Purple Reigns at Runa Peruvian Cuisine
Of all the treats chef Marita Lynn produces in the Runa Peruvian Cuisine kitchen in Red Bank, one of the most unusual—and refreshing—is the chicha morada. Made of imported Peruvian purple corn, pineapple and spices, this drink is sweet, with a bright fuchsia color.
“It has been used since pre-Hispanic times,” explains Lynn. “The purple corn used is original from the Andes. It was used as a medicinal beverage and it was adapted by the Spanish as a celebration beverage, too.”
Lynn, a native Peruvian, respects the classic cooking of her homeland. But she’s open to tweaking recipes now and then to put her own twist on them, or simply out of necessity. The chicha is among them.
“We try to make as much of a traditional chicha morada [as we can]. For example, the original recipe uses quince, but since it’s not always available in the U.S.A., we use apples instead.”
While guests might, at first, look askance at a drink that’s made of purple corn, one sip is all it takes to win them over.
“Everyone that stops by tries it and loves it!” Lynn says. “They immediately buy more and it’s a great pleasant surprise for them.” —Marisa Procopio
Runa Peruvian Cuisine
110 Monmouth St., Red Bank