Pinolillo - A Traditional Holy Week Recipe

Pinolillo - A Traditional Holy Week Recipe

April's Recipe of the Month is Pinolillo.  Pinolillo is often made during Holy week but can be drunk any time of the year.  Since today is Maundy Thursday, we thought this a fitting time to post this recipe. 

Pinolillo is a corn and cacao drink made in many villages in Nicaragua. During the two weeks I spent in Nicaragua on an FRB trip in March 2012, our group was served it in most villages we visited. Also called pinol or atol, this type of drink is made in many countries in Central and South America. Of course each country has their own variation and different grains and spices can be used. Often, it is served in a gourd.

We got a demonstration of how to make pinolillo after having it with lunch the day we visited a family in the community of La Pitilla, Nicaragua. It was very refreshing with a meal of red beans, rice, hard boiled eggs, tortillas and chicken. Maria Alèman, wife and mother of the family we visited, walked us through making this drink. There are no real measurements given but the white bowl in the photo made about half a gallon. Also, Maria used whole cloves, whole flakes of cinnamon and whole cacao beans. While ground spices are nice, it would be okay to use the ground cloves and cinnamon we are able to buy in the US. Cacao bean is what chocolate is made out of and 100% cacao bars are purchasable in specialty stores. Powdered chocolate mix is probably a good alternative but be careful when adding sugar as most have sugar added to them already.

Dry corn kernels
Cacao Bean

1.    Toast the corn in a pan on the stove till brown/black on both sides.


2.    Mix the toasted corn, cinnamon, clove, cacao together and put in grinder. Pass through several times until the mixture becomes very fine like a powder.




3.    Mix with water in a large pot and stir in sugar to taste


4.    Serve over ice. This may also be served hot when the weather is cold.


Mmm.  Yummy!  ENJOY!


04/05/2012 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment