For the Amazonian cultures, chicha is not only an alcoholic beverage, it is also a highly nutritious food.
It is consumed in times of food shortage, and it is a typical drink that is used to welcome special guests.
In the Andean region chicha is originally made from maize but in the amazon more commonly from yucca root or chonta fruit.
In the traditional production of chicha de maiz, or maize chicha, the enzymes that are needed to hydrolyse the starches in raw materials are derived from human saliva.
|Chonta mash guarded at room temperature in the Amazon.|
Older women masticate a coarsely ground meal, incorporating the amylases of their saliva.
The masticated meal has a dough-like consistency and can be formed to small cakes which are then dried and stored.
When chicha is produced these cakes or the dough is mixed in the water.
The human amylases complete their conversion of starch into fermentable sugars, and yeast and lactic acid fermentation is started by addition of a batch of a prior fermentation.
|Adding riverwater to the chonta mash.|
Depending on the temperature the fermentation is complete and it can take from 6 to 10 days.
In the Amazon area only women can touch the chicha and everyone produces their own typical chicha.
Very common type of Amazonic chicha is chicha de chonta.
Chonta is a palm that is originated from Amazon area of Ecuador and Peru.
The palm is covered with dark spines and its round fruits are yellow to red and they closely resemble peaches.
|Mixing the chicha with hand, this is non-fermented chicha that is served instantly.|
Chicha de chonta is a “fruit” beer, as the fruits since starch and fat rich fruits are used for brewing.
The fruits are cooked, peeled, chewed and mixed with water.
The mash is then left for spontaneous fermentation that can take from 3 to 4 days.
Chicha is also made from yucca root here in the Amazon.
Both yucca and chonta chicha are considered great delicacies and are always given to visitors as the first meal offered.
|Expriming the water from mashed chicha.|
If you do not accept the chicha and drink the whole pilche, or cup, you will not ever be offered anything in that house.
Both chonta and yucca are gluten-free and rich in nutrients.
They are an excelent, and healthy, option for traditional beers or alcoholic beveraged that contain gluten.
The family in the pictures is my friend, or adopted daughter Celia with her husband.
|My friend, and adopted daughter, Celia with pilche of chicha.|
The older kichwa lady is Celia's husbands aunt and my "cousin".
The family wanted to offer me the best they had and show around their house, a traditional wooden kichwa house in the Amazon.
It would have been an incredible insult not to drink chicha and not to drink the whole "pilche" or the tin cup that the lady used while making chicha.
Besides of a kichwa daughter, a lot of cousins, aunts and uncles, I also have four grandchildren now.
For vanity's sake I have to add that my daughter is only five years younger than I am.
Wow what an interesting way to make it. Great pictures.ReplyDelete
I have never heard of it, but now I am curious to taste it to see what it tastes like. Thanks for sharing this - I learned something new today!ReplyDelete
I love to hear about new foods, and this beer seems cool. The mash is strange looking!ReplyDelete
Interesting cultural tradition... I have never heard this...ReplyDelete
That is so interesting. Love finding new things and foods.ReplyDelete
Awww your "daughter" is beautiful! That is funny that she is only four years younger. I love to hear about new foods too!ReplyDelete
It is a Kichwa tradition, Krystal. My first daughter here is actually ten years older than I am, lol. But it's an honorary title. It is sort of like mentor, it means that you are an honored person that has taught them a lot and that they love and feel that loves and cares for them, a mother in other words.Delete
I wish that people is the US cared more about insulting people. It seems to be more self-centered to not be afraid insult the host/hostess. Would like to try the chichaReplyDelete
I love all of the pictures you included with this post. The chicha de conta sounds so interesting and I love trying a new food from a different culture!ReplyDelete
I am reading this right, they use their spit as an ingredient? Interesting!ReplyDelete
Yes, it starts the fermenting process. Very important in a hot climat.Delete
That is kinda of gross and kind of cool at the same time! LOL. Spit for an ingredient... What a recipe.Delete
This is a very interesting beverage and food. But, wow, saliva as an ingredient sure seems interesting to me!ReplyDelete
You got me until the saliva part. But very interesting to learn about other cultures and how they prepare beer.ReplyDelete
That's pretty fascinating! It's quite a process to make it, and so interesting that you must drink the whole thing not to offend.ReplyDelete
I thought is fascinating, never heard of it before until now. Amazon is a place I always wanted to go but never made it, yet. Thanks for sharingReplyDelete
In loving light
I hope you will be able to visit the Amazon one day, Cindy. This is an amazing place and I'm just scratching the surface here.Delete
Wow I've never heard of this before! Really interesting cultural tradition!ReplyDelete
You lost me at saliva but this is fascinating!ReplyDelete
It is eye opening to see how others live in other cultures. I had never heard of this type of food/drink.ReplyDelete
I have never heard of this, and it's a fascinating way of making something others will drink. I am not sure if I'd try it...ReplyDelete
I've never heard of Chicha de Chonta before. It is interesting how it is made. I'd love to try it sometime.ReplyDelete
It's always so interesting to learn about other cultures! What a process to make this!ReplyDelete
I never heard of this mixture. What a treat for you to try!ReplyDelete
Yikes! I'm not sure if I could handle pre-chewed food!ReplyDelete
Wow - that looks a little scary, but interesting! I'd try anything once! Beautiful pictures and stories.ReplyDelete
So I gather it is a staple. Does it taste like beer? Curious, as I don't like beer.ReplyDelete
That's interesting! I'm guessing since drinking it is important noone minds that spit was required to make it?ReplyDelete
Beautiful story with interesting history! I've never heard of this, but I think it would be something I would try.ReplyDelete
Great photos!! I'm not sure I would try it - well if they made it for me I would try a little bit, but not sure if it is something I would request! :)ReplyDelete
Wow! Looks like quite the process. I love seeing what other cultures do everyday for things we just buy at the store.ReplyDelete
What a beatifiul story. I love seeing how different cultures live their day to day lives.ReplyDelete
I've never heard of this before! What a cool way to make a beer. My sister likes to make her own wine, so I'll have to show this to her.ReplyDelete
WOW! Thank you for sharing! Very interesting cultural knowledge there-funny that my husband would joke the same thing if someone refused what he offered them in our house!ReplyDelete
That is what I love about small village living. You make your own foods from scratch. Those are some of the things I remember growing up in JamaicaReplyDelete
Made with love. Just like how all great food should be made.Thank you for sharing!ReplyDelete
I would love to try this. I wonder if my dh could drink it since he's not allowed much alcohol because of medications. Hmm.ReplyDelete
It's so nice that we get to see these things that you show us that we probably wouldn't without your blog. I think it's fun.ReplyDelete
I think I've seen this on a documentary once. I have never tried palm beer, but I am adventurous enough to give it a go.ReplyDelete
Thank you for this interesting lesson about this tradition and custom. The hubby does the beer thing and I'll have to tell him about this.ReplyDelete
I enjoyed reading this post and learning more about a culture and people I am not familiar with, it was quite interesting indeed.ReplyDelete
It's so cool to read about etiquette in other countries. It's hard to imagine having to eat something or insulting someone. This was fascinating to read, thanks for sharing!ReplyDelete
I love reading your posts. Learning so much about the culture, people and foods :)ReplyDelete
Wow, super interesting! I always wonder who was the first person to figure out how to creatively use ingredients and items found in nature.ReplyDelete
Wow, this is a VERY interesting food...got to love learning about new cultures!ReplyDelete