Tuesday, June 29, 2010

RECIPE - Pamonha

In yesterday's Flavors of Brazil, I posted a recipe for a sweet corn pudding called canjica. In that article there was a link to a video from Folha de S. Paulo, a national newspaper in Brazil. The video was a demonstration of the process of making canjica by a charming woman named Dona Antônia, who recently won a culinary competition during the festas juninas in Northeastern Brazil.

Dona Antônia deserves a return appearance here on Flavors of Brazil. Even though she only speaks Portuguese and consequently many readers of this blog won't understand her, she is so delightful that I can't resist linking to another of her videos on the Folha de S. Paulo website.

The competition that Dona Antônia won was a search for the best pamonha maker in the Northeast of Brazil. Pamonhas are similar to Mexican tamales and are associated with the festas juninas, although they are popular year round. A few months ago pamonhas were featured on Flavors of Brazil, although at that time, no recipe was published. So to remedy that lack, and to give Dona Antônia another opportunity to shine, here is a link to her video demonstration of pamonha making, followed by the recipe itself.

VIDEO

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RECIPE - Pamonha
Makes 12

12 ears very fresh corn
4 Tbsp. sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup cold whole milk
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Cut off the bases of the ears of corn, then carefully shuck them, taking care not to rip the husks if possible. Reserve the husks. Remove all the silk from the cobs, then trim them.

Grate the ears of corn over a large container, then pour the liquid through a sieve, pressing down on the solids to extract all the juice. Stir the sugar and salt into the corn juice until dissolved, then add the milk. Reserve.

Trim the corn husks into equal sized rectangles (see examples on video). Using a corn cob as a mold, wrap the cob in at at least four husks, remove the cob, and tie one end of the package of husks securely with kitchen twine. (see demonstration on video). Carefully fill each package with the liquid corn mixture, then tie the other end of the package with twine tightly.

Bring a large quantity of water to boil in a stockpot or other large saucepan. Lower heat, then carefully place the packages in simmering water to cover. Partially cover the stockpot or pan, and let the pamonhas simmer for one hour. When done, remove the pamonhas from the water and let them drain thoroughly. Serve hot or at room temperature.

11 comments:

  1. I tried so many times to make pamonha in the United States however something about the corn here does not let it thicken. I heard once there was a remedy for this problem but I don't know what it is. If anyone can help me to solve this mystery I would appreciate it!

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  2. I'm not a chemist, and don't know any proven remedy, but I have noticed that corn in the USA is MUCH sweeter than here in Brazil. Perhaps it's something to do with the sugar. Maybe if you tried using older, less sweet corn you'd have better luck. I don't have antything more concrete to give you, so I hope this helps.

    Cheers,
    JAMES

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  3. dear M, I think you can add a little corn flour to your recipe to make it become thicker...

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  4. M, use corn starch. That's what i do and they turn out great

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  5. Thanks for the tip, Kaike! It makes sense to me - glad it works.
    JAMES

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  6. HI, you don't need to add Milk, instead add 2 tbsp of butter it's super good.

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  7. M,
    Your right it is the corn. You need to use field corn not the corn that is sold in the stores. If you can find a farmer and buy some corn from him/her. Also use veg. oil instead of milk and drop a little bit of cheese in the middle before cooking.

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  8. It looks like the problem's been solved - thanks to readers of Flavors of Brazil. I hadn't thought about the difference between sweet corn and field corn, but now that Lil's proposed field corn as a solution I realize that the corn on the cob that's eaten here in Brazil is closer to field corn than it is to North American sweet corn. Thanks all, for you contributions!
    JAMES

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  9. you need field corn. sweet corn won't work even if you add corn starch.

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