Adapted from cooking.nytimes.com
The first time I heard about pupusas was one day when I was walking down the frozen aisle of Whole Foods, looking for frozen meals to have in case of emergency. I had never heard of them but they sounded good. I was not disappointed but now that I have tasted homemade ones, I cannot compare. Pupusas, stuffed and griddled cakes made with masa harina, are Salvadoran street food. I have yet to try pupusas made by an actual Salvadoran but in my unbiased opinion I think these came out really good and will definitely make them again soon! I found the recipe to be simple and pretty straightforward.
Yields about 10 pupusas
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 9 ounces masa harina (about 2 cups)
- 1 ½ cups water
- 12 ounces mozzarella, grated
- In a large bowl, mix the salt into the masa harina. Using your hands, knead the water into the masa harina in a few additions. The dough should feel like stiff mashed potatoes. Lay a large piece of parchment paper on a smooth work surface.
- Roll a 2-ounce ball of dough (about the size of a golf ball) in your hands and pat it down in your hand to form a disc slightly larger than your palm. Put a pile of cheese onto the masa and make sure to leave a little space around the edges. Close your hand to bring the edges of the disc closer and use your other hand to pinch the edges together to enclose the cheese in a rough ball. Use a little more masa to patch any holes. Pat out the pupusas on the prepared parchment paper to form a disc about 4 inches wide. Repeat with the remaining masa and cheese to form more pupusas.
- Grease and heat a large nonstick sauté pan over medium heat. When the oil appears thin, lay the pupusas in the pan and cook until browned in spots, about 4 minutes. Flip the pupusas and cook until browned and cooked through. Serve immediately.
Comments: Like I said before: delicious and simple. What more could you want? Pupusas are traditionally served with curtido, which is like a red cabbage slaw that is aged over three days. Originally, I wasn’t planning on making it because I wasn’t convinced by the red cabbage but my boyfriend insisted that if I didn’t make curtido, I wasn’t making pupusas. At first, I ignored his comment but then I started rethinking it. I had decided to make curtido when I saw I had to let it ferment for three days and I did not have that much time; I had my dad make some grilled veggies instead. I am making a mental note, however, to plan ahead and make it for next time and I will leave some additional comments when I do. I found 12 ounces of cheese to be too much, I think I may have used about half, but it’s better to have extra and than to be short on cheese. When rolling out the balls of dough, you can wet your hands if the dough is sticky. When adding the cheese, it might help to cup your hand slightly. Also, don’t worry about patching up the holes perfectly because any cheese that runs out in the pan will brown and get crispy (delicious!). When cooking the pupusas you can fit more than 1 on the pan at a time; I even used multiple pans to speed up the process so that the pupusas wouldn’t get cold.