Pupusas are Salvadoran stuffed flatbread. The first time I had one was at a restaurant called La Bamba in Mountain View, CA. I mistakenly thought it was a Mexican dish, but a friend quickly set me straight. Certainly, there are a number of dishes that are delicious from El Salvador, but pupusas are the best in my opinion.
My first attempt at making them, however, wasn’t great. I learned a couple lessons from that attempt. First, don’t let the uncooked pupusas sit out too long. They’ll dry up and start to crack, causing your filling to spill out. And second, to maximize filling, when you push your thumb in, be sure to dig around underneath the dough a bit so you have a larger hole to fill.
If you prefer to use a different filling, feel free to substitute the cheese for anything you desire. Add some salsa roja and you’re set.
Enjoy this delicious and easy recipe!
- 2 cups masa harina
- 1 cup warm water (plus more if needed)
- 1-2 cups queso quesadilla
- vegetable oil
- In a large bowl, mix the masa harina and water, kneading well, until you have a moist, yet firm dough. The best way to tell is pressing down on it and ensuring the edges don’t crack.
- Cover the dough and set aside for 5-10 minutes.
- On a flat surface, roll the down into long log, then cut into 8 equal portions.
- Roll each portion into a ball.
- Press each ball with your thumb, creating a large indentation in the middle of the dough. When you do so, the dough shouldn’t crack at all. If it does, roll the dough back into a full ball and dip in a bit of water, then knead the ball again. Keep doing this until the dough is flexible and doesn’t crack when pressed.
- Put as much filling into the indentation as you can fit.
- Bring dough up from each side to cover the indentation and filling.
- Press the ball down flat in between your hands, being careful not to spill any filling or create cracks.
- Continue to press the disc until it’s about 1/4 in thick.
- Heat about 1 tsp of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
- Cook each disc for around 2 minutes per side, or until lightly browned and blistered. Be sure to add more oil after each pupusa.
- Serve with salsa roja.