Friday, February 4, 2011


One advantage to having a husband who grew up in Peru, besides the accent of course, is getting to explore their cuisine! Peruvian food is known all over the world for the variety of ingredients and the adaptability of their recipes to other cultures. They're home to more than 200 different kinds of potatoes, have integrated dozens of different cultures into their cuisine (Asian, African, and Italian, to name a few), and has some of the best civeche in Latin America.

One delicacy in particular caught my eye when I was at a dinner with fellow Peruvian-Americans and their families, the humita. Essentially, an humita is a sweet corn tamale. I had never imagined a tamale being anything other than savory, fatty, and filled with shredded pork or beef (that's my Texan roots shining through) until I tried this delicious dish. I knew I wanted to attempt to recreate it and see how it fared to my Peruvian food snob of a husband.

In researching the recipe for humitas (which wasn't so easy considering most of the recipes are in Spanish) I realized that all of the variations have the same basic ingredients to go off of: sugar, corn, and evaporated milk. I finally decided to go with's recipe for Humitas Dulces (Sweet Tamales, translated).

Before you shutter at the idea of how labor intensive tamales are rumored to be, I must say that I was very, pleasantly, surprised at how EASY they were. Sure, the process from start to finish took a while, but as far as the level of difficulty, it's not that bad. I hope you enjoy these humitas as much as my husband and I did!

Adapted from

8 ears of corn
1 12oz can of evaporated milk (1 1/2 cups)
5 oz of raisins
1 cup of sugar
4 T of margarine (I used butter)
3-4 cinnamon sticks
Pinch of salt
Husks from ears of corn
Corn cobs

Carefully peel back the husks from the corn and set aside. Be sure to save the corn cobs also. Using a chefs knife, cut the corn off of each ear of corn and blend with the evaporated milk.

Melt the butter in a large pot and add corn mixture, raisins, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat until the mixture is thick and glossy, about 20-25 minutes. Be sure to stir the mixture constantly so it doesn't stick. Once the mixture is thick and glossy remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool completely.

While the corn mixture is cooling, add the husks from the corn  to a large pot and boil for about 10 minutes. This keeps the husks moist so when they're being steamed they won't burn. Drain the water and allow the husks to cool until you can handle them with bare hands.

Spoon a tablespoon or two onto each husk and fold the husk around the mixture. If corn is coming out of the sides when you're folding the husk, remove some of the mixture and try refolding. Tie the husks with kitchen string or a shred of the corn husk.

Place the corn cops at the bottom of a large pot and fill the pot with enough water to almost cover the corn cobs. Then delicately stack the humitas on top of the corn cobs. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and bring the water to a boil over medium heat. Steam the humitas for roughly 45 minutes or until the mixture no longer sticks to the corn husk when unwrapped. Add more water to the bottom of the pot if you need to steam the humitas longer.


  1. Humitas are delicious unfortunately Lumir doesn't like them :( ... I think Mando is very happy that you are learning how to cook our Peruvian cuisine, just an observation Peru has over 4,000 varieties of potato, 700 of sweet potato and the corn that is necessary to prepare such an appetizing dish we have more than 150 ... so girl prepare your pots, spoons and spatulas you have plenty enough recipes of fantastic food to prepare :)

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