Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pupusas and Central American Slaw

I'm so far behind in my blogging. This has been a crazy week. In going back through and seeing what I need to type in, all of the recipes come from Steven Raichlen's Healthy Latin Cooking book. I've owned this book for a while and made some recipes from it, but in my menu planning a couple of weeks ago I went through a lot of this book and picked quite a few recipes to try. The first I tried were pupusas. I know about pupusas because they are one of my favorite dishes at my favorite restaraunt Cafe Red Onion. I have made this recipe before, and probably had the same issues as this time, but having not written them down, I had similar troubles this time (happy day that I now have a blog for writing things.) I also altered the amount of filling, so I altered the amount of spices. Like always, I write on my blog what I did. If you want the original recipe it is in the book on page 206. I served this with Central American Slaw found on page 116 of the book. I did make some changes there as well, but not as many as I did to the pupusas themselves. I also have notes on the pupusa dough.
Be warned - these are time consuming to roll. I always look at them and think - oh, 6-8 minutes for the beans, cook for 2 minutes a side, done in 30 minutes - not so. Plan at least 1 hour.
I decided to post 2 pictures. One of the meal on the plate, then one of a pupusa cut in half to show how it looks inside.

Masa Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups masa harina (this is corn tortilla flour. I used 1 cups regular corn tortilla masa and 1/2 cup harina Pan which is Venezuelan arepa flour.)
  • 2 -2 1/2 cups hot water (original recipe calls for much less, but it is too dry that way. All packages I have seen of this flour call for about a 1 to 1 ratio. I'd follow those directions. Especially if it is the arepa flour - tortilla flour may need a bit less.

Filling Ingredient

  • 1 15 oz. can red kidney beans, rinsed and trained
  • 2-3 Tablespoons minced onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups Chicken stock
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 2 cups Central American slaw
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 16 teaspoons shredded cheddar or mexican cheese


Masa: Combine the masa harina and water. (I mix it with my hands because it is easier and you can feel when the dough is smooth.) Cover the dough and let rest for 20 minutes.

While the dough is resting, prepare the filling by combining the beans, onions, garlic, cumin and stock in a medium notstick skillet over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmber for 6-8 minutes or until most of the stock has been absorbed (recipe says all, but I found that as the beans sat, they got too dry, so next time I would simmer until most of the liquid was absorbed.) Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and let cool for 2-3 minutes. Mash the beans with the back of a spoon and let cool slightly.

To assemble. Divide the dough into 16 portions. With wet hands, roll 1 portion into a ball. (Cover the rest so they don't dry out too much.) Using your thumb, make a dip in the center of the ball. Gradually enlarge the dip to make a bowl like shape. The walls of the bowl should be about 1/4 " thick. Place 1 Tablespoon of the bean mixture and 1 teaspoon of chees in the center of the masa bowl. Bring the edges of the bowl over the top of the filling to enclose it. Pinch edges together. Pat the ball into a disk remoistening hands if necessary. Repeat with remaining dough portions. (The book says they should be 4 ", but I used more beans and added cheese and mine were still closer to 3 1/2 inches than 4.

Cook in a nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Brush both sides of each pupusa with oil. (I brushed my griddle with oil, 8 pupusas on, then brushed the side that was up with oil.) Cook for 2 minutes per side or until just beginning to brown. (It was longer than 2 minutes for me.)

Serve with slaw and Salsa.

Central American Slaw

I made this slaw easier by just using cole slaw mix. Original recipe had more carrots than the mix would, but I was all about easy when making pupusas because they take a lot of time.


  • 6 cups cole slaw mix
  • 2 jalapeƱos, seeded and diced (moreand not seeded if you like spicy.)
  • 4 Tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt


Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. (I mixed vinegar, sugar, pepper and salt, then toss it with the cole slaw mix and jalapeno.)

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