Gallo en Chicha

Gallo en chicha is a cherished traditional chicken dish, deeply rooted in the culinary culture of Central American countries such as El Salvador and Guatemala. As you might already know, it’s common for people in this region to raise their own livestock, including chickens and roosters. The scrumptious gallo en chicha consists of rooster cooked in a fermented corn drink called chicha and is enjoyed during rural and urban festivities alike. The complexity of cooking this dish makes it perfect for special occasions and celebrations, invoking a sense of community and shared memories.

Diving further into this dish, you will find that chicha plays an essential role in the flavor and authenticity of gallo en chicha. Chicha, either fermented or non-fermented, is primarily derived from maize, creating beverages like the well-known chicha de jora and chicha morada. You might have come across the term “panela”, which is an unrefined whole cane sugar often used in Central and Latin American regions. In addition to these, the distinction between pollo (younger chicken) and gallina (older chicken) adds another layer of depth to the dish. With its delightful blend of ingredients like prunes, apricots, and spices, gallo en chicha stands as a proud representation of Central American cooking traditions and culture, providing you with a true taste of their flavorful heritage.

Gallo en Chicha

Cooking rooster never tasted so good
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 4 hours
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 39 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Salvadorian
Servings 4
Calories 322 kcal


  • 1 rooster or chicken, cut into pieces
  • 2 cups chicha Salvadoran drink or beer
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 onions thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 lb pork ribs
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground allspice
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ½ cup pineapple or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 lb prunes pitted
  • 1 lb large golden raisins
  • 8 bay leaves
  • 4 large tomatoes peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 4 oz. large green olives pitted
  • 3 potatoes diced
  • 1 red hot pepper thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots grated
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt


  • Rub all poultry pieces with lime juice.
  • In a spacious bowl, mix the rooster, pineapple vinegar (or cider vinegar), chicha, garlic, onions, red bell pepper, mustard seed, and allspice.
  • Cover and let it marinate in the refrigerator for 8 hours.
  • After 8 hours, remove the poultry pieces from the marinade, reserving it for later.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat and sauté the rooster pieces until golden brown.
  • Take the rooster pieces out of the pan and, using the same oil, fry the pork until it's golden.
  • Place the fried rooster and pork in a large pot, then add cloves, chili pepper, and all the reserved marinade.
  • Cover the pot and cook on high heat. After it starts boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  • Add the white wine, prunes, raisins, olives, potatoes, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, tomatoes, and carrots over high heat.
  • Once it reaches boiling point, lower the heat and cook on low-medium heat for 40 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
  • If the sauce is too liquid at the end of cooking, increase the heat to thicken the sauce as needed.


Calories: 322kcal
Keyword Gallo en Chicha
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Frequently Asked Questions

What ingredients are commonly found in Gallo en Chicha?

Gallo en Chicha typically includes chicken, fermented corn drink (chicha), tomatoes, onions, garlic, green bell peppers, achiote, salt, and cilantro. These ingredients are combined to create a flavorful and rich dish.

What can one expect from the taste of Gallo en Chicha?

Gallo en Chicha offers a unique taste combining savory, sour, and slightly sweet flavors. The chicken’s tenderness is complemented by the tangy and earthy chicha, while the vegetables and spices add depth and complexity to the dish.

What is the process for making Salvadoran chicha?

Salvadoran chicha is traditionally made from corn. The process involves:

  1. Soaking the corn in water for several days
  2. Allowing the corn to germinate and form sprouts
  3. Draining and rinsing the sprouted corn
  4. Grinding the sprouted corn into a coarse paste
  5. Combining the paste with water, sugar, and spices in a large container
  6. Allowing the mixture to ferment for several days
  7. Straining the liquid from the solids
  8. Chilling the chicha before serving

What are some dishes to enjoy alongside Gallo en Chicha?

Gallo en Chicha can be paired with various side dishes, such as rice, beans, tortillas, and salad. Some Salvadoran favorites that would pair well include:

Are there different types of Chicha recipes?

Yes, there are multiple variations of chicha recipes across Latin America. Different countries and regions might use various ingredients, such as pineapple, barley, or quinoa, and unique preparation methods. Some popular variations include:

  • Chicha de jora (Peru)
  • Chicha morada (Peru)
  • Chicha de piña (Colombia)

When is it customary to serve Gallo en Chicha?

While Gallo en Chicha can be enjoyed year-round, it is often served during special occasions, gatherings, and festive events in Salvadoran culture. The dish’s vibrant flavors and colorful presentation make it a delightful addition to any celebration.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
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