This weekend all over Ecuador families are enjoying this delicious Spiced Fruit Drink called Colada Morada with their loved ones for the Day of the Dead holiday. If you were to walk through an Ecuadorian neighborhood today you would get whiffs of cinnamon, allspice and fruit.
This drink is equivalent to the U.S. apple cider or Mexico’s Ponche it’s a hot punch with fruit. They are all different in their own way but a lot of the spices are the same in all three drinks.
Colada morada or spiced fruit drink is a traditional Ecuadorian drink made with fruits, spices, and some use purple corn flour. Colada morada is usually eaten with Guaguas de Pan these are typical foods prepared here in Ecuador for the Day of the Dead holiday.
Rosa our lovely Ecuadorian friend, who is an amazing cook and works in the kitchen at the school, showed me how to make her family recipe from scratch a few weeks ago. I was so excited to have an Ecuadorian show me how to make it because I heard it was really complicated. It’s actually not hard at all. She actually has given me lots of Ecuadorian food lessons.
Well, the first batch was gone in a few days so we decided to make it again. My husband brought home from work fresh purple corn flour that was just grounded from the corn fields out in Calacali. Apparently, this is what was used back in the good ol’ days to make Colada Morada. So the hubby decided to join in with the rest of the Ecuadorian families and whip up his own pot of Colada Morada using our friend Rosa’s family recipe.
I had fun taking pictures of this vibrant purple drink!
Colada Morada Ecuadorian Spiced Fruit Drink
If you’re in the U.S. I included affiliate links so you can see where I bought our stuff.
- 1/2 -1 cup purple or black corn flour or Iris corn starch brand or the morada maizena if in Ecuador
- 2 cups blackberries (mora)
- 2.5 cups blueberries (mortiño)
- 2 cups strawberries, sliced
- 1 small pineapple, peeled & diced
- 4-5 naranjilla fruit (or use naranjilla or lulo frozen pulp found in hispanic stores in U.S.)
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 1 ishpingo herb/cinnamon flower (similar in flavor to cloves if in U.S.)
- 4 whole cloves (clavor de olor)
- 5 allspice berries (pimienta dulce)
- 3 estrella de anis/ anise star (or substitute for 1 tsp of ground anise in the U.S.)
- 3 cups panela or brown sugar or to taste
- 2 liters of water + additional for mixing and blending
A few lemon verbena leaves (or dry lemon verbena leaves)
orange peels from 2 oranges
A few lemongrass leaves (or dry lemongrass)
If in Ecuador just ask for 1 atado de hierbas de colada morada (hoja de naranja/orange leaves, hiebaluisa/lemon grass, cedron/lemon verbena arrayán/myrtle, ataco/amaranth (is the purple dried herb) (pictured above)
Note if in the U.S.: You can find the purple corn flour in Hispanic grocery stores, and you can also find it online at Amazon.com. Here’s an Easy version of it using oatmeal instead if you’re having trouble finding the ingredients. I’ve never made the easy version so I have no idea what it would taste like. Also, you can find lemon verbena leaves at Central food market or fresh food market. If you can’t find naranjilla pulp just replace it with more pineapple in the recipe. I found naranjilla (small orange fruit pictured above) frozen in a small Latin American food store in the south side of town. Your best bet is getting it frozen.
If you’re in Quito, Ecuador go to the market or Santa Maria grocery store and ask them to give you the atado de hierbas para colada morada y las especias. They should hand you a bushel of herbs and a small bag of spices or some grocery stores like Santa Maria set up an aisle with all of the ingredients so you don’t have to go hunting it down.
If you’re not in Ecuador and can’t find ishpingo don’t worry it’s similar in flavor to cloves so it’s fine to use more cloves instead (it’s the round thing in the bowl with the anise).
1. In a large pot boil 2 liters of water and add the herbs and spices. After 20 minutes remove the herbs and spices from the water. My husband just put them in another pot with water so he could use it later to make the house smell good or you can toss it.
2. Then add panela or brown sugar to the spiced water.
3. After you’ve washed and rinsed your fruit place the blue berries, blackberries, 1/4 of the strawberries and naranjilla (whole but with the stem off) in the spiced water for about 10 minutes. Remove. The pot below is the recipe doubled.
4. Skip this step if you’re using frozen naranjilla. Then place the whole cooked naranjilla in the blender and blend until smooth. You may need to add 1/4 cup of water to the blender so it will blend well. After you’re done blending strain it to remove the seeds and add it back to the mix of spiced water. (Straining is important otherwise you will end up with a seedy drink plus the shell of the naranjilla.)
5. Then take out of the pot the cooked blueberries, strawberries and blackberries and blend until smooth. You may need to add 1/2 cup of water so it will blend well. After you’re done blending strain it to remove the seeds and add to the spiced water. I skipped this step the last time I made it and it made for a long process of straining 1 gallon of spiced water. At this point the naranjilla and berries are pureed and back in pot.
6. Now take your chopped & peeled pineapple and place it in the spiced water pot. You won’t blend the pineapple. Add the rest of the water.
7. Take 1/2 cup of purple corn flour or cornstarch and mix with 1 cup of cold water in a separate bowl.
8. Add half the cornstarch mix to the spiced water and bring it to a boil. Keep moving it so it doesn’t burn. This will thicken your drink. Taste it and see if it’s thick enough. If not add the rest of the corn flour mix. I don’t like mine to thick so 1/2 cup of the purple corn flour mix is perfect.
9. Add the rest of your chopped strawberries to the pot and let it simmer for 10 minutes. The pot below is one batch of this recipe.
So many ways to enjoy it.
Some people like it cold but we like it hot. Others like it with a fruit called Babaco, my husband made his pot of Colada morada with babaco. I didn’t think it added or took away from the flavor it just made it chunkier. I also like my fruit finely chopped my husband likes his chunky. Enjoy it with some Guaguas de Pan which is equivalent to sweet bread. Go here for the delicious bread recipe that is typically eaten with this beverage.
Also go here for a great explanation of the history behind the drink. I thought her article was insighful.