Salvadorian Pupusas (Stuffed Masa Cakes)

Cuisine: Salvadoran
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 20 pieces
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There's a good reason why pupusas are El Salvador's national dish. These stuffed masa cakes can be found everywhere in El Salvados, and are usually served with salsa and the traditional curtido, or cabbage slaw. This recipe is for Salvadorian pupusas filled with cheese and beans, but you can also find them filled with chicharrón, chicken, beef and other fillings. You can get creative with the recipe, but we're sticking to the classic version here. It's another simply delicious way for you to "make meals that do more" and give your loved ones an authentic, tasty dish that's also nutritious.

If you've never tried (or cooked) Salvadorian pupusas before, they're a tasty way to get creative in the kitchen! You can make everything -- the masa cakes, filling, curtido and salsa -- from scratch at home. They're also a relatively easy and affordable dish to prepare, and all of the ingredients should be readily available at your local supermarket. We found everything we needed at Publix, where we also scored great deals on our mayo ($1.75 off any one Hellmann’s® Mayonnaise 15-20 oz. or $2.00 off any one Hellmann’s Mayonnaise 24-30 oz.) and chicken bouillon ($1.00 off any two Knorr® Sides or Selects products).

Salvadorian Pupusas

Salvadorians are rightfully proud of their pupusas, and you can be just as proud of this homemade version! Serve them fresh from the skillet, garnish with curtido and salsa, and let your family dig in!

Enjoy this recipe, and for more great food ideas, check out In addition to tasty food ideas, you can learn all about Unilever's mission to improve access to fresh food and nutrition education for underserved communities.

Buen provecho!



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  1. For Curtido, combine Hellmann's® or Best Foods® Real Mayonnaise, 1/3 cup cider vinegar, salt, sugar and red pepper flakes in large bowl. Add cabbage and carrots. Finely slice 1/2 of the white onion and stir into cabbage and carrots; refrigerate until ready to use.Salvadorian Pupusas
  2. For Salsa, process remaining 1/2 of the white onion, roughly chopped, plum tomatoes, garlic, chilis, 1/2 cup water and 1/2 tsp. Knorr® Chicken flavor Bouillon and remaining 1 tsp. of vinegar in blender until smooth.
  3. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in medium skillet over medium high heat. Carefully pour contents of blender into skillet and bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature before serving.
  4. For refried beans, heat 1 tsp. oil in medium skillet and cook yellow onion, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to blender, reserve skillet.
  5. Add beans, 1/2 cup water and 1/2 tsp. Bouillon to blender or food processor and process until smooth. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in reserved skillet and fry bean mixture, stirring, until very thick and darkened slightly; reserve.
  6. For cheese filling, process cheese and poblano pepper in food processor until paste-like consistency; reserve.
  7. For pupusas, combine masa, remaining 1/2 tsp. Bouillon and 3-1/2 cups water in large bowl to form a slightly sticky dough, adding more water, little at a time, if needed. Cover and let rest 10 minutes before forming pupusas.
  8. Divide dough into 20 egg-size balls, cover with a damp towel. Form each ball into a deep bowl shape, fill with 1 scant Tbsp. cheese mixture, pressing into side of dough, then top with 1/2 Tbsp. bean mixture. Bring edges together to seal. Gently pat and squeeze ball to form a flat disk, about 4-in.; repeat.
  9. Heat skillet over medium high heat. Lightly brush with 1 to 2 tsp. oil. Cook pupusas in batches, until golden, with slightly darker spots, about 6 minutes, turning once. Serve with Curtido and Salsa.
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