Ecuadorian food What is the difference between tamal, humita and chibil visitecuadorandsouthamerica (3)

Ecuadorian food: What is the difference between tamal, humita and chibil

Ecuadorian food: What is the difference between tamal, humita, and chibil

Whether you are a foodie or enjoy eating local food wherever you can during your trips, this article is for you!

Due to its location and despite its small size, seafood, fruits, and vegetables abound in Ecuador. Recipes and ingredients are varied, resulting in a variety of tasty traditional dishes in each region.

You can definitely learn a lot about Ecuador through its food.

In this article, we want to discuss three tasty Ecuadorian dishes: humitas, tamales, and chibiles.

About humitas

Humitas are a Native Latin American dish from pre-Hispanic times and a traditional dish of Ecuadorian cuisine.

Ecuadorian humitas are popular in the highland region and are mainly made with ground corn. In addition, depending on the recipe they will have onions, eggs, and spices. After the ingredients are mixed, they are wrapped in a corn husk and then steamed.

Spices vary according to each region and sometimes to each family, the reason why some may contain cheese.

Ecuadorian food Humitas Ecuador

About Tamales

Tamales are made with corn, egg white, and grated cheese. This dough is covered with a mix of onion and garlic refried, and covered with chicken. The dough with the filling goes inside an achira leaf and then it is steamed.

tamales de arroz ecuador ibarra visitecuadorandsouthamerica ecuadorian food (1)

About Chibiles

As you can see below, the Chibil has a different shape than the tamal.

A savory chibil is made with white corn, but with the variety that we have in the highlands of ecuador, called mote. The savory kind is wrapped in the leaf of the plant called huicundo.

A sweet chibil is made with corn but is wrapped in a corn husk.

The Chibil is found mainly in the provinces of Azuay and Cañar in the Highlands of Ecuador, where you find the white corn called mote, and the humitas and tamales are prepared throughout the Highlands of the country.



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What tamal, humita, and chibil taste like

In all three cases, you can make the recipe from scratch by putting the corn in water for 3 days, and changing the water daily. Then grinding it until it becomes really thin.

Now, when it comes to the flavor of the three dishes, due to the variety of con (Ecuadorian corn is less sweet and drier than the corn found in the US), they are depending on the recipe, savory and moist.

All three options are soft, and moist and are perfect as a meal, or together with coffee.


tamal humita chibil ecuador ibarra visitecuadorandsouthamerica ecuadorian food (1)



While doing some research to write this blog post, I found out that in other Latin American countries, they call tamales humitas, but as you can see the humita doesn’t have a filling with food, as the tamal and it is covered in corn leaf.


How and where to eat humitas, tamales, and chibiles



Most people in Ecuador enjoy their humitas during a cafecito or afternoon coffee, or sometimes for breakfast.

Of course, there are some ways to alter or add flavor to them. One includes adding some arrope to them and having them as a delicious dessert.

According to others, a great way to enjoy humitas is with aji or hot sauce.

Humitas are sold at pastry shops, supermarkets, cafes, and restaurants selling traditional food.



If you want to make tamales de arroz at home, this is the recipe.

As with humitas, tamales are also served during a cafecito or afternoon coffee, or sometimes for breakfast; and can be bought in small restaurants and sometimes in supermarkets.

Aji or hot sauce are served with this dish, which is mainly savory adding a special taste to them.


As with humitas and tamales, chibiles are also served during a cafecito or afternoon coffee, or sometimes for breakfast.

They are traditional dishes of the Southern Highlands of Ecuador, so you will only be able to find them in the outskirts of Azuay and Cañar



Humitas tamales y chibiles

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Ecuadorian food What is the difference between tamal, humita and chibil


Want to Learn to make some of these dishes and many more? Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America, This book comprises 500 well-written recipes from all Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America, providing great information and recipes of the exciting food you can prepare at home. At the same time, you plan your visit to South America.

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Ecuadorian food: What is the difference between tamal, humita and chibil

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