Cooking with Coca: Powdered Coca Flour Combinations

Research on coca flour and its food properties have been in Peru for decades. Any search engine on the Internet will lead us to sites with valuable information about it. One of them is the Institute of Andean Food Culture, whose director is Ciro Hurtado Fuertes. What follows are fragments that hardly approximate the richness of the original document, which is within the reach of every researcher.

Coca flour is a nutritional supplement that works very well mixed as follows:

  • Banana flour + bean flour + coca flour.
  • Pituca flour + corn flour + coca flour
  • Quinoa flour + tarwi flour + coca flour.
  • Kiwicha flour + sweet potato flour + coca flour.
  • Bean flour + cañahua flour + coca flour.
  • Flower flour + tocosh flour + coca flour.

Hurtado advises mixing the milk of school breakfast milk with those foods enriched with coca flour to facilitate child growth and improve health and quality of life.

The Makus, of the Negro River of Brazil, pulverize the dry leaves of coca with the ash of the green leaves of the banana, and that fine powder they add to the farina or tapioca, as their daily food. (PRANCE, Ghillean, Ethnobotanical comparison of Four Tribes of Amazonian Indians, 1972).

Among the Witotos, distributed between the Putumayo and Caquetá rivers, “the coca is piled and roasted, the sifted powder is mixed with yarumo ash or mountain grape leaves, the product is swallowed (or mambea) and gradually dissolves forming bulky balls in both cheeks Every man has his coca pot and exchanges it with his interlocutors “(Pineda Camacho, Roberto, Witoto (In: Introduction to Colombia Amerindia, Bogotá, Colombian Institute of Anthropology, 1987.)

The indigenous peoples of the Colombian Amazon prepare the coca flour by drying the leaves in hot clay dishes and then grind them until they are reduced to dust, which is mixed with the ashes of the leaves of a plant called yarumo ( Cecropia discolor) that replaces the lime (or the llujta, or the sodium bicarbonate) during the “mambeo” or pijcheo. (Perez Arbelaez, Enrique, Useful Plants of Colombia, Bogotá, National Press, 1947).

The Ticuna cultivate coca as food and for its rites (Acosta L. The socio-economic dimension of production systems in the Ticuna ethnic group, Trapezio Amazónico, Colombia, Universidad Javeriana, 1999.). The Yaneshas, ​​Asháninkas, located on the banks of the Ucayali River, grow coca for their food (Ucayali Regional Plan (2004).

It is therefore a common practice, of hundreds and perhaps thousands of years, among the pre-Hispanic peoples, to prepare flours (whistles) of various cereals and mix them with coca flour, like the famous machicas they made after roasting cereals and legumes.

This note is just an invitation to read these studies, especially not to judge with lightness and Western sufficiency borrowed from other cultures, the statements of Chancellor David Choquehuanca, when he spoke of incorporating coca to school breakfast. We could better assimilate the Peruvian experience and investigate this important nutrition powerhouse.


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