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Maiz tostado or South American cancha corn nuts

Cancha or maiz tostado

Tostado is a South American toasted corn nut that is served as a snack or as a must-have side for ceviches. I like to describe tostado to friends who are trying it for the first time as South American popcorn that pops on the inside. Maiz tostado is usually made with a variety of corn called “cancha” or a slightly narrower version called “chulpe”.

Tostado, cancha, chulpe corn snack

I’ve been able to find both at local Latin grocery stores and prefer the larger cancha variety to make tostado, but the chulpe version is just as good. As a snack I recommend that you served tostado with some aji or hot sauce on the side, my favorites to go with tostado are aji criollo and tree tomato aji.

En Español

Cancha or maiz tostado

Maiz tostado or South American cancha corn nuts

Maiz tostado is a South American snack made by toasting cancha or chulpe corn.
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Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Ecuadorian, Latin American, Peruvian, South American
Keyword: Cancha, Chulpe, Chulpi, Ecuadorian corn nuts, Tostado
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6 people


  • 2 cups of dried South American tostado cancha or chulpe corn
  • 1-2 tablespoons of oil
  • Salt to taste


  • Heat the oil over medium high heat in a frying pan.
  • Add the corn and start stirring the corn when it starts to pop.
  • Cover partially with a lid to keep the corn from jumping out of the pan.
  • Stir and cook until the corn is toasted and golden.
  • Place the toasted corn on a paper towel to drain any excess oil.
  • Sprinkle with salt to taste and serve.

Step by step preparation photos for making maiz tostado or chulpi/cancha toasted corn nuts



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  1. Thank you for sharing these wonderful recipes! We just returned from Ecuador and I wanted to make some of the recipes we had while there. Your website is the best!

  2. We just returned from Ecuador and I fell in love with the food! We brought back the maize to make the tostado but I was wondering how you wash it and how long it will last after it is washed and dried. I’d like to wash it all at once if possible? Thank you!

    1. Hi Kimberly – I’ve never washed the corn for tostado, I usually buy it at the Latin grocery stores in the US (it’s also called cancha or chulpi/chulpe for the smaller ones) and prepare it as mentioned above. However I do wash/soak the corn for mote or hominy, but that’s a completely different type of corn.

  3. We add onion chopped very fine and sometimes garlic and oregano, and other than salt and olive oil, that is it. We add in the chopped onion at the beginning and by the end it has turned black, but no matter, it still tastes good. We have found that the garlic and oregano are not nearly as important in terms of flavor as the onion. As the tostado is close to being finished, I started adding salt, gradually. After the tostado has finished cooking and I have transferred it to a tray, I taste again for salt and add gradually as needed. Getting the salt right is critical.

    Regarding the chochos, yes, this is an amazing food to eat with tostado and also with mote. The protein from the chochos balances out the carbs from the corn. I have never gained weight from eating this combination. But preparing the chochos is tricky and not even some Ecuadoreans really know how to do it properly. First we open the package and clean the chochos and check that there are not any small stones mixed in. Then we soak the chochos in a Dutch oven for a week, changing the water twice daily. This is done to eliminate the bitterness of the bean. Then we cook it in the same Dutch oven. Any leftovers we keep in the refrigerator but again changing the water daily. Also, every time we change the water we add salt. The finished product is sublime. Both chochos and mote go especially well with pork, and occasionally I will fry up some very lean pork shoulder bacon (which will keep in the fridge for a good week) to eat with it.

    Hope this helps.

  4. Yeh, great photos! Onion; garlic; yeh, just throw ’em in. My bear is from Otavalo so I have to “master” our tastings. Though nothing beats how his mama makes it. Ate all my “cornnuts”. Cheers mate.

  5. Hi! I love your website! i just spent a semester in Ecuador and have made your menestra and platanos asados when I got home- delicious! But I was wondering if you knew the name of the beans that you eat with this tostada? They’re pale colored, and you can get them in all the street stores in Ecuador mixed with tostada in little plastic containers. They’re usually wet and salty. I loved this snack and it was high in protein and I’d love to figure out what it was called! thank you!

    Hi Abby – The beans are called chochos in Ecuador, they are also known as lupini beans outside of Ecuador and you can find them in jars or in the olive bar section at some grocery stores.

  6. I season tostado with some garlic and onion during the last part of the cooking. The key for an even golden/tostado is in the stirring, you need to keep on stirring, and for that I do use a lid on the pot where I cook it and I just swizzle it around with a wooden spoon.

  7. Gracias por las autenticas recetas de la comida ecuatoriana, son muy deliciosas y las fotos son espectaculares, La platos que tiene en su blog me trae muy gratas memorias de mi familia . Al prepar sus recetas, me hace pensar que nunca he salido de mi tierra. Gracias una vez por su trabajo y esfuerzo maravilloso.

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