Pupusas are stuffed round corn cakes, or patties, from El Salvador. They are made from masa harina dough, like corn tortillas, that is shaped into a disc and stuffed with a variety of ingredient. Pupusas can be stuffed with cheese, meat, beans or vegetables. If you’re familiar with Hispanic food think of Pupusas as a relative to Mexican gorditas or South American arepas. Additionally pupusas are served alongside a traditional fermented cabbage salad called curtido.
As you can see from the photos my pupusas aren’t quite authentic El Salvadoran pupusas. These are more of a gordita-pupusa Spicie Foodie fusion… Or something like that. For starters the dough I used was fine yellow corn flour not the white masa harina called for. I’ve run out of masa harina and when I do yellow corn flour makes a great substitute. The cheese, I’ve used Feta, my queso fresco substitute, instead of a melting white cheese. To give the pupusas that special Spicie Foodie touch I added red pepper flakes to the dough. Lastly instead of serving alongside curtido I choose refried beans and Mexican salsa.
If any Salvadoreños are reading this please no angry comments or emails telling me these aren’t traditional or authentic. I’m not claiming them to be so. But what I will tell you is that regardless of authenticity these pupusas are also very good. In the past I’ve made my pupusas in the traditional way but every once in a while it’s good to change up recipes.
(If you would like to publish my recipe on your website please quote Spicie Foodie as the recipe creator, and place a link back to the recipe.)
Spicy Cheese Pupusas or El Salvadoran Corn Cakes
(yields 9-11 depending on size)
1 1/2 cup corn flour + 1 cup white flour OR
2.5 cups Maseca Instant Corn Masa (masa harina)
red pepper flakes to taste (I used about 1.5 tsp)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp sunflower or corn oil
1 cup or 250 ml lukewarm water
200 gm or 7 oz crumbled/grated feta or queso fresco or any melting white cheese
comal or griddle
beans, salsa, avocado or your favorite sides and toppings
Heat a comal or griddle. In a large bowl combine the flours or masa harina, and salt. Make a well in the center and pour oil and water. Stir until a wet dough is formed. The dough will not have elasticity like that of other breads.
1. Divide the dough into even sizes. 2. Make a flat disc between your palms. 3. Place crumbled/grated cheese in center of disc. 4. Gather all sides up to make a round pouch and form back into a ball. 5. Once shaped into a ball flatten between your palms into a disc.
Place the shaped pupusas onto the heated comal or griddle, and cook for about 4 minutes on each side. Serve along any of suggested items above.
*Tip: If you would like a little extra help in shaping the pupusas try using a tortilla press. Read over my post on gorditas to see how you can do it.*
Every time I make pupusas they take on a new look. It really depends on what we are craving or what I have in the refrigerator. This particular night our pupusa dinner consisted of spicy cheese filled pupusas, refried beans, homemade salsa and some avocado slices. Pupusas are so great because you can have fun and experiment with the fillings and side dishes. For example you can easily make this into a vegan meal by using beans or vegetables as the filling. I hope you give pupusas a try soon, Buen provecho.