Humita - the moist cornbread served in a leaf

Humita in Loja Ecuador photographed by Nathaly Poma
Humita in Loja, Ecuador; photo by Nathaly Poma

Peel back the wrap of a warm humita and enjoy the aroma! Follow that with a forkful of flavor. Many Lojanos will start their day with this traditional breakfast food that has a Quechua name.

A basic humita corn cake from the Ecuadorian Andes is made using ground fresh corn, milk or cream, salt, and a fat such as lard. Additional flavorings can then make the humitas sweet (dulce) by adding raisons or cheese, or they can be made savory by including onions and/or garlic. What makes the dish unique is that, after mixing, the dough is wrapped in corn husks and steamed to cook it.

One might assume that mountains would not be a good location for growing corn but mountains have valleys with deep and fertile soils which are excellent for the cultivation of maize. Corn has a long history in South America, and its importance, can be understood by the fact that when Spaniards arrived they demanded taxes from their subjects be paid in corn.

Why not start your day with a warm corn cake and a cup of coffee?


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