Pupusas are thick, hand-formed cakes that are made from masa harina (finely ground corn flour). These delicious corn cakes are stuffed with savory fillings like cheese, meat, or beans and lightly fried until golden brown. Pupusas are surprisingly easy and very inexpensive to make.
My Honduran husband and his family first introduced me to these griddled little masa cakes and I’ve been obsessed ever since. My husband enjoys making them when he’s feeling particularly homesick, and shaping and kneading the masa dough by hand can be very therapeutic. Although we created a base recipe that is as traditional as possible, we also like to have fun with different variations.
These pupusas get inspired by fresh, bright spring flavors. The pupusas are stuffed with fresh spinach and creamy Cacique® Queso Fresco. Pupusas are traditionally topped with curtido, a pickled cabbage relish. Here, the curtido is replaced by tender strips of fresh spring vegetables including rainbow carrots, snow peas, and radish.
The finishing touch is buttery avocado and Cacique® Cotija.
WHAT YOU NEED
- 2 cups masa harina
- 1 ½ – 2 cups warm water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup finely grated Cacique® Queso Fresco
- 1 ½ cups Cacique shredded mozzarella
- ½ cup finely chopped fresh spinach
- For the Spring Vegetable Slaw:
- 1 cup julienned snow peas
- 1 cup julienned rainbow carrots
- ½ cup julienned radish
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1 teaspoon sugar or honey
- 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- Sea salt and pepper, to taste
- For serving:
- Cacique® Cotija
- Sour cream
- Fresh lime
HOW TO MAKE IT
- Make the dough. Mix the masa harina, salt, queso fresco, and warm water to form a soft dough. Start with 1 1/2 cups of warm water. If the dough is too dry, add more water little by little. Your dough should be soft, but not sticky. The dough should not be cracking when you form it into a ball. When you get the right consistency, knead the dough for a minute and then cover with a clean, damp towel. Let rest 15 minutes.
- Form the pupusas. Grease your hands with a little bit of oil and form the pupusas into a golf-sized ball. Then, pat it out to form a disc. Place 1 1/2 tablespoons of the shredded mozzarella and 1 tablespoon of chopped spinach in the center of the disc, and carefully pinch the dough around the cheese to form into a rough ball again. Flatten into the final disc, about 4″ wide.
- When forming the pupusas, store the shaped pupusas under a damp cloth to avoid drying out.
- Heat a large non-stick or cast-iron pan over medium heat for 10 minutes. Lightly grease the pan with oil and cook the pupusas for 4-5 minutes per side. Do not crowd the pupusas, and cook until they have rich brown charred spots.
- For the slaw, whisk together the honey, vinegar, and oil and pour over the vegetables, cilantro, and oregano. Season with sea salt and pepper and lightly toss.
- Serve warm pupusas topped with the slaw. Serve with sour cream, avocado, and cotija cheese sprinkled on top. Enjoy!