I was lucky to have the good fortune of growing up in an area of Texas that was equally populated by Salvadorenos as much as Mexicans. So, pupusas were a real thing for me growing up, as much as tacos. Though, I always preferred pupusas on nearly every time I was given a choice.
Pupusas are a traditional food from El Salvador. You can think of them as stuffed corn tortillas, flat Cornish pasties, or as the burrito’s better looking brother. Traditionally, there is a fair amount of oil, cheese, and pork included but I am excluding those. I am using moxerella in place of quesillo. FYI, loroco is a kick butt flower that goes great with the cheese.
Yes, they are vegan but you won’t notice
Servings (4-8 people)
1-2 cans of beans (1 black & 1 pinto is my choice)
1/2 diced onion
1/2 cup loroco or rice
1tbsp of amino acid
4 cups of masa harina
2 cups of vegetable stock
1-4 cups of vegan Moxerella
How To Cook
ProTip: So, there is a real art to making pupusas. It comes in when you are stuffing the dumpling. The first times you make pupusas, you won’t need but 1 can of beans since the pupusas are going to be very thick and far from perfect. Once you get rolling, you will need the 2nd can of beans to give you enough volume for the masa. Either way, make 2 cans and save the rest for toppings for potatoes or as a side on another day.
Making The Pupusa Filling
First, go ahead and put a little bit of the vegetable stock in a pan and add the onions. Stir occasionally until they clarify. Lower the heat…
Put the 2 cans of beans into the blender and pulse away. They should be looking like refried beans at some point but I like to stop when I can still some beans. If they are to think and won’t blend, go ahead and add some veggie stock until it starts blending. You don’t want them watery, just well blended.
Once the beans are blended, go ahead and add them to the onions in the pan. Stir well and return to medium heat. The thicker they are, the better. As you are stirring, add in the moxerella to the mix. You want it to be thick. I’ve seen street pupusa vendors use everything from refried bean consistancy to Play-Doh look and feel. Honestly, the Play-Doh look and feel makes the stuffing much easier. It’s at this point, if you wanted to add rice or any other cooked vegetable to the mix you could. I prefer adding a fair amount of cilantro myself.
While that’s on a low heat reducing, time to make the masa. Take a large bowl and pour the 4 cups of masa in. Then, pour 2 cups of vegetable stock that you heated up to warm over the masa, and stir. The masa is best when it’s a bit on the sticky wet side. Dry masa will break and be significantly harder to roll them out.
Rolling The Masa
Take a larger than an egg sized piece of masa out. Place it in your palm and push a deep dimple in the center. Then, thin the edges out so you have a sort of pancake in your hand or a dumpling.
Filling The Pupusa
Next, take a spoon full of the filling and place it in the center of the dumpling. Go ahead and fold up the pupusa into a sort of dumpling. It does help to wet your hands at this stage. Makes working masa much easier. Pat the dumpling down until it’s the size and shape of say a burger.
Go ahead and toss them hardish onto a very hot non-stick pan. They should hiss and sizzle a little bit at first. This is good. Cook for 5-10 minutes on each side and until the color gets the way you want it. Everyone has a different “perfect” look of doneness. You will probably see a bit of blackness and this is where the masa tastes spectacular.
How To Eat
Honestly, there is no wrong way to eat pupusas. Traditionally, it’s served with curtido which is an amazing tasting pickled cabbage salad. I personally prefer just a bright but spicy red sauce or thin salsa. You can eat them hot or cold. They age incredibly well in the fridge and if you are single, you can easily make a few hearty and incredibly healthy meals in advance. I’ll be eating this for days and have a fair amount of beans left over to add to other meals.