Pupusas de El Salvadoreño
July 28, 2017
"My favorite restaurant on earth is a humble little Salvadoran place in a not-so-good neighborhood in San Diego. Why? Their pupusas! I've spent hours watching them make these little beauties - and of course hours partaking in their goodness! Pupusas are masa cakes filled with any variety of things. Topped with a non-spicy tomato salsa and a heaping topping of curtido (pickled coleslaw). Heaven on earth! These are a little labor intensive, but well worth the time to make them. Both the salsa and the curtido can be prepared a day in advance. There are many VARIATIONS of fillings: the ones in my recipe are called "Pupusas Revueltas" meaning a mixture of ingredients. They do just cheese, just beans, just cheese and beans, chicken, chicharon, cheese and loroco (if you can find this, it's different and delicious!). In San Diego, they'll even add fresh jalapeno slices if you ask nicely!"
- Note: Unlike Mexicans, Central Americans typically don't like spicy food. Being Mexican, I do! If you want some heat, add 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes to the Curtido ingredients, and/or 2 chopped serrano chiles to the Salsa ingredients.
- FOR CURTIDO
- FOR SALSA DE TOMATE
- FOR PUPUSAS
- Chicharron: is NOT pork rinds! If your Hispanic market has a prepared foods section, they probably carry it. If not, all it is is a nice piece of pork belly, seasoned with salt and roasted or pan fried till crispy and cooked through.
- Serving Size: 1 (366.4 g)
- Calories 259.5
- Total Fat - 4.8 g
- Saturated Fat - 1.5 g
- Cholesterol - 5.6 mg
- Sodium - 768.5 mg
- Total Carbohydrate - 44.9 g
- Dietary Fiber - 7.6 g
- Sugars - 6.3 g
- Protein - 11.5 g
- Calcium - 197.8 mg
- Iron - 4.3 mg
- Vitamin C - 56.9 mg
- Thiamin - 0.7 mg
TO MAKE THE CURTIDO
Place the cabbage in a large heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water for 1 minute. Drain well and return to bowl.
Add 1/4 cup cold water along with the remaining curtido ingredients. Combine well and refrigerate, covered, for at least 2 hours. This step can be done the day before.
TO MAKE THE SALSA
Place the tomatoes, onion, clove and water in a blender container. Optional: add the serranos, if using. Blend until smooth.
Heat the oil on medium high heat and pour the salsa into the pan. It will sputter and splash - so be careful here! Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add the vinegar and bouillon powder and continue at a slow boil for about 10 minutes, or until the salsa is reduced by half. Allow the salsa to come down to room temperature.
TO MAKE THE PUPUSAS
Prepare the pupusa dough according to the package directions using 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 2 3/4 cups of the water. Mix thoroughly to make a very soft dough, adding a little bit of water at a time if it is too dry. Let rest for about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a bowl combine the chicharron, cheese and refried beans. Set aside.
Form dough into about 12 golf ball-sized balls and pat each one into a round about 1/3 inch thick. Place one tablespoon of the chicharron mixture in the center of each round. Fold edges of masa up around the filling and press edges together to seal. Carefully pat each pupusa between your hands to a thickness of 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick, making sure the filling doesn't start to poke through.
This takes practice and your first one will probably look terrible! Moisten your hands if the dough is very sticky.
Heat a cast iron griddle or large frying pan until very hot. Lightly brush griddle with canola oil (or rub an oil-soaked paper towel). Cook pupusas until browned, about 3-5 minutes per side.
Serve pupusas with curtido and salsa at the table so everyone can garnish their own. I also like Salvadoran crema (like creme fraiche) as a topping.
Tips & Variations
- Cast iron griddle or large fry pan