Morocho, the corn pudding you drink in Ecuador

Morocho corn pudding drink of Loja by Nathaly Poma photographer
Morocho, Photo by Nathaly Poma
Morocho - the thick, sweet corn pudding served warm in a cup - is considered a comfort food in Loja. The moment you take your first sip or spoonful it will likely become one of your favorites, too.

Corn has a long history in the Americas, with some estimates dating its cultivation back almost 10,000 years in Mexico. Over that long span of time many varieties of corn were bred for different characteristics. The white corn used for morocho is classified as "hard" and therefore it is cracked (physically broken) before cooking. This particular corn can be used for a number of dishes, including chicha, empanadas, morocho de sal, and morocho de dulce or morocho de leche - two names for the drink we're focusing on in this blog post.

To make this basic "liquid" pudding one begins by soaking dried hominy corn in water for 8 to 12 hours. Then add milk and cinnamon sticks, cooking on low heat for up to 4 hours. At this point panela (brown sugar) is added and the mixture is simmered for another 30 to 40 minutes until it thickens. Be sure to stir to prevent scorching on the bottom! Serve it up hot or cold by adding a sprinkle of cinnamon and a few raisons as garnish.

The basic recipe can be enhanced in several ways. When cooking the corn and milk together with the cinnamon one can add other flavorings, such as anise stars, vanilla extract, orange and/or lemon rind, or cloves.


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