Humitas are prepared with the large kernel Andean corn called choclo, which you can often find in the frozen section of Latin food markets. Cilantro gives these humitas verdes their trademark bright green color.
Humitas can be prepared plain, or filled with a combination of cheese, roast pork, olives, hard boiled eggs, or roast chicken - it's up to you!
- 4 cups fresh or frozen (and thawed) corn kernels (choclo if available)
- 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 cup (packed) fresh cilantro leaves
- 2 teaspoons aji amarillo chile pepper paste
- 1/4 cup lard or vegetable shortening
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Filling of choice (optional)
- Dried corn husks
- Place the chopped onion in a skillet with the butter and chile pepper paste and sauté until onion is soft and translucent.
- Place the corn kernels in a blender with the cilantro and process until smooth, adding a little bit of milk if necessary. Add the cooked onion and blend until smooth.
- Add the lard to the skillet with the corn mixture and cook for several minutes over medium heat, until lard is melted, and the mixture is thick enough to mound into piles. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Briefly dip the dried corn husks into the boiling water to soften them, then dry them with a dish towel.
- Take one husk, or two small husks overlapped, and lay them flat, with the wider cut edges lined up together. Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the corn mixture onto the wide end of the husk. Add a filling in the middle of the mixture if desired, making sure the filling is mostly surrounded by the corn mixture.
- Fold one side of the husk over the corn mixture. Fold the pointy end of the husks down and tuck in, along with the opposite ends, then fold the other long side over. Secure with a piece of string if desired.
- Place husks, seam side down, in the pot of boiling water, on top of a rack. Layer the humitas in a criss cross fashion on the rack. The humitas should not touch the boiling water.
- Cover the humitas with some of the unused husks, then cover with the lid of the pot.
- Steam for 20 -30 minutes, adding a little water if necessary to prevent the pot from boiling dry.
- Remove from heat. Let cool slightly before unwrapping and serving.
Makes about 10 tamales
Note: If using fresh corn from the cob, reserve the corn husks for wrapping the tamales. The corn cobs can be used to make steaming rack as well.