Api Morado - Gastro Obscura
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Api Morado

Cold mornings in the Andean Highlands are best met with a steaming cup of this sweet, purple drink.

Mornings in the Altiplano, or Andean highlands, can be quite chilly. To warm themselves, Bolivians in the mountainous region sip steaming mugs of api morado. Locals spice this purple corn mash with cinnamon, cloves, and orange zest, then sweeten the mixture with sugar and pineapple. Tasters liken api morado to a “steaming hot cup of rich, liquid corn sugar” that’s thick enough to eat with a spoon.

Bolivians typically down this rich, vibrant beverage, often simply called api, for breakfast. Powdered sugar–covered fritters called buñuelos or cheese empanadas complete the meal. Both hole-in-the-wall restaurants and street vendors serve api and an accompanying pastry, often as the only items on the menu.

Need to Know

Api blanco is another, similarly named Bolivian breakfast beverage. It's prepared using milk, sugar, and crushed white corn or hominy.

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