I’ve been a huge fan of pupusas ever since I attended school at USC and discovered them through a woman I worked with in my work study job on campus. Pupusas are an El Salvadorian dish and I never thought of making them on my own until I had the good fortune to meet a lovely El Salvadorian woman named Sandra as I was volunteering for One Voice which is an amazing organization that provides much needed food and toys to those in need during the Christmas season. She convinced me that it really was easy to make and gave me some quick pointers. After a little bit of my own research, I gave it a try and viola! Homemade pupusas! SO Good! Quick tip, use the masa that come in packaging that looks like flour – it is the instant corn masa. If your not careful, you’ll end up with just cornmeal and that doesn’t work at all.
3 1/2 cups masa harina
2 1/4 cups warm water
1 teaspoon sea salt
shredded cheese (monterey jack or mozzarella)
shredded pork (if you have leftovers)
1 can refried beans or make from scratch
For pickled cabbage:
1/2 medium green cabbage, shredded
2 carrots, shredded
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup hot water
1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano leaves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon sea salt
For Pickled cabbage:
Make the pickled cabbage mixture a day ahead if you have time. Otherwise, make sure you allow it to chill for at least an hour before you serve. Combine all the ingredients except for the vegetables. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Then pour the pickling liquid over the vegetables and let sit for 30 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Combine masa, salt and warm water. Mix together with your hands to form a dough. Let sit for 20 minutes. In the meantime, warm your refried beans (you can make them from scratch which would be great, but I find that I like to make these when I have leftover pork and don’t want to do much extra work). Then portion out the dough into 16 equal balls. Put oil on your hands and grab one dough ball, work it so you have a well inside of the ball and walls of the well are even and fairly thin. Then add in a small amount of beans, then the pork if you have some and a pinch of cheese. Pinch the opening closed and work the dough around in your hand until you have a flat disk – about 1/2 inch thick and a out 3 inches in diameter. Repeat until you have made all of them.
To cook them, heat a pan and add a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Place pupusas onto the heated pan and cook about 3 to 4 minutes per side until golden brown.
Serve with pickled cabbage and your hot sauce of choice.