Friday, September 28, 2012

Day 2 - Pupusas, Curtido, and Salsa

These are from El Salvador but can be found in Guatemala (from what I read). Although these are a bit of work, they turned out pretty good. There are 3 parts to the pupusas and then you make the salsa and slaw separately. That is what makes it so time consuming. The parts of it are easy but there are a lot of parts to it all. 

The Curtido can be also eaten with tacos or anything really. (I've never made fish tacos but this would be great on them I would think.) My husband LOVED it. It has a bit of a kick with the cayenne and tastes even better the next day. I usually try to go light on the spice since my son doesn't like spicy things. But this turned out too spicy for him. I thought the spice was just right for this.

I think the salsa is really good, too, and can be used for anything you want to spice up. You blend it up so it's a smooth salsa. Mine came out at a medium heat. I used one small red jalapeno and half of a medium green one. Both were from my garden. I haven't seen red ones in the store before. Feel free to use whatever peppers you like!

Recipe adapted from

The Beans

2 T plus 1 tsp canola oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 can red beans
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp salt

Heat 1 tsp canola oil in a large soup pan on medium high heat. Once the oil is heated saute the onion until they start to become golden brown. Place the beans, water, and cooked onion into blender and blend for 1 minute. Heat 2 T oil in pan. Carefully stir the beans from the blender into the hot oil. Turn your heat down to medium low. Carefully stir the beans until no oil appears in the beans. Cook on medium stirring about every 5 minutes until the beans have darkened about 3 shades and are the consistency of refried beans in a can. Stir in salt.
The Cheese

8oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 green bell peppers,diced  
1/2 medium jalapeno, diced
Place the shredded mozzarella, bell pepper, and jalapeno in a food processor and process until the peppers are chopped into tiny pieces and fully incorporated into the cheese. Next, place the cheese mixture into a glass bowl and warm the mix in the microwave for no more than 20 seconds. Next squeeze the cheese mixture with your hands until it becomes like a soft putty consistency. Set the cheese aside and get ready for the masa.
The Masa

2 1/4 cups masa corn flour
1 1/4 cup warm water
Place the masa and water in a bowl and stir until fully mixed. The masa should be sticky but should form an easy ball when rolled. If not, add water until it is sticky but easy to work with. Next, Place an egg size ball of masa in your hand (it helps to place a tiny bit of oil on your hands before doing this) and press the masa out in one hand to represent a small plate the size of your palm. Place about a tablespoon of cheese down onto the masa, then a tsp of beans. Pull the sides of the masa up around the beans and cheese and roll it into a ball. Next, flatten it a tiny bit with your palms to form a thick disc. Pat the disc turning it between your hands about 6 times to flatten it more but to keep it in a round shape. The pupusa should be a little less than 1/2 inch thick. Place the pupusa on a large oiled non stick surface and cook on medium high until each side is golden brown, around 3 minutes on each side.
Another way to do this is to use a tortilla press. Get an egg size ball of masa and divide it in two. Place one ball in a tortilla press lined with plastic wrap. Press thin. Do the same to the other ball. Place a tablespoon of cheese on one circle. Then place a teaspoon of beans on top of the cheese. Next place the other circle on top and press the edges together with your fingers. Cook as directed above.

Curtido De Repollo - El Salvadorean Cabbage Salad

1 head green cabbage
1 cup apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup water 
1 medium onion
1-2 large carrots
1 tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
scant 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp brown sugar (optional) 

Using a hand-grater or the grater attachment of your food processor, shred cabbage, carrots and onion. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Use the back of a wooden spoon to press all the ingredients down so they are submerged in liquid. Allow to rest at room temperature or in the refrigerator before serving, ideally for at least 4-6 hours. Serve with pupusas, or as a topping for fish, quesadillas, or other dishes.

Salsa for Pupusas
Recipe adapted from
4 roma tomatoes or 1 (14oz) can of tomatoes
1/2 cup small white onions, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove 
4 serrano chilies (I used one small red jalapeno and ½ of a med green jalapeno)
2 cups water 
1/2 tsp chicken bouillon powder
1 tsp canola oil
1/2 tsp vinegar

Place the first 5 ingredients in the blender and blend on high. Heat the canola oil on medium high heat and pour the salsa into the pan. Bring to a boil stirring occasionally. Add the vinegar and the chicken bouillon powder and continue boiling for 10 minutes until the salsa is reduced by half. Allow the salsa to come down to room temperature and serve.


  1. This looks so good, Amy! It does seem like it would take a lot of time, though! I want to try those pupusas! Do you think you could make a big batch of the cheese and/or beans and freeze them to cut down on the prep time?

  2. I think you probably could. The beans are just refried beans and you can freeze beans. The only thing I don't know about the cheese is the jalapeno in it. Not sure if it loses some spiciness. The cheese was one of the easy parts.