Friday, February 12, 2010

El Dia De La Pupusa

Sarah, Erika, and I have been on a crazy pupusa kick lately. Pupusas are a food from El Savador which are basically corn tortillas stuffed with cheese, beans, chicharron, and/or loroco (a flower bud). They are made fresh and heated on a grill with a minimal amount of oil. I first fell in love with them in San Salvador where they sell them on the streets and in pupuserias and returned to Xela where I now regularly frequent the pupusa stand in Parque Central (which is greasier and yummier) and the Pupuseria (which Erika and Sarah prefer). It is accompanied by a cabbage salad called curtido and a simple tomato sauce.

Last Saturday I woke up and had the normal craving for a pupusa. Since I didn't have class to teach nor to take I decided to make pupusas. However, since it was early in the morning I didn't want salty so I decided to make a full day of it and make breakfast pupusas in the morning and regular pupusas in the evening. I was quite excited.

The recipe for the dough is simple:

2 cups harina de maiz
1 cup water ( I ended up using a lot more than this but this is what the recipe calls for)

Just mix it together adding water till it is moist and doesn't crack when you form a pancake. Form it into a ball and then make a indentation in the middle so it there is equal room all around and it is thin on the bottom of the ball. Fill with your choice of food. Roll it back up into a ball and try not to allow the filling escape. Flatten it into a pancake.

I started off with mashed bananas, peanut butter, and honey.

The first batch was a bit too thick and dry. Nonetheless, with enough honey it was a good start to the rest of my pupusa day.

After our hearty breakfast we took our weekly trip to Minerva to sift through the Pacas (loads of used clothes from the States for insanely cheap prices). Coming home with the prize of a new dress for 3 quetzales (about 40 cents), I was ready for my second helping of pupusas.

I started off making the curtido:

1/2 head of green cabbage
1/3 cup of vinegar
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 medium size white onion

I adapted it from a few recipes I found online. Here is one example:

Next I made the tomato sauce. All of the sauce I've had with pupusas seem like a simple puree of peeled tomatoes with salt. The recipe I found was a bit more complex and I love these flavors so I did fancy it up a bit:

In all of the pupusas I put cheese and refried beans, the tradition way. I had 3 types of cheese:a queso fresco I bought in the market, shredded mozzarella, and a crumbly drier cheese from the coast. None of the cheese melted enough for my taste, but they were still delicious. I experimented with different amounts of oil in the pan (I used olive oil, but they usually use vegetable oil) and I personally like the greasy papusas. They were still a little dry for my taste and I wished it had more filling. Although I had a great day, I think I'll stick to Parque Central for my pupusa needs in the future.

Buen provecho!


  1. Promise me a papusa per day when you return.

    Luv Mom

  2. yummmmmmmmmy. ditto i want one. please send it overnight mail now.

  3. papusas look delicious. and it is fun to say. :)

  4. man, i miss papusas. especialmente con hongos. mmmmmmmm.

    have you tried one of those tostadas (i think they actually call them enchiladas there) with boiled carrots and green beans and mayo and ketchup?