Pupusas of El Salvador

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Pupusas, a stuffed tortilla pocket filled with cheese and meat, has been the most demanding in technique thus far.

The homemade tortilla dough is dry and brittle, yet must be molded into difficult shapes to form a flat tortilla pocket. After rolling the dough into balls, you need to slowly press into the middle with your dominant thumb while cupping it in your other hand. An indentation will form; keep pressing the dough up into the your forefingers using your thumb to create a spheric cup.

Then, scoop in your delectable meat mixture along with some cojita cheese. This next part is tricky to do successfully, too. Attempt to seal the hole using your fingers, then flatten the ball into a disc.

I imagine some people in El Salvador have been making this recipe since they were kids, and these techniques are inherent to them, done with craft and care. For this newbie, I was just glad my pupusas stayed together in one piece. This savory dish was a welcomed challenge that was a joy to prepare (and eat!).


Note – the picture features my pupusas and a gift from my good friends, Zach and Brittany, who visited El Salvador. It is a tiny shot glass, hand painted, with a classy mug handle. We were also able to share this meal with some new Tucson friends – Doug, Emily, & Josh!

Ingredient List

Pork Filling

  • Pork butt, trimmed and cubed
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 6 c. Water
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • Sweet onion
  • Garlic
  • Jalapeno
  • Mexican oregano
  • Cinnamon

Corn dough

  • Masa Harina
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Olive Oil
  • Shredded Cojita cheese
  • Serve with pickled cabbage

Quick Quotes

S: “Pretty good. Kind of boring. Nothing special, but my sweet love did a great job cooking.”

T: “I liked the flavor of the meat mixture a lot. Not crazy about the dough (dry). Difficult to manage dough into disks!”

Trivial Trifles

  • The capital of El Salvador is San Salvador
  • The official language is Spanish
  • Its currency is the United States Dollar, which replaced its previous currency – colón – in 2001
  • It is the smallest and most densely populated country in Central America (6.37 million people live there)

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