Pamonha (Portuguese pronunciation: [paˈmõȷ̃ɐ]) is a traditional Brazilian food. It is a paste made from fresh corn and milk, boiled wrapped in corn husks.
Variations may include coconut milk. Pamonhas can be savoury or sweet, the latter being the norm in north-east Brazil. They can be filled with cheese, sausage, peppers or be natural. Roadside restaurants specializing in pamonha and other corn dishes are common in Northeast Region Brazil.

The name pamonha comes from Tupi language pa'muña meaning "sticky".

In popular culture

It is associated with Festa Junina winter celebrations.

The use of stewed corn husks as a container is said to have started in the 1960s, in the city of Piracicaba in the state of São Paulo. Starting from a small cottage business, Ms. Vasti Rodrigues opened the first pamonha factory in Piracicaba. She was followed by her sister Noemi, who by the 1970s was producing over 5000 pamonhas per day, besides other maize products such as curau and corn cakes. Their success was due in good part to Dirceu Bigelli, an entrepreneur who set up a fleet of vans to peddle the Piracicaba pamonhas all over the state. The vans would drive slowly through city streets, playing the same taped recording, over and over:

Pamonhas, pamonhas
Pamonhas de Piracicaba
Venha provar, é uma delícia!
É o puro creme do milho verde!
Pamonhas, pamonhas, pamonhas!

Pamonhas, pamonhas
Pamonhas from Piracicaba
Come taste it, it's delicious!
Pure sweet corn cream!
Pamonhas, pamonhas, pamonhas!

Later a longer version of the recording was also used:

Pamonhas, pamonhas, pamonhas
São as deliciosas pamonhas de Piracicaba
Pamonhas fresquinhas, pamonhas caseiras
Feitas com o puro creme do milho verde!
Temos curau, pamonhas e bolo de milho
Venha provar minha senhora, é uma delícia!
Pamonhas, pamonhas, pamonhas!

Pamonhas, pamonhas, pamonhas
It's the delicious pamonha of Piracicaba
Really fresh home-made pamonhas
Made with pure sweet corn cream!
We have curau, pamonhas and corn cake
Come and try them, my lady, they're delicious.
Pamonhas, pamonhas, pamonhas!

Noemi's factory closed during the 1980s, due to family problems and a general economic recession. Vasti Rodrigues, and (after her death) her sons and grandsons have continued producing pamonhas on a smaller scale, into the 2000s. The pamonha peddlers have now largely disappeared from the city of São Paulo, and are growing scarce elsewhere; but the Pamonhas from Piracicaba chant has become part of the local culture.

Other Meanings

The word 'pamonha' is used in some parts of Brazil as a pejorative meaning a cowardly or stupid person.
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