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What Are Pupusas?

Updated on September 25, 2014

The tastiest Salvadoran pupusa recipe

"What are pupusas?" was not a question that had ever entered my head until we moved to El Salvador. Indeed, I had never even heard the word pupusa used, and had no idea what one was!

When we first arrived I was not at all impressed by this Salvadoran dish that everybody told us that we needed to try because it is fantastic. I am not a lover of tortilla, probably for the same reason, that I find it to be very heavy and stodgy.

Then I had a revelation. We went to a friend's house and she served pupusas. I didn't want to appear rude, so I took one, just intending to nibble at it.

The difference in the taste was amazing, and left me speechless (much to Senor cicak's delight!). She told me that she bought them from her local papuseria and that they were made from rice flour, not maize flour. The rice flour gives the papusa a lighter texture, and I was able to enjoy the delicious combination of warm bread and hot melted cheese.

We have since moved house, and this papuseria is only a couple of minutes walk from our house, and pupusas have become a regular Sunday breakfast treat!

If you have never tried a pupusa or are a Salvadoran living abroad who is feeling nostalgic for your homeland, please enjoy reading this review, where I try to answer the question "What are pupusas?" and I share my maid Rosa's pupusa recipe with you.

Photo Credit, Amazon:

Salvadoran Street Food

What are Pupusas, papusas or pupisio?

Papusas, pupusas or pupisio are a food dish that were first made by the Pipil people who lived in the area now known as El Salvador, and remains of cooking implements used to make papusas have been found at Joya de Ceren, and date their existence to two thousand years ago.

They are basically a dough, made from maize or rice flour, somewhat similar to a tortilla. The difference is that the dough is rolled into balls and a filling placed inside, before the dough is flattened and cooked.

Traditionally pupusas are served with curtido, a pickled cabbage relish and a red salsa sauce.

Until relatively recently pupusas were very much a localised food, enjoyed in central Salvadoran towns such as Olocuilta. During the middle of the last century, as the population became more mobile, pupusas became known all over El Salvador, with regional variations occurring.

During the civil war in the 1980s many Salvadoran's left El Salvador to take up residence in other countries, mainly the United States. As is common with migrants the world over, Salvadorans began to cook their traditional foods in their new home countries and dishes such as pupusa became known to more people.

photo credit: roland via photo pin cc

A question for you......

Have you ever tried pupusas?

Yes

Yes

Submit a Comment

  • Tony Payne 4 years ago from Southampton, UK

    I tried them in San Salvador and instantly fell in love.

  • ProgDjentleman 4 years ago

    It´s a nice dish, it´s PUPUSAS with U

  • anonymous 4 years ago

    Yes! I love them. We have several great Honduran/Salvadoran restaurants around here that serve pupusas :)

  • Mamabyrd 4 years ago

    I love papusas I really need to learn to make them

  • MayaIxchel 5 years ago

    Yep! I love them!!

  • LaurisB LM 5 years ago

    Absolutely! Love 'em! Had a lot of them when we were in Guatemala.

No

Submit a Comment

  • Kathryn Grace 4 years ago from San Francisco

    No.

  • adragast24 4 years ago

    Not yet, but would love to try

  • RinchenChodron 4 years ago

    Not yet.

  • Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

    No, and they sound very appealing. Unfortunately it is a bit of a trek to anyplace that I could get one.

  • Wedding Mom 4 years ago

    I haven't tried papusas yet.

  • poutine 4 years ago

    No, but I would try them if I find them around here.

  • Elyn MacInnis 4 years ago from Shanghai, China

    No - I have never heard of them, but they remind me of street food from other countries I have visited. I bet they are really tasty!

  • olmpal 4 years ago

    No , I have never heard of papusas.

  • aquarian_insight 5 years ago

    No, not yet, but they look and sound delicious.

  • John Tannahill 5 years ago from Somewhere in England

    No, never heard of them - I would definitely try them though.

  • anonymous 5 years ago

    Not yet, but I'd love to try them.

  • Itaya Lightbourne 5 years ago from Topeka, KS

    This is new to me.

  • anonymous 5 years ago

    Never heard of them.

How do you make pupusas?
How do you make pupusas?

Pupusa Recipe

photo credit: satanoid via photo pin cc

Do you want to learn how to make pupusas?

This is the recipe that my maid Rosa uses and I was amazed at the simplicity of the ingredients.

No yeast or time to for it to rise, just flour, warm water and your choice of filling.

I hope that you enjoy trying out this recipe!

