Mazamorra & Panela – Cuisine

(mazamorra con panela)


Mazamorra is a traditional maize-based food/drink found in Colombia, where it is also known as Peto. It is typically accompanied with panela (which I’ll write about below), and very popular as a side dish to typical food such as Bandeja paisa. The drink typically includes maize grains, crushed with Mortar and pestle, then soaked in water with soda lye (although traditionally, fern ash is used), and finally cooked until soft. Mazamorra is very common during lunch and dinnertime at any time of year. It is usually sold as street food. The vendors usually ride a tricycle adapted with a large Cauldron and announce themselves with a hand-held vehicle horn. They sell the base mazamorra, and the costumer must add the milk and the panela.

Other derivations exist. In Cundinamarca and Boyacá, where the corn is cooked with onions, coriander, garlic, faba beans, potatoes and mashuas, often with pieces of ribs or beef. This dish is known as Mazamorra Chiquita (small mazamorra).

Mazamorra Recipe


Panela is an unrefined food product, typical of Colombia, which is basically a solid piece of sucrose and fructose obtained from the boiling and evaporation of sugarcane juice. In Brazil, it is known as rapadura. The main producer of panela is Colombia (about 1.4 million tons/year), where panela production is one of the most important economic activities, with the highest index of panela consumption per capita worldwide.

The main use of the panela is in aguapanela which is one of the most widely drunk beverages in Colombia. Also it is used as a sweetener and in the preparation of desserts. Since it is a very solid block, most Colombian homes have a resistant river stone (la piedra de la panela) to break the panela into smaller, more manageable pieces.


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