Ecuadorian Fresh Corn Tamales - Humitas Ecuatorianas

Ecuadorian Fresh Corn Tamales - Humitas Ecuatorianas. Marian Blazes
    110 mins

Humitas are Andean-style tamales which are made with fresh corn kernels in instead of masa harina (cornmeal "dough" made from dried corn).   In Ecuador, humitas are enriched with eggs and cheese and lightened with baking powder.  They are sweet yet savory, and quite delicious.  They make an excellent side dish for a summer meal, or a wonderful snack, or even a great breakfast.  And if you are in a hurry and don't have time to fill and wrap lots of tamales, you can just bake the corn mixture in a casserole dish. 

What You'll Need

  • 6 ears of corn
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 green onions
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup fine cornmeal
  • 2/3 cups crumbled queso fresco cheese, or finely diced mozzarella cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

How to Make It

Cut the ends off of the corn husks, then carefully peel away the husks, trying to preserve them in large pieces.  Set the husks aside.

Cut the corn kernels from the cobs (reserve cobs).  Place the corn kernels in a food processor and process in short spurts until kernels are blended and creamy.  Transfer the ground corn to a strainer placed over a bowl, and press out some of the excess liquid.  

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium low heat.

 Add the onion and cook, stirring, until onion is soft, translucent, and fragrant.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minutes.  Add the corn and cook for 1 minute more.  

Transfer the corn and onion mixture to a heatproof bowl.   Add the cornmeal, eggs, baking powder, and cheese, and mix well.  Season mixture with salt and pepper to taste. The mixture should have the texture of a very thick batter.

Place two corn husks end to end on the counter, with the wide ends overlapping one another.  Place a scant 1/4 cup of filling in the middle.  Roll the corn husks around the filling, then fold in either end to completely enclose the filing.  Tie the tamal with a piece of corn husk or string to secure.  Repeat with remaining husks and filling.

Stack the corn cobs horizontally in a large stockpot until it is about 2/3 of the way full. Arrange the tamales on top of the corn cobs.  (You can use a steamer basket instead of the corncobs if you prefer).  Fill the pot with enough water to cover some of the corn cobs, without letting it touch the tamales.  Cover the pot and bring water to a boil.  Steam the tamales for 40 to 50 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure that there is enough water in the pot.

Let the tamales cool for 5 minutes before serving.