Colada morada is a traditional Ecuadorian beverage prepared with black corn flour and fruits such as naranjilla, babaco, pineapple, blackberries, strawberries, and Andean blueberries (which give it its color).
The drink is sweetened with cane sugar, known as panela, and prepared with spices such as cinnamon, allspice, cloves and herbs such as lemongrass and lemon verbena.
Colada morada is prepared for the Day of the Deceased celebrations in Ecuador.
|Typical Day of the Deceased wreath that is left on the grave.|
Ecuadorians celebrate el Dia de los Difuntos or Day of the Deceased on November 2nd.
The celebration is both similar and also different than the better known Mexican Day of the Dead (November 1).
As with most Latin holidays and events, there is always a food aspect to any special day, in this case it is a thick purple drink called colada morada.
The drink is traditionally consumed with a type of bread called tanta wawa which are bread figures shaped like babies and often decorated with colorful icing and filled with fruit jam (strawberry or guava).
In indigenous Andean communities, especially in rural areas, it is consumed and offered in the cemetery next to the tomb of deceased relatives as part of the rite of reunion with ancestors.
In the olden times, the indigenous people used to make wawas from an inedible type of dough.
These were meant to be used as offerings for the graves.
These tombs or gravesites are also known as wakas, and are sometimes raided by those looking for gold or treasure.
Stealing from a waka is supposed to bring very bad luck, and there are countless stories of misfortune that has fallen upon those who have tried to take treasures from the wakas.
So I recommend staying away from them.
Colada morada is a gastronomic tradition that endures in Ecuador and is not limited to be consumed in commemoration of the dead.
Its preparation is also ritual that maintains the recipe accurate throughout the years.
The traditional preparation of colada morada uses local fruits, spices and herbs; some of which are very difficult to find outside of Ecuador.
This recipe is adapted based on the ingredients that can be found in the US (or Europe).
Just in case you are in Ecuador, some of the additional ingredients that have been left out include a delicious fruit called babaco, spices called ishpingo and arrayan.
Some variations also add passion fruit and other fruits, just as most other typical Ecuadorian dishes, the recipe will vary from one family to another – with each one claiming that theirs is the best version.
The beverage is usually served warm, though it is also just as a good served cold.
Similar to any concoction – be it drink, soup, stew – that is made with a variety of fruits and spices, it tastes better when it’s a day old than when it’s freshly made.
Colada morada always tastes better if made with fresh fruit, however frozen berries work perfectly fine.
purple or black corn flour
pineapple, peels and core + 2 cups finely diced
panela or brown sugar
lemon verbena leaves, fresh or dry
lemongrass leaves, fresh or dry
8 + 4
large babaco if you can find it)
Place the pineapple skins and core, cinnamon, spices and panela or brown sugar in a large pot with 8 cups of water.
Boil for about 20-25 minutes.
Add the lemon verbena, lemongrass, and orange peel.
Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove and strain. You will only use the liquid.
In a separate pot, add 4 cups of water with the blueberries and blackberries, boil for about 20 minutes.
Remove them from heat, let cool down until safe to handle, then blend and strain.
Mix the cup of the purple corn flour with 1 cup of the spice and pineapple liquid stirring it until it is well diluted.
Add the strained berry mix, the naranjilla juice, the spiced pineapple liquid and the diluted purple flour mix to a large pot.
Cook over medium heat, stir constantly to keep it from sticking, bring to a boil.
Add the pineapple (and babaco) chunks and reduce to simmer for about 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat, add the strawberry slices. Serve warm or cold.