Ever had a tortilla with cole slaw on it? Me neither, at least, not till today when I first tried pupusas. This is one of the most satisfying meals that I’ve ever had. It must be something about the combination of beans and corn. They were just meant to be together. If you’ve never worked with masa because of fear, fear no more! It takes only a little experience to get it just right. I have that tiny bit, thanks to Cindy!
Curtido de Repollo (Pickled Cabbage)
Since the curtido de repollo tastes better after chilling for a while, it makes sense to make it first. Mix all of the following together in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
1/4 head of cabbage, shredded
1/2 large carrot, grated
1/4 onion, diced
1/2 jalapeno, minced
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. water
1/2 t. oregano
1/2 t. kosher salt
Mix together until a dough forms:
5 c. masa harina
3 1/2 c. water (You may need a little more, so have some ready.)
The texture should be fairly dry, but wet enough to work with in your hands. Test it like this: take a small ball and smash it in your hand. If it cracks, add a tiny bit of water to your masa. If it’s completely stuck to your hand, add a little more masa to make it drier. It takes a little bit of figuring out, but it’s not hard. Set the dough aside while you make the filling.
To cook black beans from dried, put 1 lb. of beans and 8 c. water in the Instant Pot. Cook at high pressure for 25 minutes, then quick release. Divide into 1 1/2 c. baggies to freeze for later, keeping one for this recipe. Or, drain 1 can of black beans.
Brown in a skillet:
1/2 lb. ground sausage
Mix with the sausage:
1 1/2 c. black beans
1 c. queso fresco or another mild, white cheese
Filling and Cooking the Pupusas
Preheat a griddle or pan to medium-high heat or 400 degrees.
Grab a fist-full of masa and make an indentation in it, as if you are going to make a clay pot. (Remember that from elementary school?) Fill the indentation with some of the filling and close it up. Then, use both hands to smash to pupusa flat, making sure the filling doesn’t escape. If it cracks a lot, wet your hands before shaping the dough to help keep it together. It takes a little practice to get it right. Here’s a helpful article with some pictures for this step:
Cook the pupusas over medium-high heat on a griddle or in a pan (no oil needed). They take just a few minutes per side.
Top the pupusas with curtido de repollo and enjoy.
Note: It is possible to make bigger pupusas (like twice the size of these), but they are a little harder to shape because the dough cracks pretty easily. Your choice.