Thursday, June 3, 2010

Dirty Little Secrets...


Mote con huesillo, or what I call, “that funky peach drink,” is a delicious summertime staple in Santiago, and the surrounding central valleys of Chile. The name is difficult to translate because mote can mean something different in every part of the world. In Chile, mote is basically wheat boiled with lye, which by its strength and the heat of the fire causes the grain to loose its husk, and huesillo is dried peach. Mote con huesillo is made by rehydrating peaches that have been dried in the sun, by poaching them in water with some sugar. As the dried peaches plump back up, they perfume the water with sweet, sun-ripened flavor, turning the water into a syrupy juice. Boiled mote is put on the bottom of the cup, and the juice and peach is ladled on top. The finished product is served cold with a spoon, to be eaten and drunk. The soft stewed peaches pair perfectly with the chewy crunch of the nutty mote, and sweet, tangy juice. This refreshing concoction is consumed as a snack, beverage, or dessert. Street vendors typically sell it from their carts in small, medium, and large sizes, and many fast-paced business professionals in downtown Santiago eat a large mote con huesillo as a quick and easy lunch on the go. Mote con huesillo is a unique way to satisfy a variety of cravings, making it not only fun to eat, but also a budget friendly way to fill up. It’s impossible to mimic the experience of strolling through Santiago, and waiting in line for a mote con huesillo, but to get a little taste, try out the recipe below!

(I combined some traditional recipes with easier to find ingredients and methods, so I hope this will do at least some justice to mote con huesillos)

1 lb dried peaches

1 Cup sugar

3 Cups hominy, precooked and chilled (or use barley and cook as directed)

2 cinnamon sticks

6 Cups water

Orange peel (optional)

Place peaches and water in a pot and cover to soak overnight*. Make sure peaches are covered. The next day, add cinnamon, sugar, and orange peel to the pot, and cook until peaches are soft (about 20 minutes). Chill peach liquid mixture until ready to serve. Remove the cinnamon sticks and orange peel. For each serving, put 1/2 cup hominy in the bottom of a tall glass, then 2 peach halves, and fill the glass with juice. Serve with a spoon and enjoy!

*For extra flavor, add the cinnamon and orange peel to the peaches while they soak overnight.

Serves 6

*Photo from

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