How to Make the Best Pupusas
El Salvadorans are proud of their Pupusas. This is a type of flatbread that features either rice flour or corn flour. You can stuff it with almost anything that you like. Most people will fill it with cheese, refried beans, squash, or chicharron. Whatever filling you stuff in it, Pupusas are going to be an instant hit among your loved ones and friends. Here’s how to make the best Pupusas.
Make the Curtido
You can never enjoy Pupusa without the Curtido. This is the South American version of the Korean Kimchi or the German sauerkraut. It is a lightly-fermented cabbage slaw. The longer you let it sit, the more exciting the taste and the more complex the flavors.
- Remove the core of a ½ head of green cabbage and shred it. Slice a small piece of white onion and grate 2 medium-sized carrots. Put these ingredients in a bowl and pour about 4 cups of boiling water over the vegetables. Toss the vegetables and leave it for about 10 minutes before draining.
- Combine a cup of distilled white vinegar, 2 teaspoons of Kosher salt, and 1 tablespoon of dried oregano. Mix well. Pour the mixture over the cabbage slaw and toss. Make sure to coat the vegetables well. Transfer the Curtido into an airtight container and chill overnight.
Make the Chicharron
Another important ingredient of the Pupusa is the Chicharron. This is not the kind of chicharon that you may be familiar with. It is not crispy. Instead, it is seasoned pork that El Salvadorans finely shred as stuffing for the Pupusa. Here’s how to make Chicharron for Pupusa.
- Cut a pound of boneless pork shoulder into 1-inch size cubes. Heat a teaspoon of vegetable oil in a skillet. Once hot, put the pork shoulder cubes and sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt. Cook the pork without stirring for about 15 minutes.
- Watch the pork so that it will not brown too fast. If it does, you have to reduce the heat. After 15 minutes, turn each pork cubes and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Transfer the fried pork shoulders into a food processor. Dice a medium-sized tomato and a small white onion. Add these to the pork. Dice ½ of green bell pepper and add to the pork. Turn on the food processor and pulse the ingredients to form a thick paste. Set this aside.
Chicharron is not the only filling for a Pupusa. You can also fill it with other ingredients. You can refry cooked beans to get a cup of filling. You can also prepare a cup of grated mozzarella. Your choice of filling is endless.
Make the Dough
The classic El Salvadoran recipe calls for corn flour. If you are not keen on using such flour, you can substitute it with rice flour. This recipe will allow you to make 18 Pupusas.
- Put 4 cups of corn flour, also called masa harina, in a large bowl and add about 2 teaspoons of salt. Whisk the flour-salt mixture to combine.
- Add small amounts of cold water until you use up about 3 cups. Mix the dough using your hands. Keep on mixing until you get a clay-like dough texture.
Make the Pupusa
Get everything ready by arranging the Chicharron, other filling, and the Pupusa dough on your workstation. Make sure to have a bowl of water handy to wet your fingers. This keeps the Pupusa dough from sticking to the fingers and palm.
- Scoop a Pupusa dough, about the size of a golf ball. Roll it in between your palms before flattening it to a circle.
- Put half a teaspoon of Chicharron in the center of the dough. Add a teaspoon each of refried beans and mozzarella cheese.
- Fold the Pupusa dough to cover the filling. Make sure that the filling is sealed completely. Pat the Pupusa ball with your hands to flatten it. If you notice any cracks, you can patch it with a little Pupusa dough. Continue making the Pupusa.
Cook the Pupusa
Put a griddle pan over medium heat. You can also use a large skillet if you do not have a griddle pan. Brush the surface with vegetable oil. Place about two to three pieces of the flatbread on the griddle pan. Cook these for about 2 to 4 minutes. Once the bottom has turned golden brown, you can flip the Pupusas and cook the other side for another 2 to 4 minutes. Cook the rest of the Pupusas.
Serve the Pupusas with your chilled Curtido.
Making Pupusas at home is easy. You can always add to the ingredients for the filling to suit your preferences. Enjoy!