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Huminta: A Bolivian Delight | Sortachef

Huminta: A Bolivian Delight

I’ve never been to Bolivia, but I’ve been many times to the Copacabana Café in the Pike Place Market. A South American beer tastes fine there on one of those perfect Seattle afternoons, when mountains come out to stand boldly against a wondrously blue sky. Okay, they’re not the Andes. But perched there on the Copacabana’s deck, with the sun streaming down and a view over the great colorful pageantry of the market, I’m the happiest man in the whole wide world!

Buskers at Copacabana's Post Alley doorway

The Salad Queen and I went for lunch at the Copacabana on our wedding day many summers ago, back when the market was not so well known and was, well, kind of hippy dippy. We sat out in the sun, with beer and Huminta, and forgot for the moment the cake, the minister, the family. We donned cheap sunglasses and let out exaggerated sighs. We clutched each other’s hands and squeezed. On a rooftop across the way, a one-armed man watered flowers.      

Over the years, while the market has become world famous, the Copacabana has changed hardly at all. Starbucks may be global, but there is still only one Bolivian restaurant in Seattle. In the same time that Sur la Table has branched out into all the best shopping districts and the guys who chuck the fish have gone viral, the restaurant has retained its humble feel, with plastic tables on its skinny deck, basic Bolivian offerings, sliced baguettes in paper-napkined baskets and a down-to-earth wait staff. If cruise ship passengers have overtaken the hippies on the street below, nobody seems to notice.

When we go, we stay away from the meatier entrees on the menu and gravitate to the soups and salads on the page with the a la carta offerings. I’m a fan of the Sopa de Camerones, a spicy soup laden with tiny shrimp. The Salad Queen (go figure!) likes the Ensalada Copacabana with avocadoes and shredded radish, but has also been known to sample the black bean salad and the humps of potato with peanut sauce, or Papas a la Huancaina. It’s all very fresh and healthy.

Our downfall is always Huminta, described on the menu as corn pie topped with cheese, which we order every time. It’s just that good. Think: corn bread meets soufflé, with a lovely cheesy topping.  Here’s my take on it.

 

Huminta: A Bolivian Treat

Makes 6 servings

½ cup yellow corn meal

½ cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

¾ teaspoon salt

1 – 15 ounce can whole kernel sweet corn

½ cup milk

¼ cup canola oil

2 eggs

4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese

½ teaspoon mild chili powder

An 8×8 square glass baking pan, buttered  

 

  1. Preheat oven to 375º. Dry mix the corn meal, flour, baking powder and salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl.

    Dry mix with corn folded in

  2. In a food processor, pulse the kernels of corn with 3 Tablespoons of the packing liquid for 15 seconds. Fold into the dry mixture.
  3. Stir in the milk and oil until just moistened.
  4. Whisk two eggs until frothy and add them to the batter, stirring until incorporated but not beating. As with biscuits, the batter should be slightly lumpy to create a crumby texture.
  5. Pour batter into buttered 8×8 glass baking pan and bake for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven, top with sliced cheese, sprinkle on chili powder and return to the oven to bake a further 10 minutes until cheese is lightly browned.
  7. Let cool for 10 minutes, slice into 6 pieces and serve hot.

 

Huminta goes extremely well with a fresh green salad, preferably one with avocado. Oh, and some South American beer would be great, too, if you have some. And if you happen to be down at the Pike Place Market in Seattle on a sunny day, you can sample the original. Just be sure to bring sunglasses!

The deck at the Copacabana. Tables available!

26 comments to Huminta: A Bolivian Delight

  • I like the ingredients in that Humanita. It looks moist…as a savory side? I can almost taste it from that great image. I’d like to try it!

  • Being a Chilean, there is a version called Humitas made in the corn husks. So delicious. It has been ages since I last had it.Nice post.

  • posy

    How did you know I’ve been looking for a recipe for this for years?

  • Love the recipe! Definitely must try :)

  • What a wonderful treat. Thank you for sharing your adventure and this special recipe.

  • Sounds pretty awesome to me. I’m a corn-a-holic!

  • How funny, I made this several years ago from a recipe called ‘creamy corn casserole’. I had no idea it was Bolivian! I totally forgot about it too – thanks for reminding me. It was super delicious. I’ll have to make it again.

  • I have always wanted to check that place out. I think I just might. :)

  • Oh Yes!!!! i love this dish and have had it before, but never the recipe. Thanks so much for posting this.

  • This looks interesting. I do like corn.

