Masa Cakes with Spicy Slaw (Pupusas con Curtido)

O Summer, why are you so cruel to me? I miss just spontaneously getting inspired to bake something.  Cooking has become just basic for me – pasta and simple Korean/Japanese.  However, before I go on my much awaited vacation I wanted to leave you with one more “presentable” food.  Today’s recipe comes from Saveur (another one of my favorite site).  In fact, I was first introduced to Saveur about 8 years ago when my late mother-in-law gave me the subscription to the magazine for my Christmas gift.  Eversince then I have been faithfully reading the magazines. 

Papusas con Curtido is a traditional Salvadoran dish.  I think you can also find different variations of this dish in other Central American countries. Papusas is a tortilla cake filled with cheese or meat (sometimes both); and Curtido is equivalent to a coleslaw, but with more vinegar flavor in it. 


Serves 4:

1⁄4 cup distilled white vinegar
1 1⁄2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. oregano
2 chiles de árbol, crushed
1⁄2 large carrot, peeled and grated
1⁄2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1⁄4 head green cabbage, shredded
Kosher salt, to taste
2 cups masa harina
16 oz. grated Monterey jack

1. Combine vinegar, sugar, oregano, chiles, carrots, onions, and cabbage in a bowl. Season with salt; toss; let chill.

2. Put masa harina and 1 3⁄4 cups water into a bowl; stir to form a dough. Pinch off a 1 1⁄2-oz. piece of dough; roll it into a ball. Pat dough into a thin disk. Squeeze 1 1⁄4 oz. cheese into a ball. Press cheese into center of dough; cupping dough, stretch edges of dough around cheese and seal. Pat dough to form a 3 1⁄2″-wide disk. Repeat to make 12 pupusas in all.

3. Heat a 12″ nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in 3 batches, cook pupusas, turning, until golden, 10–12 minutes. Serve hot with slaw.


My opinion:

I don’t know this can go both ways.  If you’re used to Latin American type of flavors you may like this.  This dish isn’t loaded with extra flavors, but I would definitely describe it as a clean flavor.   Some of you may not care for the curtido, I personally enjoyed it.  For me it’s like having kimchi (Korean fermented cabbage) as the main side dish.  I kept on heaping more curtido on my pupusas.  I think it’s often eaten with liquidy version of tomato salsa, but I ate just with curtido.

This isn’t difficult to make at all.  You may need a little practice making pupusas, but that’s also pretty simple.  Pupusas also cooked pretty fast, so it’s a good Summer time dish for me.


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