I had my first pupusa at La Cabana Pupuseria & Donuts and totally loved it. Why the ‘& Donuts‘? Well, apparently they started out as a Donuts place and then they figured they had enough room with a kitchen that might as well start making some Salvadoran food and it stuck. Pupusa, in case you didn’t know, is a traditional Salvadoran dish made of thick, handmade corn tortilla that’s filled with cheese, cooked port meat or refried beans. Pupusa is typically served with fermented cabbage slaw and a watery tomato salsa. I can tell you that even this vegan version is super filling!
Pupusa With Black Beans
There are two parts to the pupusa recipe. The dough, made of Masa Harina and the filling. The Masa Harina is essentially corn flour, but one that’s gone through nixtamalization which infuses the flour with calcium and other essential nutrients. This process of grinding corn flour with quicklime or slakedlime is an ancient one, dating even back to 1500-1200 B.C.
You can improvise on the filling, but here’s what I used:
- 1 small onion, diced
- ½ bell pepper, diced
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- ½ cup Organic Black Soy Bean
Make the dough by tossing all the ingredients into a small bowl, mixing them throughly. Set aside. Sauté the onions in a small skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes, then add the spices and oregano. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft. Add in the garlic and the soy beans and cook for another 1 minute.
There are two ways to stuff the ingredients into the dough. You can pinch off a small portion of the dough and first make a ball. Then use your thumb to make a dent and spoon in the filling. Cover the dent and flatten it into a cake. The other way is to make two sets of small pancakes by patting the dough with your hand. Top the filling on one of them, cover with the other and seal the edges with a little bit of water. Either method works as long as you end up with a pancake shaped dough with the filling inside.
In a heated, well oiled skillet, cook the pupusas until they are brown on both sides. My kids love to eat this with just ketchup, but you can also serve this with fermented cabbage slaw. If you make too many, the pupusas store well in the fridge and you can heat them quickly for breakfast in a toaster oven.
Have you tried making pupusa? What filling do you use?
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