Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bonus MoFo: Pupusas

Pupusas are not beautiful food to begin with, and with the dark, cloudy evening here, all my efforts at a decent photograph failed miserably. I thought I had a good one of a pupusa in my hand, but when I downloaded it was blurry. So it goes.

I had leftover taco fillings (refried beans, corn relish, spinach, taco-spiced soy curls) from the other night, and lots of masa, so I decided to try my hand at pupusas. I love to order this wonderful Salvadoran food at Las Americas - they will make me a vegetarian-beans-only pupusa, and they are really nice about it. There is at least one other place nearby that makes them (Delicias Mary Chuy Restaurant) but I have not strayed from Las Americas.

There are apparently many ways to make a pupusa. After some internet research and watching the guys at Las Americas, here is what I did:

1. Mix masa harina with hot water from the tap until you have a soft but not sticky dough. Let rest for 30 minutes or more.

2. Pick up a golf-ball sized lump of masa, and hollow it out to make a cup. Put filling down in the cup, pull the sides around as far as you can, and then place a cap of masa on top to seal it.

3. Roll the ball around in your hands until it is smooth and sealed. Then gently flatten until it is 1/4 inch thick or a little more. If it breaks around the edge or filling pops through, just repair the best you can, and keep going. No worries - imperfections won't hurt. I found it easier to do most of the flattening in my hand and then finish on a plate.

4. Place in a hot skillet and fry on both sides until done. A dry skillet was recommended in a number of sources, but I saw someone on YouTube use just a wee bit of oil, so I did that. I think it was a good idea.

5. Eat! Tomato salsa and a cabbage/carrot slaw are the usual sides. We had the salsa but not the slaw, because I am lazy. You need the tomato salsa to point up the flavor, especially if the fillings are mild. When I make these again, I think I'll experiment with adding a little salt and/or seasonings to the masa.


kittee said...

I freakin' love papusas. Love em, love em. I can't make them though, they always split beyond repair for me. i want!


Huw said...

This sounds sooo awesome. Like fried Tamales, kinda. and I didn't know it would be this easy!

There was a place south of San Francisco where I had these with sweet filling (Basically, creamed corn with a lot of sugar). They were SOOOO very tasty as after-food treats!

Thanks for publishing the recipe!

sarchan said...

Sounds like you had a delicious dinner. I've yet to have papusas, but I'll have to search them out now.

Also: I really loved reading your previous post. Interesting stuff.

Anonymous said...

ooooh. There's an El Salvadorian restaurant right down the street from me but I've never tried it. I wonder if they'd make me a vegan pupusa. I had them maybe once or twice before going vegan.