapple
  • ½ pound panela*


Day 1

  1. Wash the dry corn kernels with plenty of water. Soak for 24 hours in a bowl with enough water to cover. This will rehydrate the corn a little.

Day 2

  1. Drain the corn and discard the soaking water. Place the corn in a medium pot or pressure cooker, and add 6 cups of water and the skin of a whole pineapple. (The pineapple will act as a starter, if you have old chicha you can disregard the pineapple and add 1 cup of fermented chicha.) If using a regular pot, cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 2½ hours; keep adding water, 1 cup at a time, if it dries out. If using a pressure cooker, cover and cook under pressure on medium heat for about 1 hour. The corn should be very soft; if not, return the pot to the stove and cook 20 minutes more.
  2. Uncover, and let cool, you will have about 8 cups of corn. Take half of the corn and in a blender or food processor, process for 30 seconds.
  3. Place both corns, processed and whole, together with the pineapple skin in a very large nonreactive stockpot. Add 5 gallons of water and the panela. (If you have a large clay pot, this is the ideal container to keep the chicha in while it ferments.)

Day 3

  1. Let rest for the next 2 to 3 days at room temperature; if you live in a very hot climate leave out overnight and then refrigerate for 2 days.

Day 5

  1. Pass through a fine sieve and serve.