Pupusas are a dish traditionally from El Salvador and Honduras. The filling is usually bean or meat-based and it’s inside a corn masa dough and then cooked in a pan until golden brown on both sides.
This version combines the jackfruit with some beans (I used pinto), onion, tomato, garlic and spices. It is cooked down, half of it is blended and then stirred with the rest. This gives a nice mix of creamy and chunky textures which is nice. This filling was pretty tasty on its own, it was very well seasoned and I like the smokey aspect. If you didn’t want to make the pupusas, you could just use this bean/jackfruit mixture as a dip with tortilla chips. That would be a great appetizer.
Once the filling is ready, it’s time to make the dough. This was my first time working with masa harina which is essentially corn flour, and it is what’s used to make corn tortillas. The dough is simply a mix of the masa, water, oil and salt. It came together quickly and had quite a nice soft texture.
The forming of the pupusas is where I struggled. You’re supposed to take a ball of dough, flatten it in your hands, place some filling inside, roll the dough over to fully cover the filling and then flatten again to make a pancake. I had a couple issues though. When I was flattening the dough, it was sticking to my hands so I couldn’t get it very thin and then when I was trying to cover up the filling, the dough was cracking. I ended up having to use a little extra dough just on top of the filling and then press the pieces together while hiding the filling inside. But you can see that the filling was still peeking out in some areas.
My pupusas definitely came out a little more rustic (and thicker) than they should have but they cooked up quite nicely. It takes a few minutes on each side to get them golden brown. You can really smell the corn as they’re cooking which was making me so hungry. They are supposed to be served with Curtido (pickled slaw) which is another recipe from this book, that I actually made a little while ago. I decided to just serve mine with a simple mango coleslaw. It had some cabbage, mango, cilantro, lime juice, maple syrup, salt and pepper. It was super fresh and bright and paired really well with the pupusas. I also put a little hot sauce for a kick at the end.
Even though they don’t look very professional, I was quite impressed with the flavour. I think if I were to make them again, I would omit the jackfruit and just make it a plain bean filling. Breaking up the jackfruit was too much work and since it is hidden in the filling, I don’t think it is worth the effort here.
Since I have so much masa harina now though, I think I will definitely try to make corn tortillas – that will be a fun activity.