|Place of origin||Andean states|
|Main ingredients||Maize, maize husk|
Humita (from Quechua humint'a) is a Native South American dish that dates back to pre-Hispanic times. A traditional food from the Andes, it can be found in Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, and Argentina. It consists of fresh choclo (Peruvian maize) pounded to a paste, wrapped in a fresh corn husk, and slowly steamed or boiled in a pot of water. In Bolivia, it is known as huminta and in Brazil as pamonha. Humitas are similar to Mexican uchepos, or tamales colados, which are also made with fresh corn; but they are only superficially similar to tamales, which are made with nixtamalized corn (masa).
In Argentina, humitas are prepared with fresh corn, sautéed onions, pumpkin, and some spices, depending on the region or taste. The dough is wrapped in corn husks and boiled or it is cooked in a big pan and served in bowls. It is also common to add some diced cheese to the dough, typically queso fresco. They can be found in restaurants and markets in Jujuy,Tucumán, Salta, and other provinces of the north of Argentina.
Humitas in Chile are prepared with fresh corn, onion, basil, and butter or lard. They are wrapped in corn husks and baked or boiled. They may contain ají verde (green chili pepper). The humitas are tied with thread or twine to keep them together while cooking. They can be made savory, sweet, or sweet and sour, and served with added sugar, chili pepper, salt, tomato, olives, paprika, etc. In Chile, humitas are traceable back to the 19th century.
Ecuadorian humitas are prepared with fresh ground corn and onions, eggs, pork fat and spices that vary from region to region, and also by each family's tradition. The dough is wrapped in a corn husk, but is steamed rather than baked or boiled. Ecuadorian humitas may also contain cheese. This dish is so traditional in Ecuador that they have developed special pots just for cooking humitas. Ecuadorian humitas can be salty or sweet. It is common to fry them in a pan just before eating.
In Peru and Bolivia
In the central Andes region, humitas are prepared with fresh corn combined with lard and salt and queso fresco for a savory dish or with fresh corn with lard, sugar, cinnamon and raisins for a sweet dish. Savory humitas may also be prepared with anise. These are typically very rare in other parts of South America.
These humitas are prepared with corn wrapped in corn husks and can be cooked in boiling water, placed in a pachamanca oven, or steamed. They can be wrapped in several ways.
One of the earliest references to huminta in Peru was written by the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega in his Comentarios Reales de los Incas, which he published in Lisbon in 1609. In talking about huminta, he describes his own memories of consuming it while he was living in Peru between 1539 and 1560. From this, it can be deduced that huminta was already being prepared in Peru during this time.
- Brooks, Shirley Lomax (2003). Argentina Cooks!: Treasured Recipes from the Nine Regions of Argentina. Hippocrene Books. ISBN 978-0-7818-0997-9.
- Chef Adds New Zest At La Pena Center, Kim Severson, San Francisco Chronicle, 06-08-1999, access date 05-12-2012
- Pereira Salas, Eugenio (1977). Apuntes para la historia de la cocina chilena. Santiago de Chile: Imprenta Universitaria. p. 11.
- Foley, Erin; Jermyn, Leslie; Paley, Caitlyn (2016-04-15). Ecuador: Third Edition. Cavendish Square Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-5026-1701-9.
- de la Vega, Garcilaso (1688). Comentarios Reales de los Incas [The Royal Commentaries of Peru]. Translated by Rycaut, Sir Paul. London: M. Flesher. p. 318.
- The dictionary definition of humita at Wiktionary