Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Cheese and Beans Pupusas

Pin It

When we're not eating at home, we like to try new things. I especially like to go to one of those authentic hole-in-the-wall eateries with no English on the menu and just point. I'd eat what I end up with -- it could be soup, weird animals parts, whatever. It doesn't matter what ends up on the plate. Chances are, I'd love it (even if I don't, I'll just point to something else next time). Recently, we tried a Savadorian restaurant in Mountain View that is exactly one of those places. And it makes awesome pupusas. So much so that I have random cravings for them. So why not make some at home?

My recipe is pieced together by reading a bunch of recipes online. The technique, however, comes from gawking at the ladies who make pupusas behind the counter.

For these cheese and beans pupusas, you'll need:
  • 3 cups masa harina
  • about 2 1/2 cups water, divided
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup finely diced onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil plus more for greasing the pan/griddle
  • about 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese mix (mozzarella, monterey jack, cheddar or something like that)
  • salt to taste
Mix masa harina and 1/2 teaspoon of salt with about 2 cups water. Mix in the water a bit at a time. The texture of the dough should be smooth and easily formed into a ball. If it crumbles or breaks easily, add more water. Knead for 5 minutes and set aside.

Heat up a tablespoon of oil in a medium pan. Add red chili pepper fakes, onion and garlic. Stir frequently until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add beans, oregano, cumin, chili powder, Bay leaf, lime juice and about 1/4 cup water. Season with salt. Stir. Let the mixture cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Make sure there is sufficient liquid at all times to cook the beans. If not, add a little more water. Once the beans are softened, mash them into paste like consistency. Mix well with any remaining liquid. You should have pasty but not runny beans.

To make pupusas, you'll need to the masa mix into balls that are a bit smaller than tennis balls. Mold the masa mix into a cup shape by pressing the middle of the ball with your thumbs. Add cheese and bean mix. Push the sides together and form a ball. Pinch off any excess masa mix. Pat the ball lightly into a pancake by transferring them back and forth between two hands. Place pupusas into hot pan or onto hot griddle greased with a bit of canola oil. Flip pupusas over when browned, about 5 minutes. Serve with cabbage slaw, sliced avocados and/or salsa.

The cabbage slaw is traditionally served with pupusas. You just need some shredded cabbage and carrots, white vinegar, salt, sugar, dried oregano and cloves. I sort of just threw it together without measuring, but it tasted like what was served at the restaurant. The cabbage slaw is best if made a bit ahead of time and allowed to marinate.

1 comment: