Api Morada – Bolivian Purple Corn Drink

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Last Updated on August 6, 2021 by Chef Mireille

Api Morada is a Bolivian Purple Corn Drink or a Bolivian Style Summer Smoothie. This is a traditional drink of the indigenous people of Bolivia that can be enjoyed either warm or chilled. Therefore, it can be enjoyed in any season.

Api Morada - Bolivian Purple Corn Drink in a glass with pineapple

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Yes – it’s yet another cornmeal drink from me – There has already been Akasan (Haiti), Champurrad0 (Mexico) and Pinolillo (Nicaragua). Both Caribbean and Latin cultures use cornmeal frequently in a variety of ways. With my Caribbean heritage, I am a sucker for anything made with any variety of corn or cornmeal.

In southern hemisphere countries like Bolivia where Api Morada is enjoyed, it is the middle of summer right now. Here where I live in New York City, we are in the middle of winter and this month we have had quite a few freezing and windy days. These cornmeal based drinks are thick and rich and perfect on cold winter mornings. What is great about this drink, is that it can be enjoyed either warm or chilled. If it is summer where you live, have it chilled and if it’s winter, enjoy a warm cup!

If you like learning about history and culture of the recipes around the world like I do, read on…If not, just skip down to the recipe using the Jump to Recipe button above!

Quechua Language and Culture

Quechua is the language of the native people of Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador and to a lesser degree in Argentina. There are slight dialect differences from country to country, but still today there are over 6 million people that maintain the Quechua language and culture and food is a big part of any culture. I don’t have any research to back me up but I am fluent enough in Spanish to know by the sounds of the word whether it is Spanish or quechua and Api is definitely a quechua word. I would stake money that this recipe comes from the indigenous community of Bolivia.

I remember when I was in high school, my best friend’s Mom had married an Argentinian. Although Spanish was her first language, my friend was constantly asking her Mom to translate whenever her stepfather was talking. At the time, I wasn’t informed enough or fluent enough in Spanish to understand these dialect differences. Teenagers with new step parents also aren’t very receptive and all she would tell me was that “He was weird” when I asked her why she couldn’t understand his Spanish.

Now I know that many Quechua words have been absorbed into the vernacular Spanish in these countries. Although you might be fluent in Spanish, don’t be surprised if you visit these countries & encounter a lot of words you may not know the meaning of and find yourself struggling to understand their Spanish a bit.

Alright enough about history and culture…back to the delicious recipe…


This can either be made with dried blue corn or blue cornmeal, however it is a lot more work if you use the blue corn itself. If you cannot source blue cornmeal where you are, you can substitute white cornmeal or masa harina. There is also a version of api using this white corn called Api Blanco.

Blue Corn & Blue Cornmeal

Blue Corn/ Blue Cornmeal aka Purple Corn/ Purple Cornmeal is used a lot in central South American countries like Peru, Bolivia and Chile. Like all deep hued foods such as beets and blackberries, blue cornmeal is packed with anti oxidant power so has more health benefits than white or yellow cornmeal.

I have already published a few recipes using blue/purple corn and cornmeal. Be adventurous and here a few more recipes made with Blue Cornmeal or Dried Blue Corn you might like to try!

Blue Corn Recipes – Purple Corn Recipes

Although in Bolivia, this can be enjoyed either warm or chilled, I prefer the chilled version. However, try it both ways and see which version you prefer. I would love to know which you like better, so please leave a comment and let me know.

If you would like to know more about the many varieties of gluten free cornmeal that there are and how to utilize them all in your kitchen, check out this post here to learn all about Cornmeal, Polenta, Grits & more.


  • First soak the cornmeal in water for a few hours, to soften it.
Api Collage 1
  • Then simmer it with more water and spices, until thick.
Api Collage 2
  • Enjoy warm as desired or chilled, garnished with pineapple.

This is definitely a unique twist on a smoothie!
Api LR 6

Maybe you’d like a cornmeal based treat to go along with your Api Morada. Try one of these!

Cornmeal Recipes

Blue Corn Drink
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5 from 6 votes

Api Morada – Bolivian Purple Corn Drink

Api Morada – Bolivian Purple Cornmeal Smoothie is a low cal treat for any time of the day.
Prep Time2 hours
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time2 hours 15 minutes
Course: Smoothies
Cuisine: Bolivian
Servings: 10 people
Calories: 97.51kcal




  • Soak the cornmeal in 3 cups water for 2 hours.
  • The cornmeal will be soft and have absorbed the liquid to form a smooth thick liquid.
  • In a pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil with the cinnamon stick and cloves.
  • Reduce to a simmer and add the soaked cornmeal and sugar.
  • Simmer for about 5-8 minutes until thickened, stirring frequently. It should be like a thin smoothie consistency. It will thicken more as it chills.
  • Remove spices.
  • Chill or serve warm, as desired.
  • To serve, garnish with chopped pineapple.


You can use white cornmeal or masa harina, if you cannot source purple cornmeal.


Calories: 97.51kcal | Carbohydrates: 22.7g | Protein: 1.13g | Fat: 0.28g | Saturated Fat: 0.04g | Sodium: 1.31mg | Fiber: 0.76g | Sugar: 10.24g
Did you try this recipe? Leave a comment below.Please follow me on Instagram @chefmireille or tag me #chefmireille with your pics! I’d love to share them!

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Reader Interactions


  1. 5 stars
    I grew up with this drink before moving to the US. I love that you shared this wonderful drink with the world.

  2. 5 stars
    This is a very unique and different kind of drink. I will try it when I visit my children in USA. I have seen purple corn in the farmers market there. In Brazil we used to have a drink made from fresh corn .(the yellow one)

    • Yes, most Latin countries have one made from corn, usually drink when warm. Not sure sure what the name would be in Portuguese Speaking Brazil, but in most Latin countries it is called Atole. I love it also!

  3. This Api Morada recipe reminds me so much of the Kenyan Cornmeal Uji or porridge. Only difference is that its made without spices. Definitely trying out the Api Blanco as I will not be able to source the purple cornmeal. Healthy and so filling.

  4. 5 stars
    Love the idea of having the Api morada chilled or warm. Makes the drink ideal for both seasons. Thanks to your suggestion I can make this yum drink with white cornmeal. Will definitely make it tomorrow for a mid-morning drink.

  5. 5 stars
    Api Morada looks stunning. So nutritious and delicious. Would love to try this drink. Need to get my hands on purple corn meal . Serving with pineapple pieces sounds fabulous

  6. 5 stars
    Api morada is an interesting recipe and the best part is that it is perfect for all seasons as it can be enjoyed warm as well as chilled. Purple corn is new to me and as always loved the way you have detailed the cultural backdrop of the ingredient.

  7. 5 stars
    I remember this delicious drink served warm on a cold frosty morning from huge pans @ Copacabana Market, Lake Titicaca, Bolivia in 1991. I will never forget this satisfying taste

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