What is Pamonha?

June 21, 2024


Pamonha is a traditional Brazilian dish that is made from ground corn and cooked in corn husks. It is a popular food in many regions of Brazil, especially in the Northeast and Southeast. Pamonha can be sweet or savory, depending on the ingredients used in the recipe. In this glossary, we will explore the origins of pamonha, its ingredients, preparation methods, and variations.

Origins of Pamonha

The origins of pamonha can be traced back to indigenous tribes in Brazil, who used corn as a staple food in their diet. The word “pamonha” is believed to have originated from the Tupi-Guarani language, meaning “sticky” or “pasty.” Over time, pamonha became a popular dish among settlers and slaves in Brazil, who adapted the recipe to include ingredients like sugar, cheese, and meat.


The main ingredient in pamonha is corn, which is ground into a fine paste and mixed with other ingredients like sugar, cheese, and coconut milk. Some variations of pamonha also include meat, such as pork or chicken. The corn husks are used to wrap the mixture before cooking, giving pamonha its distinctive shape and flavor.

Preparation Methods

To prepare pamonha, the corn is first ground into a paste using a food processor or blender. The other ingredients are then mixed in, creating a thick and creamy mixture. The corn husks are soaked in water to soften them before wrapping the pamonha mixture inside. The wrapped pamonhas are then steamed or boiled until cooked through.


There are many variations of pamonha, depending on the region and personal preferences. Sweet pamonha is made with sugar, coconut milk, and sometimes cheese, giving it a creamy and slightly sweet flavor. Savory pamonha, on the other hand, includes ingredients like cheese, meat, and spices for a more savory taste. Some regions also make pamonha with different types of corn, such as white or yellow corn.

Popular in Festivals

Pamonha is a popular dish during festivals and celebrations in Brazil, such as Festa Junina, a traditional Brazilian festival that celebrates the harvest season. Pamonha is often served alongside other traditional foods like canjica and paçoca, creating a festive and delicious spread for guests to enjoy. Many street vendors also sell pamonha during these festivals, offering a convenient and tasty snack for attendees.

Health Benefits

Despite being a rich and indulgent dish, pamonha does offer some health benefits. Corn is a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making pamonha a nutritious and filling meal. The addition of ingredients like cheese and meat also provides protein and calcium, essential nutrients for a balanced diet. However, it is important to enjoy pamonha in moderation, as it can be high in calories and fat.


In conclusion, pamonha is a delicious and versatile dish that has been enjoyed in Brazil for centuries. Whether sweet or savory, pamonha is a comforting and satisfying meal that can be enjoyed on its own or as part of a larger spread. By understanding the origins, ingredients, preparation methods, and variations of pamonha, you can appreciate the rich cultural heritage and culinary traditions of Brazil. So next time you’re looking for a tasty and unique dish to try, consider making or ordering pamonha for a truly authentic Brazilian experience.

Tatiana Cesso

As a journalist, I've made it my mission to explore and share stories that inspire, inform, and entertain. You may have stumbled upon my work in esteemed publications such as InStyle, Marie Claire, Bazaar, L’Officiel, and Vogue, among others. Having called the U.S. home since 2010, I've lived in Chicago, LA, and currently, Miami. But my heart always beats to the rhythm of Brazil. It's where I was born and raised, and my love for its culture, people, and energy knows no bounds. To share this passion, I've founded Brazilcore, a platform aimed at bridging the gap between Brazil and English speakers worldwide.