Humitas (Sweetcorn tamales)
An unusual tamales recipe from Chiclayo which is the capital city of the Lambayeque region in northern Peru.
For the corn
- 900 g sweetcorn
- 15 ml corn oil
- 1 teaspoon achiote granules, dissolved in 10 ml hot corn oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Pinch of pepper
For the humitas
- 20 corn husks
- 1 dried yellow ají pepper, rehydrated in hot water and sliced into 10 pieces
- 10 black olives, cut in half
- 1 small onion, finely sliced
- ¼ teaspoon achiote granules, dissolved in 5 ml hot corn oil
- Pinch of salt
- 450 g skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into ten pieces
- 2 Eggs, hard-boiled, peeled and cut into 10 slices each
- Nylon thread or raffia
For the corn:
- Blend the sweetcorn into a rough mash.
- Place in a bowl and mix in the remaining corn ingredients.
- Leave for at least 30 minutes to thicken.
For the humitas:
- Take 2 corn husks and lay them so that half of one lies on the half of the other.
- Place 2 good tablespoons of the corn mixture in the centre of the husks.
- To a small frying pan, on a low heat, add the ají, olives, onion, achiote oil and salt.
- Fry, stirring constantly, for a couple of minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- For each humita, make a dent in the centre of the corn mix and add 1 chicken piece and one slice of egg.
- From the fried mixture, add a slice of ají, 2 olive halves and a few onion slices.
- Put a further 2 tablespoons of the corn mixture on the top and press the whole thing into a rectangle.
- Fold one corn husk over the mixture and the other husk over that.
- Tie one of the open ends with the nylon thread or raffia, about 5 cm from the end.
- Do the same with the other end and wrap the humita lengthwise with the thread.
- When all of the humitas have been made, place them in a wide pan (or two separate ones) so that they all lie on the base of the pan.
- Add enough hot water to just cover the humitas, cover, and boil for 20 minutes.
- Unfold the humitas and serve warm.
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