Recently, I’ve been sampling a lot more South American dishes and I’ve really enjoyed the flavor combinations. This has left me inspired to bring a taste of South America to the Rooted Pear repertoire of recipes. Ever interested in expanding our range of cooking styles, we’ve decided to tackle an Ecuadorian dish this time : humitas. Humitas are savory fresh corn cakes that have a unique texture: not quite as bready as a cornbread, and not quite as moist as a cake. With a range of styles and preparation techniques, it seems that every family and every grandmother has her own carefully guarded recipe.
At its most basic level, however, humitas are made with corn, milk, and some form of fat. We started by cutting the kernels off of fresh corn cobs, and puréeing them with milk, cream, egg yolks, and melted butter. There seem to be a lot of options for the style of cheese to be used, but we settled on a crumbly farmer’s cheese that will add some moisture, and a little more flavor without overpowering or overwhelming the palate. We’ve also decided to give our humitas some depth with diced onions, sautéed until translucent, and puréed along with the corn mixture. Add in some cornmeal to get that perfect texture for the dough, along with a generous sprinkle of salt, and we are ready to start packaging our humitas in an envelope of corn husks.
It seems that every culture has a tradition of wrapping a filling into a dough or package of sorts, and when making these types of dishes for large groups, it’s always fun to get the family together to help with the task. At Rooted Pear we’ve done this with eggrolls from the Vietnamese culture; with vareniki from the Russian culture; and now with the Ecuadorian humitas. Once folded, these beautiful corn cakes are ready to be cooked. Just steam to perfection for about 30 minutes, and the humitas are ready to be consumed. Either served as is with a little salsa, or removed from its packaging and lightly fried for breakfast, this versatile dish makes a great meal for any time of the day.