Last week was my mom’s birthday. She’s still in panama, but I decided to cook something special to mark the day. I’m sure the word chicheme sounds odd to many of you, but for us Panamanians, this “drink” is our daily bread.
You can buy chicheme everywhere and some says that there is nothing better to fight against the hot days of our country than a glass of cold chicheme.
Only one problem has this recipe, it can take forever if the corn isn’t right. I had to improvise a bit and at first I wasn’t too sure to succeed, but one phone call to my mother and a transfer to a pressure cooker did the trick and a few minutes later my first chicheme was ready.
The ingredients are quite simple, so I’m sure you’ll be able to enjoy this delicious cream wherever you are. But the key is the “maíz pilado”, which are kernels of dried corn, crushed in a mortar, but not until they become dust, there have to be small pieces of corn. Here is a picture, so you can see how it is done.
At least this is the traditional way of doing it in Panama, but I used my food processor…and I know that in some places you can buy it already “pilado”.
- 250 g kernels of corn crushed
- 1 cup condensed milk
- 4 cups water
- ½ tsp. salt
- Cinnamon sticks
- ½ cup cream
- ½ tsp. vanilla
Wash the corn and soak overnight. Cook the next day with cinnamon, salt and nutmeg, until very soft. This could take a while, so I recommend using the pressure cooker or similar. Add more water if necessary.
Remove from heat and let cool. Add milk, cream and vanilla. Stir well.
Put it in the fridge until cool, or add ice. You may add sugar or more condensed milk if you want it to be sweeter.