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The Hirshon El Salvadoran Pupusas

  • Total Time: 0 hours


Units Scale
  • For Beans:
  • 1/2 pound dried pinto beans
  • Water
  • 2 sprigs fresh epazote or oregano
  • 1 medium white onion, 1/2 minced (about 1/2 cup), 1/2 left whole
  • 2 medium cloves garlic
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cumin
  • 6 tablespoons lard (strongly preferred), bacon drippings (preferred) or corn oil (adequate)
  • ***
  • For Salsa:
  • 4 roma tomatoes
  • 1/4 small white onion
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 4 serrano chilies
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • ***
  • For Cheese:
  • 3 lbs mozzarella cheese (shredded)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper (diced)
  • 1/2 cup diced jalapeños
  • ***
  • For Masa:
  • 4 cups masa corn flour
  • 2 cups warm water
  • ***
  • For Curtido:
  • 1/2 head green cabbage, cored and shredded
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 quart boiling water
  • 3 green onions, minced
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano


  1. Salsa for Pupusas:
  2. Place the first 5 ingredients in the blender and blend on high.
  3. Heat the canola oil on medium high heat and pour the salsa into the pan.
  4. Bring to a boil stirring occasionally. Add the vinegar and the chicken bouillon powder and continue boiling for 10 minutes until the salsa is reduced by half.
  5. Allow the salsa to come down to room temperature and serve.
  6. Curtido:
  7. Combine the cabbage and carrot in a large bowl and pour the boiling water over the mixture. Allow the mixture to steep for 5 minutes; drain well. Return the cabbage and carrots to the bowl. Mix in the green onion, vinegar, ½ cup of water, and oregano. Toss until all ingredients are combined.
  8. Place a clean plate on top of the vegetables, and weigh it down to fully submerge them under the brine.
  9. Chill at minimum for 20 minutes before serving – overnight is better and 3 days is best, if you can wait that long. The flavor will deepen and mellow over time.
  10. When it’s to your liking, transfer to clean jars, making sure brine covers the vegetables, and store in the refrigerator. Can keep for weeks.
  11. Refried Beans:
  12. In a large pot, cover the beans with cold water by at least 2 inches. Add herb sprigs, the whole onion half, and garlic cloves and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until beans are very tender, about 1 to 2 hours.
  13. Season with salt. Drain beans, reserving bean-cooking liquid. You should have about 3 cups of cooked beans; if you have more, measure out 3 cups of beans and reserve the rest for another use. Discard herb sprigs, onion, and garlic.
  14. In a large skillet, heat lard, bacon drippings, or oil until shimmering, or butter until foaming, over medium-high heat. Add minced onion and cumin and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and lightly golden, about 7 minutes. Stir in beans and cook for 2 minutes.
  15. Add 1 cup of reserved bean-cooking liquid. Using bean masher, potato masher, or back of a wooden spoon, smash the beans to form a chunky purée; alternatively, use a stick blender to make a smoother purée.
  16. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring, until desired consistency is reached; if refried beans are too dry, add more bean-cooking liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed. Season with salt and serve.
  17. The Cheese:
  18. Place the shredded mozzarella, jalapeños and bell pepper in a food processor and process until the bell pepper and jalapeños are chopped into tiny pieces and fully incorporated into the cheese.
  19. Next, place the cheese mixture into a plastic bowl and warm the mix in the microwave for no more than 20 seconds.
  20. Next, squeeze the cheese mixture with your hands until it achieves a soft putty-like consistency. Set the cheese aside.
  21. The Masa:
  22. Place the masa mix and water in a bowl and stir until fully mixed. The masa should be very sticky but should form an easy ball when rolled. If not, add water until it is sticky but easy to work with.
  23. Next, Place an egg-sized ball of masa in your hand (it helps to place a tiny bit of oil on your hands before doing this) and press the masa out in one hand to represent a small plate the size of your palm. Place about a tablespoon of cheese down onto the masa, then a teaspoon of beans. Pull the sides of the masa up around the beans and cheese and roll it into a ball. Next, flatten it a tiny bit with your palms to form a thick disc.
  24. Pat the disc turning it between your hands about 6 times to flatten it more but to keep it in a round shape. The pupusa should be a little less than ½ inch thick.
  25. Place the pupusa on a large oiled non-stick surface and cook on medium-high until each side is golden brown, around 3 minutes on each side.
  26. Serve with salsa and curtido and enjoy!
  • Prep Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 hours
  • Category: Recipes

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