Worldly Wednesday – Discovering Pupusas
I love foodie TV. So many shows get me running for my little red book so I can copy down a recipe or idea to use for myself. This week was no exception and I was instantly in love with the little gem called Pupusa.
Most Latin Americans or anyone from Texas will probably know about Pupusa already, however this was my first experience and I was instantly hooked! We are BIG lovers of Mexican food in our house and so I knew I was on to a winner!
Pupusa is an El Salvadorian dish and is basically a tortilla stuffed with cheese, meat or beans (or all three). Apparently Nov 13 is “Pupusa Day” in El Salvador. If you needed any more proof these will be good – that’s gotta be it!!
I was watching the show and looking at the little Mama slapping the dough back and forth between her palms with that “Ive done this since I was a girl” look on her face and I figured it may not be QUITE as easy as she was making out. Thank the Lord we have a tortilla press. That Mama may shake her head but I’m sure its going to make the job much easier for the beginner:)
After a little further research I discovered there are many options for Pupusa and (I’m in love) exact mesurements are unecessary. I have decided to go with Mama’s recipe from her shop which combines the Cheese (Queso) the Pork (Chicaron) and the Refried Beans (Frijoles Fritos). She’s a native – I’m sure its going to be tops!
YOU WILL NEED
Masa Instant Corn Flour – Enough that when mixed with warm water gives you a good dough. If its sticking to your hands you need more flour.
Just a quick explanation for most Aussies unfamiliar with this product. When (pretty much) any Latin American dish calls for Corn Flour they do NOT mean the white squeaky stuff we know by the same name. They mean ground corn – we would probably call that corn meal. Most Latin supermarkets should have this, however you can also look up www.fireworksfoods.com.au and order all your Mexican/Latin American foods online. This shop is local to me and I promise Mary will take care of you:).
Warm water – enough that when mixed with the flour gives a good dough (as above)
Refried Beans – I bought the cheats’ tinned version because they are easy and delish. I noticed I got the ones with added Chilli so we may be having Pupusa with a kick!!
Chopped Fried Pork – I had to buy a steak as its all I could get however I would think that a slow cooked peice of Pork Shoulder or similar would be wayy better. You need to cook your pork with some green chilli, fresh tomatoes, garlic, chicken stock, red onion and achiote paste. (this can also be found at Fireworks Foods. Its also FANTASTIC on prawns and chicken! )
Cheese – As per Mama I’m going with a 50/50 mix of ricotta and mozzarella.
THE HOW TO:
Mix up a bowl of dough and divide it into little balls about the size of a lemon. Then using your other hand, shape each around till it looks like a little bowl.
Put a few spoonfuls of each mixture (the cheese, the beans and the meat) into the bowl but don’t fill it too full.
Pinch the edges together into the middle, tearing away any excess flour.
Now flatten in a tortilla press between sheets of baking paper or slap between your palms to create a disc shape (just like Mama). Keep each Pupusa about a half centimetre thick and no more (don’t press too hard with the press! otherwise they end up too thin).
Now fry on a hot dry pan (no oil) for about 4 – 5 mins each side. You may notice a few dark spots to show its cooking!
As you may notice – my Pupusa didn’t turn out exactly right. The press made them too thin and I was too hungry and too busy entertaining whilst cooking to notice. So we ate them as was and they still tasted great! Next time I will do it with my hands I think. It needs to be more like a hamburger patty and less like a pancake!!
Traditionally, this is served with El Salvadorian Coleslaw called Curtido.
To make this, mix half a head of shredded cabbage, 2 shredded carrotts, 1 shredded onion, 1 cup white vinegar, 1/2 cup water, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon each of brown sugar, oregano, cayenne pepper and cumin. If possible rest in the fridge for a few hours prior to serving.
I am a MASSIVE Mayonnaise fan and I must admit – even with no mayo in this coleslaw – it was awesome!!!
Go and try it!