  • This is the first that I have read of huminta. It sounds so interesting. Thanks for broadening my horizons! :)

  • Claudia

    My mother is Bolivian and my father is Colombian. This dish was a required staple at all special gatherings and holiday meals. We add 1 tsp of anise extract (or boil a few anise seeds in a little bit of water) to the mix for that special “what is that flavor?” flavor.

    So cool to see someone make a post about such an important dish :P

  • wow, I’ve never heard of huminitas but it looks positively yummy! I am definitely going to visit this place. thanks for the review!

  • [...] Huminta (Adapted from WoodFiredKitchen) [...]

  • I’m doing a 50 Countries, 1 Year challenge on my blog, and this works perfectly. Thank you!

  • lori lively

    One of (the Copacabana’s) former employees made this for us, this morning and we are all LOVING huminta now. I would like to request permission to reprint this recipe in our monthly magazine, Sound Outlook. to view a current issue, go to http://www.marlenesmarket-deli.com. We would give full attribution, of course.

    thanks, let me know!

  • [...] Huminta: A Bolivian Delight « SortachefJune 1st, 2010 | Tags: Bolivia, Bolivian Corn Pie, Bolivian restaurant, Copacabana Cafe, Downtown Seattle, Huminta, Pike Place Market, Seattle, Sortachef, sortachef recipe | Category: Baking in a Conventional Oven, Restaurant reviews, Sortachef’s recipes, Vegetarian Dishes… [...]

  • Ashly

    I’m eatting an huminta now. My aunt cooks the best ones. It looks better than that image. Very delightful :)

  • sjnmd

    Had a college roommate from Bolivia–she gave me her recipe for Humintas (her spelling). Have made it for 36 years and tonight could not find the recipe card. Hers called for 3 cans of corn, one (or 2?) kernels and 1 (or 2 ?) creamed, egg, a box of Jiffy cornbread mix, a can of evaporated milk and slices of Swiss cheese spread on top. Baked at 350 in a 9×13 pan. Can’t remember how many eggs, the exact corn mix and if I’m leaving out anything important. I also added chopped onion and a little honey…
    Would love to find her again, her name is Ana Maria de Col from LaPaz, she went back to Bolivia after graduation from Northern Illinois University.

  • Knecht

    I had no idea that there were people who like our bolivian humintas in Seattle! ;) hey “sjnmd”, Ana Maria de Col is my bestfriend’s aunt, she lives in La Paz, if you want i can help you to get in touch with her!!
    Greetings from La Paz!
    ru_salinass@hotmail.com

  • Juan Pablo

    Hi there, mi mother just finished making her huminta, but it didnt come out quite pasty as it should. She made it in a steam oven.

    Does someone know why it didnt come out more pasty and thick ?

    Much appreciated

  • evey

    Not a real huminta which is made with *fresh* sweet creamed corn, fresh white cheese, a little milk, a bit of sugar, wrapped in corn husks and steamed…yum. But i like the attempt at this. Good job. Can someone post the authentic recipe? Pretty please? :-)

  • Sergio Liras

    You should try the real original ‘humintas’ made by the Incas, in Cuzco you get some of the best, each white tender corn grain peeled individually by skilled hands, then pressed with a ‘batan’ or stone until pureed, it is not the same as the coarse batter you get from food processing yellow corn with flour which the Incas never had, you can tell by the preparation and ingredients that the ‘bolivian’ huminta as the ‘chilean’ pisco is just a misunderstanding, both, huminta and pisco, are peruvian.

  • Silvia

    Humintas are an amazing side for strong flavored meats too! And having one fresh with a hot coffee in the mornings is pure hapiness for me :)
    But seriously @Sergio Liras, would you guys stop it with the narrow-mindedness? Yes, original humintas are made with white fresh corn pressed in a batan (millingstone), yes it is an old Andean recipe, and it has as many local variations as many towns inside Chile, Bolivia, Perú and Argentina, I had it, salted, sweet, with anis, with herbs, with meat, with cheese, and now I will try it with Jiffy cornbread mix, why? because that’s the local way to make it, any of these is as good and original as any other.
    As a favor to yourself check an Inca’s empire map and see if saying peruvian applies.

  • [...] P.S. We also shared HUMINTA – a bolivian treat – corn pie, topped with cheese;  Copacabana restaurant at Pike Place Market has been serving it for decades, and this recipe comes from Wood  Fired Kitchen: [...]

  • Marcos

    My father is Bolivian and my mother is Cuban and the greatest cook. Humintas are one of my all time favorites (next to salteñas…those are out of this world). My mother would also add anise in it somewhere along the line. She too topped it off with cheese…I believe mozzarella. OMG GOOD!

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