Thursday, March 4, 2010

Pupusas de Queso

puposa, originally uploaded by Kim De.

I was introduced to puposa several years ago when I moved to Nashville. Simply, it is a filled corn pocket. Kind of like a tortilla, yet different. They are very popular in many South and Central American countries. In fact, in El Salvador, November 13 is National Puposa day!

There is a restaurant in town that makes them and they are a favorite of mine. Fillings range from cheese, beans and cheese, pork and cheese... and they are served with a wonderfully tangy vinegar based slaw.

Like any other "bread" recipe that is mixed and manipulated, it was fun to watch the dough take shape. The aroma as the masa and water combine is incredible and I always find the kneading dough to be a pleasurable experience.

After a short rest, I rolled the dough into small balls, pushed a small indentation with my thumb, then added my choice of filling - shredded queso (cheese) and diced hot red pepper. The fillings were covered over and the dough was presses into a flat circle. A hot iron skillet made beautiful brown spots on the dough while making the cheese melty inside.

The corn flavor was similar to what I was used to. The filling wasn't as prominent as at the restaurant and I dry cooked mine instead of using oil, but all in all, a successful first experience.

If you have a place in town that makes puposa, give it a taste! Then come home and make your own!


2 cups Masa harina
1 cup Warm water
1 cup Filling (I used cheese and diced pepper)

In a large bowl, mix together the masa harina and water and knead well. Knead in more water, one tablespoonful at a time if needed, to make a moist, yet firm dough. (It should not crack at the edges when you press down on it.) Cover and set aside to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

Roll the dough into a log and cut it into 8 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball.

Press an indentation in each ball with your thumb. Put about 1 tablespoon of desired filling into each indentation and fold the dough over to completely enclose it. Press the ball out with your palms to form a disc, taking care that that the filling doesn't spill out.

Line a tortilla press with plastic and press out each ball to about 5-6 inches wide and about 1/4-inch thick. If you don't have a tortilla press, place the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper and roll it out with a rolling pin.

Heat an ungreased skillet over medium-high flame. Cook each pupusa for about 1-2 minutes on each side, until lightly browned and blistered. Remove to a plate and hold warm until all pupusas are done.

Pupusas de Queso: With a cheese filling. Use grated quesillo, queso fresco, farmer's cheese, mozzarella, Swiss cheese or a combination. Add some minced green chile if you like.

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