Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pupusa (Stuffed Corn Cakes Salvadoreño)

Pupusas are thick Salvadoran corn cakes stuffed with assorted fillings and served with salsa and the traditional cabbage salad, Curtido. They are gluten-free and they can also be vegan if the butter and cheese are omitted. I made the masa dough without the traditional fats and have tweaked to make it a bit more interesting and tasty by adding a bit of chile and cilantro. Although not exactly traditional, these pupusas are pretty much true to their heritage and make fun and fabulous eats!

Savory stuffed breads are popular in every country - Dosas & Parathas in India, Calzones in Italy, Gozleme in Turkey, gorditas & Quesadillas in Mexico, Pupusas in El Salvador, etc. Other Central and South American cuisines also prepare similar baked or fried stuffed corn cakes.

If queso fresco (fresh Mexican cheese) is unavailable, Feta, Jack, cheddar or other cheeses may be used instead.

Ingredients:

Masa/Dough :
2 cups dry Instant Masa
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
2 Tbsp soft Butter or Olive oil
1 - 2 Tbsp finely minced hot green chilies (Jalapeño or Serrano)
2 Tbsp finely minced Cilantro
A little Extra Virgin Olive Oil, to cook
1 Recipe Curtido, to serve
1 Recipe Salsa I or Salsa II or Avocado Salsa, or Smokey Salsa to serve

Filling: Choose one or more of the following - you will need about 1 cup total
  1. Black beans and crumbled Queso Fresco
  2. Frijoles and Queso Fresco or Pepper Jack cheese
  3. Assorted grated Cheeses mixed with chopped green onions, garlic chives and/or cilantro
Method:

Make the masa (dough) by mixing the ingredients in a large bowl. Add about 2 cups of warm water and mix thoroughly - take a bit of the masa and roll into a smooth ball and flatten; if there are cracks at the edges, add a bit more water - a tablespoon at a time - until no cracks form when you flatten a ball of masa. Cover and set aside for about 30 minutes.

When ready to cook, heat a cast iron griddle or a large skillet.

Make a ball of the masa, flatten on a small piece of cling film sheet. Place a tablespoon of the filling in the center of the flattened masa and bring the edges of the cling film together so that the masa covers the filling completely.

Place a portion of the film over the masa and pat carefully to flatten into patties about 1/2" thick.

Brush the griddle/skillet with a light coating of oil. Cook 3 or 4 of the pupusas on the griddle at a time as space permits. Cook them over low to medium heat until both sides are well cooked and flecked with brown spots.

Remove from heat and keep them warm in a 200 degree oven until all the pupusas are done.

Serve hot with Curtido and the salsas of your choice. Enjoy!

Buen Provecho!!

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