Jora is a type of corn, the main ingredient used to make chicha. For chicha, the entire corn kernel, including the roots, is used. Ground kernels may also be substituted for the entire kernel. As the recipe has been handed down from generation to generation, there are few indications of the exact amounts needed of each ingredient. Ingredients are often thrown together and then adjusted according to taste, which means that every family has its own chicha recipe. There are also non-alcoholic chicha recipes that use fruit.
Add a few handfuls of jora to a large vat of water. Boil the mixture over a wooden fire for several hours. While the corn pulp (bagazo de maíz) mixture is still hot, pour it into a gourd (porongo) or earthenware vessel (chomba de barro), which has been placed in a basket (isanga) resting in a nest of thick hay. The corn pulp is removed from the previous day’s chicha and boiled with more water the following day. After it has boiled for a few hours, it is filtered into another chomba. On the third day, the concho (the chicha remaining from the previous day) from both vessels is slowly added together, completing the fermentation process. It should be drunk that same day – frothy and at its perfect point.
The old-fashioned method is a bit long and complicated, taking three days for the chicha to reach its perfection. Nowadays, it is difficult to wait so long, and the method has been adapted to fit the busier lives and schedules of Ecuadorians. Although the process has been simplified, the taste does not change considerably, and is a good alternative for someone who does not have the time or correct equipment to make old-fashioned chicha de jora.
One-fourth of a kilo of jora is lightly toasted, along with one-fourth kilo of barley. Both are put into 10 liters of water and cooked over low heat. The mixture is boiled for two hours. After it has boiled for two hours, the mixture should be cooled until it is lukewarm. Then it is strained over a cheesecloth. Sugar (or brown sugar) is added to taste and then the mixture is stirred with a wooden spoon to dissolve the sugar. The chicha should be placed in a pitcher and covered with a paper napkin, left to sit and ferment for one day. It is then ready to serve, usually at room temperature.
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