Because my boyfriend requested, and I obsess about learning to cook something that seems challenging when it’s ‘suggested’…whilst being somewhat challenged, I’ve recently learned to make the often coveted Pupusa. What’s a Pupusa you ask? Please see this quote from Wikipedia…
‘A pupusa (from Pipil pupusawa) is a thick, hand-made corn biscuit-like flat bread (made using masa de maíz, a maize flour dough used in Latin American cuisine) that is stuffed with one or more of the following: cheese (queso) (usually a soft cheese called Quesillo found in all Central America), fried pork meat ground to a paste consistency (called chicharrón, not to be confused with fried pork rind which is also known as chicharrón in some other countries), squash (ayote), or (pataste), refried beans (frijoles refritos), or queso con loroco (loroco is a vine flower bud from Central America). There is also the pupusa revuelta with mixed ingredients, such as queso (cheese), frijoles (beans), , and chicharrón or bacon. Pupusas are similar to tortillas and especially to arepas. In fact, in El Salvador, normal tortillas are about the same diameter and thickness as pupusas, without the filling.’
Now, as you read this recipe, and watch this video (you really should watch the video, it helps ALOT to see how to make them)…
you might be slightly intimidated. Truthfully, the first few times I made these, since the masa is somewhat cheap, I did a trial run and threw away ALOT before I actually got them right, and proper enough to serve.
Please don’t let them intimidate you. YOU CAN DO IT!!
Makes approx 10-12 Pupusas
2 lbs chicken or pork
1 cup water
1 onion chopped
1 tbsp chipotle seasoning
1 (10 oz) can enchilada sauce
1 (14.5 oz) can stewed tomatoes, mexican style
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup queso blanco, shredded or crumbled
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
6 cups maseca
5 cups water (approx)
Cut up the pork/chicken in 3 inch pieces. Combine the meat and the next 8 ingredients in a heavy bottomed pot, and summer until the meat is fork tender. Remove the meat from the mixture and shred. Place in a bowl, and set aside. Pour the sauce mixture into a blender, and blend to until smooth. Pour enough sauce into the meat mixture to just make it wet, not soupy. Put the rest of the sauce in an air tight container if you’d like, or discard. (I pour some on top of my pupusa).
Add the cheeses to the meat mixture, mix well to incorporate, and set aside.
In a separate bowl, add the maseca and combine with the water (add about 1 cup at a time). The texture should be soft, but not too wet. (the masa should not crack when pressed down on.) Also, you should have a little vegetable oil on a plate or in a small bowl. Lightly oil your hands before making each pupusa.
Once the masa is mixed well, lightly coat your hands with the oil, and take enough masa to form about a 2 inch ball. Once the ball is made, start flattening it out by using a slapping motion from palm to palm (kind of like a clapping motion). It should flatten out pretty easy and quickly. Cup your hands to make a well in the tortilla, and place the meat mixture in the ‘cup’, about 1 tablespoon. Close the tortilla around the mixture, to make a sort of pouch. Pinch off any excess masa, and add it back to the masa mixture after the pouch is closed. Lightly roll into a ball, and using the same clapping motion as before, flatten the ball to about 5 inches in diameter. It should be about 1/4 inch thick. Keep covered while making the rest, and keep them separated by sheets of parchment paper or a moist papertowel.
You can start cooking the pupusas once you have a few made, and continue to form the others while the first are cooking.
Heat your skillet to med-high heat, and lightly brush with vegetable oil. Cook each pupusa about 4-5 minutes per side.
Serve your pupusa with 1 or all of the following…curtido (recipe below), salsa, or mexican crema.
Curtido is a salvadoran cabbage salad traditionally served with Pupusas.
1 medium head of cabbage
3 cups boiling water
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 carrots, grated
1 jalapeno pepper, sliced
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup water
Place the cabbage in a heat proof bowl and add the boiling water. Let sit for 2 minutes and drain using a colander. Place the cabbage back in the bowl, and add the remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.
The traditional way to eat pupusas with the curtido is to tear off a piece of pupusa and use it to pinch some curtido and eat together.