Last summer while driving through Kansas, we stopped by a road stand marked “Pupuseria”. I thought the name sounded funny. It crossed my mind that the last two syllables of the word “pupusa” actually means “cat” in Ilocano but in Tagalog there is also the word “puso” meaning “heart”. There were no pictures and no one in line so I didn’t actually know what it was or what it looked like. I just knew it smelled amazing and I was very very hungry (also hoping that I wasn’t about to eat some kitty cat heart). The vendor passed me a hot disk wrapped in wax paper and foil. I was excited, my first bite was absolutely yummy (a little crunchy on the top, then a soft paste of meat and beans, a burn on my tongue from the heat, followed by a melty and stringy white cheese that fell down and stuck to my chin). I like to imagine that “pupuseria” was the joyful sound my heart made while I was devouring it. “Pupuseria…pupuseria….pupuseria…” A low pitched, rumbly sound. Beautiful, eh?
Pupusas are delicious pita like disks stuffed with meats, cheeses, beans, or a mixture of the three. They are a popular snack and staple food of El Salvador. Grandma LoRetta sent us some corn flour recently from a mill (Heartland Mill) near her house for us to try out and we just happen to have some leftover roast pork in the refrigerator. I thought of our visit last year in Kansas and the lovely pupusas we ate on the way. Most of the recipes I found online were pretty much the same.
Dough: Makes 4 pupusas
- 2 c. corn flour
- 1 c. water
- 2 T. oil
- roast pork
- white cheese
*extra oil for frying
Mix the flour and water and kneed the dough for a couple of minutes. Set aside. Filling should be prepared ahead of time (chop up the pork, mash the beans, and grate some cheese). Roll the dough into a log and cut into 8 pieces. Form a piece into a ball and use a rolling pin to flatten it into about a 5-6 inch diameter. Have some white flour on hand so the dough does not stick to the counter. After the first one is flattened, add some filling about 3/4 to 1 cup. Form another dough into a ball and flatten it. Place that piece on top of the filling. Seal the edges.
Tip: Use lots of flour so it doesn’t stick on the counter then use a spatula to lift each piece onto a medium high heat iron skillet.
Cook for 2-minutes on both sides. Each side should be golden brown and feel crisp. Wait a little bit before eating or you’ll burn your tongue! We ate our pupusas with salsa fresca and some Shandy (half and half mixture of Corona beer and lime soda).
They turned out really well but they were not as good as my first taste of pupusas probably because mine did not have as much pork fat. Many websites recommend using Maseca brand corn flour. I will have to try it next time. By the way, the pupusas freeze really well and would make an excellent meal if you’re not in the mood for cooking some night.
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