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How A Girl From Maine Makes Pupusas

A short background: My boyfriend is Salvadorian. Our daughter is 1/2 Salvadorian. I have been to El Salvador twice with my boyfriend to see his parents and two siblings. Once before our daughter was born. Once when our daughter was 9 months old.

I first ate a pupusa on our first trip to El Salvador in August 2016. I first tried to make a pupusa in early 2017. I now like to believe that after a couple years of practice, I make a decent pupusa. Obviously nothing compared to the ones in El Salvador (Specifically the ones at this pupuseria in Metapan called More Comedor).

I have tried various fillings and seasonings but I typically stick with two flavors: Refried beans & Cheese, and zucchini and cheese. These are the kinds that my boyfriend’s sister has made for us before and they’re amazing! She has given me a lot of tips on Salvadorian cooking, and I credit her for knowing how to make all of the Salvadorian meals I make!

As far as the bag method I use for flattening the pupusas, I learned that online when I first started making them because I realized that I don’t have that technique down at all by hand. It really makes a huge difference for me as far as shape and consistency goes!

So below I have step-by-step instructions on how I make refried bean and cheese pupusas!

Ingredients: Maseca, Water, Chicken Stock Powder, Refried Beans, Shredded Mozzarella.

To make the filling you combine about 2.5  cups of shredded mozzarella with the can of refried beans and the package of chicken stock powder for seasoning.

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To make the dough you combine the maseca with water. If I were to do 4 C. of maseca, I would add 5 C. of water. The dough should have the consistency of play dough. It shouldn’t stick to your hand excessively. It’s easiest if you just mix it up by hand so you can get a good feel for the texture.

Once the dough is formed you grab a chunk, form it into a ball, then form it into a “bowl”.

Take a chunk of filling (slightly smaller than your original dough chunk), and place it inside your “bowl” shape.

Build up the walls of the bowl around the filling by spinning it in your hand and pushing upwards. It takes practice! So don’t worry if it doesn’t come easy at first!

Continue forming until the filling is completely inside. It should once again be in a ball shape. Now flatten it out with your hands.

This is the part that I do completely different. I learned this online a long time ago. Instead of flattening the pupusa by hand, I put it between a large ziploc bag and flatten it into a larger circle. This method ensures a consistent shape. It will probably take me a very long time to learn the proper hand method.

Before using the ziploc bag, cut along each side so you can easily lift it when you are done shaping the pupusa.

Place pupusas on your ungreased flat top or pan on high heat. If you grease the pan you will have a very smokey home. In El Salvador, they use oil so it’s different. If you’re somewhere with proper ventilation or outdoors, then you can definitely add the oil! Some people will slightly wet their hand in oil when forming the pupusa.

Cook on each side 2-3 minutes, and you’re done! Eat with some homemade salsa and curtido! Maybe I will post another time with the way I make those!

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