Humita: Traditional Flavors from the North West

(Photo by suzienewshoes)

One of the most typical Argentine foods, from the north of the country, is a corn dish called humita. This warming and satisfying dish dates back to pre-Hispanic times, and was an Incan staple, which is why it can be found with different variations along the continent.

In Argentina there are two ways of preparing this dish; one is a la olla (in a pot), and the other en chala (wrapped in corn husks). There is also a  popular variety of corn filled empanadas that are called empanadas de humita.

The recipe for humita is quite simple. It calls for a large amount of grated raw corn (approx. 1 dozen), 1 sautéed onion, 1 red bell pepper, paprika,  ½ cup of basil, ½ cup of lard, goat cheese (optional) and salt. Everything except the cheese is mixed together forming a paste, and then for the chala version two cornhusks are overlapped forming a diamond-like shape and in the center a few spoonfuls of the corn paste are placed along with a square of goat cheese. The husks are folded and tied with a small strip of the corn leaves.  Then the wrapped up humita is introduced into salted boiling water for approximately 45 minutes.  To cook a la olla, the mix, without cheese, must be cooked in a pot for approximately an hour. Many recipes include butternut squash for this version, and milk to make the stirring easier.

We Recommend: El Obrero

(Photo by skampy)

This mythical restaurant in La Boca neighborhood is a classic for visitors looking to taste typical Argentine dishes and great asado!  Decorated with football paraphernalia and antique wooden furniture, the cozy local vibe and great food make El Obrero well worth the visit  although preferably during the day as the area is a little dodgy at night.

 

El Obrero

Caffarena 64, La Boca.

4362-9912

Top 5 Places for Empanadas in Buenos Aires

(Empanada “repulgue” detail by Victor(“,)/life)

 

Empanadas are a popular traditional food that is not only delicious but also easy to eat on the go. As you walk through the city streets you will be sure to find these savory bites in almost every restaurant, and pizza parlor. The fillings vary as does the dough, they may come baked or fried,  and each is characterized by their own special “repulgue” (the sealing of the dough). The typical fillings you are likely to find in most places in include meat (made from ground beef, or meat cubes, spicy or mild), chicken, corn and béchamel (humita), ham and cheese and onion and cheese. Other variations are usually served in specialized empanada houses and may include bacon and plum, caprese, and pumpkin to name a few.

For a taste of the best empanadas in the city we recommend you try the following places:

 

El San Juanino

Defined by their slogan which reads “Eating is a biological action, eating at El Sanjuanino is a cultural one,”  this regional restaurant offers top quality empanadas in a cozy traditional setting.

Their empanadas contain mild meat, spicy meat, ham and cheese, corn, chicken, vegetable, mozzarella, tomato and basil and Roquefort fillings.

Posadas 1515, Recoleta

4804-2909

 

La Morada

Another traditional restaurant that offers a larger variety of empanadas and has a unique setting decorated with retro toys, advertising and games from the 50’s-80’s.

They offer mild meat, spicy meat, chicken, tuna, ham and cheese,  plum and bacon, chard, Roquefort and celery amongst others.

Larrea 1336, Recoleta

4821-6349

 

La Tucumanita

Owned by legend folk singer Mercedes Sosas family, this regional restaurant offers Tucuman style empanadas characterized by being made of chopped meat, potatoes and various spices including cumin amongst others.

Rivadavia 776, Downtown

4345-6588

 

La Fachada

This recycled house in Palermo serves pizza and a very large variety of empanadas including both traditional and unique fillings. Their menu includes empandas filled with red bell peppers and ham, eggplant, and anchovies amongst others.

Araoz 1283, Palermo

4774-6535

 

La Aguada

A traditional restaurant that specialize both in regional empanadas and in one of a kind varieties, which they claim, are the best in Buenos Aires. What can you find here?

A 7 cheese + Roquefort variety, an 8 vegetables kind, and an oversized Italian empanada filled with everything from pepperoni to olives to red bell pepper.

Bilinghurst 1862, Recoleta

4827-9477

 

If you would like to make your own empanadas don’t miss on one of these great cooking classes.