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Bolivian Quinoa Humintas (Tamales)

In South America, tamales are traditionally eaten in the Andean countries where there is a concentrated Indian population. Each country has its own way of preparing and naming them. In Bolivia, they are called humintas and are either boiled or steamed in corn husks. This version, seasoned with anise, cinnamon, and yellow pepper paste, is stuffed with a creamy cheese and quinoa filling. Quinoa, an ancient super-nutritious grain once considered the “gold of the Incas,” is a source of complete protein and important in the Andean diet. It is now sold in most U.S. supermarkets. Serve these as an appetizer or as a side dish with grilled poultry or fish with hot salsa.

Bolivian Quinoa Humintas (Tamales)
  • Prep Time
  • Cooking Time
  • Skill Level
    Challenging
  • Makes
    12
    tamales
Other Suggestions

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg. (4 oz.) dried corn husks
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2/3 cup (5 fl.-oz. can) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon anise seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon hot yellow pepper paste or puree
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Chihuahua, mozzarella or Muenster cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Instructions

SOAK 12 large or 24 small corn husks in warm water for at least 1 hour or until softened and easy to fold. (A plate placed on top of husks will help in keeping husks submerged.) Set aside remaining dry husks; they will be used later in recipe.

HEAT butter in small skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes or until tender.

PLACE quinoa in a food processor; cover. Pulse a few times until coarsely ground. Add evaporated milk, cooked onion, quinoa, eggs, sugar, salt, anise, cinnamon, pepper paste and cheeses. Pulse until well blended. (The batter will be somewhat thick.)

PLACE one large or two small soaked corn husks overlapped on work surface. Spread 1/3 cup filling, using back of spoon, to form a square in the center of the lower half of husk(s). Fold left edge over filling. Fold pointy end of husk and tuck in while folding over right edge (one end will be open). Tie with strip of corn husk or twine. Repeat with remaining dry husks and filling.

PLACE vegetable steamer in large pot; add water to just below steamer. Arrange tamales upright in steamer rack. Cover top of tamales with remaining dry husks and a damp towel; cover with lid. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Steam, adding water as needed, for about 30 to 45 minutes or until filling pulls away from the husks. Serve warm.