Peruvian Corn 101: Different Types & Dishes

There’s just something about corn that people all over the world love. The reality, though, is that corn isn’t just something that many people like — it’s something they need. After all, research shows that corn remains the most essential grain across the globe.

Peru, whose food is becoming increasingly popular in the United States, is especially famous for its corn. In fact, the South American country boasts a whopping 55 corn varieties.

Here’s a rundown on some of the different types of Peruvian corn worth trying this summer, and where they got their start.

Let’s get started!

The Appeal of Peruvian Corn

Peruvian corn has a long history, as it has been grown since 1200 BC at least.

Ancient farmers in Peru stand out today for their sophisticated approach to selecting and creating brand-new varieties in their day. These varieties were able to adapt to various climates and terrains, thus leading to the many Peruvian corn varieties enjoyed today.

In fact, a Spanish writer named Bernabé Cobo mentioned how ancient Peru had corn in a multitude of colors, ranging from red to black, purple, yellow, white, and even mixed.

Thanks to the efforts of ancient farmers, Peru continues to boast the largest number of corn varieties found anywhere on planet Earth.

Let’s take a peek at three of the most common ones.

Chullpi Peruvian Corn

It is thought that this corn variety originated in the southern and central part of the Andes and was later taken to Peru’s coast.

The variety didn’t end up being established on the nation’s coast long term. However, it did contribute genes to corn crops that were being grown along the coast during that time.

Note that chullpi likely descended from a popcorn ancestor called Confite Chavinense, which is now extinct.

Chullpi Features

Maiz Cancha Peruvian Corn
Maiz Cancha

Chullpi features a relatively soft interior and shell. This is why chullpi is mostly eaten as a delicious toasted snack called cancha.

This type of Peruvian corn is also widely known for its sweet flavor.

The crop’s spikes are conical to oval in shape, and its grains are thin, long, and narrow. It’s not uncommon for people to eat roasted chullpi grains by themselves or with tasty goat cheese.

In addition, this variety of corn may be turned into a breakfast drink.

A major challenge that chullpi maize faces is that requires certain weather conditions to grow. In addition, it is facing competition from other commercial varieties of sweet corn sold in cans and in cob form.

Unfortunately, this has caused the corn’s cultivation to decrease. However, it is still being produced in the crop’s native area and enjoyed by many today.

Peru’s Famous Purple Corn, Maiz Morado

Maiz Morado Peruvian Purple cron cobs
Maiz Morado, Peruvian Purple Corn

Morado, known for its purple cob, is usually grown along the Peruvian coast. In fact, you’ll mostly find it grown in relatively small acreages in middle-altitude portions of coastal valleys.

However, people in all parts of the country use it to create chicha morada, a popular un-fermented beverage. This beverage is fruit flavored, soft, and purplish in hue, created using by boiling the corn with cloves, pineapple rind, and cinnamon.

Morado is also used for preparing a corn beer that is well fermented and moderately sweet yet strong.

In addition, morado comes in handy for making mazamorra, a jelly dessert that is fruit based and resembles pudding.

For another morado-based dessert, you can try lemiña, made using corn flour, milk, and rice.

Like chullpi, the morado variety’s grain faces the risk of becoming extinct across the Peruvian landscape. Why? Because it is facing competition from commercial corn that has been genetically improved.

Nonetheless, the historical appeal of morado will no doubt remain strong among corn lovers in the years ahead.

Choclo Corn Variety

Choclo, also known as Peruvian corn or Cusco corn, can be grown throughout the entire country of Peru and is cultivated in areas near the Peruvian municipality of Cusco.

Choclo corn with Peruvian cheese on a white plate
Peru’s Choclo con Queso

This corn is white and the kernels of this type of corn are large, not as sweet as your typical variety of sweet corn. In addition, these kernels are starchier and chewier in comparison with sweet corn.

Choclo is traditionally served with dishes like Peru’s famous ceviche. You’ll also see street vendors selling ears of choclo with a slice of cheese, also known as choclo con queso.

Popular Peruvian Corn Dishes

If you visit the northern part of Peru, you’ll discover that the locals there especially love a stew called pepián. This stew features grated kernels of corn combined with chilli pepper, garlic, and onion.

Another Peruvian dish worth trying is soltero, which includes corn along with onion, beans, and a dressing created from cheese. In addition, a popular jungle dish is inchi cache, which features corn, chicken prepared in a stew, and peanuts.

If you’re a corn lover who is looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, don’t worry — Peruvian corn can be found in a number of desserts as well.

For instance, you can try sanguito, which is made from corn flour as well as chancaca — sugarcane molasses — and raisins.

You can also dig in to mazamorra morada, a jelly made from purple corn. A savory corn mash pastry known as a tamale or humita is yet another in-demand corn-based treat you’re sure not to get enough of.

Bowl of mazamorra morada with spoon and cinnamon stick
Mazamorra Morada

How We Can Help

In addition to selling different varieties of Peruvian corn, we offer a wide range of tips and information on popular Latin foods in a number of countries.

For instance, through our website, you can learn about food from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Costa Rica. We also provide a glimpse at delectable dishes found in the Dominican Republic, Spain and many more Spanish speaking countries.

Take a peek here to find out more about the amazing flavors of Peruvian food in particular and why a signature Peruvian dish should become your next meal.

Sharing is caring!