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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Perfectly Pleasing Pupusas

Perhaps you have not had "pupusas" before. They are a traditional dish from El Salvador... restaurants that sell them are called pupuserias (say that out loud... it's a great word!) For gringos, I guess I would call them "stuffed tortillas." Whatever you call them, they are muy deliciosas.

And surprisingly easy to make. I have made them twice, just to make sure I got it right. You can really have some fun with the fillings... the first time I filled them with a mix of sauteed chopped vegetables and black beans topped with some white cheese, and tonight I filled them with black beans, green chiles and cheddar. Both times I topped them with a creamy sauce made out of one part pico de gallo and one part sour cream. Nummy nummy! I'm already thinking about future filling ingredients... corn, diced tomatoes, zucchini, cilantro, pinto beans, just cheese...

P.S. I got this recipe from Vegetarian Times. They come through once again! This is gluten-free eating with no sacrifice whatsoever.

serves 4-6


4 cups masa harina (I use Maseca brand)
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup cooked black beans
small can diced green chiles
cheese: cheddar, monterey jack or cotija
vegetables oil

1. Combine masa harina, cumin, baking powder and salt in bowl. Stir in 3 cups warm water and form soft dough. Cover with a damp paper towel and let stand for at least 30 minutes.

2. Pull out a heavy flat-bottom skillet. (I use my cast iron skillet). Put in 2 tsp of oil and turn on medium heat (not too hot). Keep an eye on this. Don't let the oil smoke.

3. Tear off two large sheets of wax paper. Roll up a golf-ball sized lump of masa dough, then squeeze between a folded sheet of wax paper. Mash it with the flat of your hand until the masa is about 4-5 inches across. (Be patient ~ this might take a little practice).

4. Spoon in about a tablespoon of beans, a teaspoon of chiles, and sprinkle with some grated cheese. (Add a few drops of hot sauce if you want a little fire). I also sprinkled some garlic salt over the filling.

5. Repeat the process with the golf-ball sized lump of dough with the other sheet of wax paper. Pick it up and gently place it on top of the first tortilla with filling. Peel off the wax paper. Pinch the edges, gently squeezing out the air pockets. (Again, this might take a little practice. Be patient ~ it is worth it!!)

6. Place completed pupusa in skillet, cooking it 5-6 minutes, turning it over a couple of times. You can cook 3 at a time. Place cooked pupusas in a warm towel on a plate until you're done cooking all of them.

Top pupusas with crema salsa or pico de gallo. If you want to be truly legit, google "curtido," a slaw type of side dish that they are served with in pupuserias. Regardless, they are so-o-o-o-o-o good you will need to remind yourself to chew slowly and enjoy the flavor.


  1. Totally doing this Kelly! Awesome. Pupusas rule!

  2. It would be a kick to make with your kids, choosing their own fillings... Pupusas Forever!

  3. I eat the papusas on the street corners here, but I never thought that I could MAKE them...perhaps with a little picamas : )

  4. OK, it's on next week's menu plan for Wednesday. Cross your fingers...