Pamonha is a traditional Brazilian dish that is made with freshly grated corn made into a paste and tightly wrapped around a fresh husk of corn and then boiled or steamed to cook.
Pamonha comes in a variety of forms and flavors all over Brazil where it can either be plain, savoury (filled with meat), or sweet (filled with milk).
Origin & Cultural Significance
The term pamonha was said to be derived from a Tupi-Guarani dialect word “pa’muna”, which means sticky, or “apa-mimoia” meaning wrapped and cooked. A few references are found about the consumption of this dish during the middle of the 18th century but it is only in the 19th century where recipes about pamonha were documented properly.
The very first definition of Pamonha was published in Rio de Janeiro in the book by Braz da Costa Rubim entitled “Vocabulario Brasileiro” (Brazilian Vocabulary) in 1853. It is mentioned in the book that pamonha is a “cake made with cornmeal, or rice flour, cassava, starch, sugar and milk, used in the fields”.
The dish has presented various techniques and ingredients used in the preparation throughout history and is traditionally consumed any time of the year in Brazil. There is one particular festivity in the northeast of the country, the Festa Junita, where pamonha are abundantly served and associated with.
This festival, which starts on the 13th of June each year, is a commemoration of the harvested crops and the beginning of the Brazilian winter.
Corn, being one of the major and most abundant harvested crops at this time, is popular among the various dishes prepared during the celebration. One of the most popular corn dishes served is the pamonha.
- Corn masa flour (Maseca) - ½ cup
- Ears of corn - 12 pcs
- White sugar - 3 cups
- Coconut milk - 2 cups
- Grated coconut - 80g
- Butter (melted) - 3 tbps
- Salt - ½ tsp
- Fresh corn husks (for wrapping)
- Corn straw (for tying)
- Remove the husks from each corn and wash. In a saucepan, place the corn and add water then bring to a boil.
- Let it simmer for about 3 minutes. Once cooked, drain the water and set it aside.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the kernel of the corn from the cobs. Place the kernels in a blender with 1 cup of coconut milk and blend together until it forms a paste.
- Add the remaining 1 cup of milk, the corn masa flour, grated coconut, sugar, butter and salt then blend again until the mixture is thick and smooth. Set aside.
- Blanch the washed corn husks in boiling water for a few seconds until soft and pliable. Remove from the hot water and wash under cold running water then pat dry with a paper towel.
- Cut the husks and shape them into a rectangle. Place a portion of the blended mixture in the centre of the husk and fold over the sides still in a rectangular form to enclose the corn filling.
- Tie and secure the wrap with the corn straw on both sides. Repeat the same process with the remaining mixture.
- In a large pot, fill it with water and bring to a boil. Place the wrapped pamonhas on the pot fully submerged in the water then cover.
- Let them cook for 45 minutes until the colour of the husks turns yellowish.
- Drain the pamonhas and serve.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1377Total Fat: 44gSaturated Fat: 33gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 437mgCarbohydrates: 252gFiber: 11gSugar: 172gProtein: 16g