This recipe is a perfect end to my seven days of pineapple because it gives you something to do with all the pineapple skins and core that you’d otherwise throw away or compost.
I had heard of this Ecuadorian drink before, but since it’s traditionally fermented I’d given it a wide berth. Home fermentations make me a little uneasy with their potential to explode and spray their contents everywhere. In a small apartment, this is not an ideal outcome.
But I discovered Layla’s recipe and she explained that although the traditional chicha is fermented, there are many lighter and easier versions of chicha commonly made and drunk in Ecuador. This is one.
The pineapple scraps are boiled with water, spices and panela, which is unrefined whole cane sugar made from evaporating sugarcane juice. Layla’s blog has a detailed and pleasantly idyllic description of how panela is made in the town she grew up in.
Panela is sold in small cone-shaped pieces in Latin American grocers, but if you can’t find any then Indian/Sri Lankan jaggery is a very similar product.
Layla’s recipe is a fresh chicha, although her blog post also contains instructions on how to make a fermented version if you are more game than I am.
I drank this both hot and cold. It’s a lovely refreshing cold drink on a warm day, but an even ,ore unusual and comforting warmer on a cold winter evening. Highly recommended either way.
Chicha de Piña (Ecuadorian spiced pineapple drink)
Adaptation of Layla’s recipe. Makes 2 litres.
Skin, core and scraps of 1 (well-washed) pineapple
2 litres water
2 cassia quills (or cinnamon)
4 allspice berries
(500ml pineapple juice, optional)
1. Combine all of the ingredients in large saucepan
2. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.
3. Drink hot or cold, but strain before serving.
Note: I added about 500ml of fresh pineapple juice to the final product, just to make it punchier.
Pineapples supplied by the team at King of Fruit