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Ecuadorian Humitas
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  • CourseMain Dish
  • CuisineVegetarian
  • 4 ¾ cups fresh sweet corn kernels (6-7 ears, decobbed, husks and cobs saved for later)
  • 1 Tbsp. red onion
  • ½ clove fresh garlic
  • ¾ Tbsp. melted butter
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup queso fresco or grated mozzarella
  • ½ cup fine yellow cornmeal
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. whole anise seed or fennel seed, toasted
Charred Tomato Salsa
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • ½ serrano pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. water or vegetable oil
  • ½ shallot
  • ½ Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ½ Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • salt, to taste
  1. Peel the corn, making sure to keep the leaves intact. The larger leaves are used to wrap the humitas and the smaller ones are broken into strips to tie them. You can also use regular store-bought husks that are used for tamales.
  2. Put the leaves or store-bought husks in boiling water for a couple of minutes, then strain and store the leaves until it is time to wrap the humitas.
  3. Clean the peeled corn well, removing the silk, and use a knife to decob the corn. If you do not have a steamer to cook the humitas, save the cobs to make a steamer.
  4. Blend corn kernels, red onion and garlic in a blender or food processor until the ingredients become a chunky puree. Pour into a big bowl.
  5. In a small bowl, mix melted butter, salt and baking powder together, then add to the big bowl of corn puree and mix well.
  6. One by one, add the beaten egg, queso fresco, cornmeal, sugar and anise seed, mixing well after adding each item.
  7. In a tamale pot (or large soup pot), add about 2 ½ cups of water and insert the steamer basket; the water level should be just below the top of the steamer. If you do not have a steamer, put the leftover cobs and some of the corn leaves in the bottom of the pot; likewise, the water level should reach just the top of the cobs without completely covering them.
  8. To fill and wrap the leaves with the humitas mixture, use 2 leaves of good size for each humita. Put the leaves one on top of the other and fill the leaves with a good amount of the corn mixture. Next, fold the sides of the leaves in and the tip over. Then use the strips of the small leaves to tie the humita closed. Put the stuffed and wrapped leaves in the pot with the steamer, placing each humita on a diagonal, with the open part facing up. Cover the humitas with the remaining leaves and cover the pot tightly.
  9. Cook over high heat until the water comes to a boil, then lower the heat and steam for 35 to 40 minutes.
  10. Serve the humitas hot with charred tomato salsa.
Charred Tomato Salsa
  1. Char the tomatoes lightly in a cast iron skillet. Set aside to cool.
  2. Blend the tomatoes, serrano pepper and the water or oil. If you want the salsa to last longer, put the blended mixture in a small saucepan and cook at medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes. If you use oil instead of water, do not cook it.
  3. Add the shallot, lemon juice, chopped cilantro and salt to taste.
Recipe Notes

Recipe by Chef Nettie Colón, Red Hen Gastrolab

Nettie recommends using P.A.N precooked yellow cornmeal, which can be found in Spanish markets.

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