Serving Size

Serves: 8 pupusas

Ingredients

  • Masa Harina (Tortilla flour) or Aroz Harina (Rice flour) - 2 cups
  • Warm water - 1 cup
  • Filling - 1 cup

Instructions

  1. Mix the flour and water together in a large bowl.
  2. Knead the dough thoroughly
  3. Add more water, a tablespoonful at a time if needed. The dough should be moist but firm dough,
  4. Cover the bowl and leave the dough to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Split the dough into 8 equal parts, and roll each into a ball.
  6. Make an indentation in the ball with your thumb.
  7. Place approximately 1 tablespoon of filling into the indentation and fold the dough over to cover the filling.
  8. Flatten the ball with the palms of your hands to form a flat disc, taking care that that the filling doesn't spill out.
  9. Use a tortilla press to press each ball to about 5 or 6 inches wide and about 1/4-inch thick. You can place the dough between two small plates and apply pressure if you don't have a press.
  10. Grease a skillet and heat it over medium-high flame.
  11. Cook each pupusa for roughly 1 to 2 minutes on each side, until lightly browned.
  12. Place on a plate and keep warm until you have cooked all the pupusas.
  13. Serve with Salvadoran coleslaw and salsa sauce
Cast your vote for Rosa's Pupusa Recipe

Salvadorean Bakery Making Pupusas

Which do you prefer?

What flour do you prefer your pupusas to be made from?

Maize Flour

Maize Flour

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • anonymous 3 years ago

      EPIC fail

    • Kathryn Grace 4 years ago from San Francisco

      I love corn tortillas and just about everything corn, so it's maize flour for me.

    • GreenGranny 4 years ago

      I love Maize flour but any thing unbleached is okay by me:) I am ready to become an ex-pat just to get away from bleached flour! lol

    • Mamabyrd 4 years ago

      I have never had them with rice flour

    • MayaIxchel 5 years ago

      I don't believe I have had anything other than corn flour ones. But would love to try rice flour.

    • LaurisB LM 5 years ago

      Maiz! Although I have to say I had never heard of using rice flour, so it might be interesting.

    • Lori Green 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      I like corn.

    Rice Flour

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • Tony Payne 4 years ago from Southampton, UK

        I don't like maize flour, and that is why I don't like some tortillas, but rice flour is good.

      • RinchenChodron 4 years ago

        Rice because it's lighter.

      • Elyn MacInnis 4 years ago from Shanghai, China

        Rice anytime.

      • aquarian_insight 5 years ago

        I've not tried either, but I think I would like the lighter consistency of the rice flour. I'd be happy to try either though.

      What's your favourite pupusa filling?

      What's your favourite pupusa filling?
      What's your favourite pupusa filling?

      What is your favourite pupusa filling?

      See results

      Different Pupusa Fillings

      Have I made your mouth water at the thought of pupusas?

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        • profile image

          tonyleather 3 years ago

          Sounds like a very tasty treat indeed!

        • ecogranny profile image

          Kathryn Grace 4 years ago from San Francisco

          Oh my yes. I'd love to try these. I could almost taste them, just looking at the photos.

        • Mamabyrd profile image

          Mamabyrd 4 years ago

          I just came back for a quick visit. I'm going to try tomake pupusas for the first time today. I really hope they turn out!

        • Elsie Hagley profile image

          Elsie Hagley 4 years ago from New Zealand

          After reading your recipe, I am quite keen to try them. But I haven't seen them here in New Zealand, may have to try to make them myself. Thanks for sharing. Blessed.

        • TonyPayne profile image

          Tony Payne 4 years ago from Southampton, UK

          I haven't had these in over 20 years, would love to try some again. Maybe I need to find a Salvadoranian restaurant next time we are in Florida. I know of one there. I loved Pupusas, such a great taste.

        • adragast24 profile image

          adragast24 4 years ago

          Looks so good I want to have one now...

        • WriterJanis2 profile image

          WriterJanis2 4 years ago

          Congrats on your new purple star!

        • Rosaquid profile image

          Rosaquid 4 years ago

          Definitely!

        • Rosaquid profile image

          Rosaquid 4 years ago

          Definitely!

        • JoyfulReviewer profile image

          JoyfulReviewer 4 years ago

          You betcha ... these look so delicious! I've bookmarked this page for future use. ~~Blessed~~

        • Mamabyrd profile image

          Mamabyrd 4 years ago

          Oh yes! Im going to try to make some

        • Wedding Mom profile image

          Wedding Mom 4 years ago

          They look so good.

        • Elyn MacInnis profile image

          Elyn MacInnis 4 years ago from Shanghai, China

          Yes - for sure! Sounds wonderful. Especially the cheese ones ;-)

        • profile image

          olmpal 4 years ago

          Definitely! It sounds delicious and I would like to give it a try!

        • profile image

          aquarian_insight 5 years ago

          These look similar to an Indian paratha. I would love to try this. Great lens and thank you for introducing me to these, although my diet may not thank you. *blessed*

        • profile image

          anonymous 5 years ago

          These look really tasty and I'm thinking about having a go making some.

        • JohnTannahill profile image

          John Tannahill 5 years ago from Somewhere in England

          I think I would leave it to someone with experience to do the cooking. You've certainly taught me something new today - and made me hungry too.

        • JohnTannahill profile image

          John Tannahill 5 years ago from Somewhere in England

          I think I would leave it to someone with experience to do the cooking. You've certainly taught me something new today - and made me hungry too.

        • profile image

          pawpaw911 5 years ago

          Sounds good to me. What Are Papusas, is exactly the question I asked when I say the title.

        • MayaIxchel profile image

          MayaIxchel 5 years ago

          Most certainly! I had never thought about making them myself, but now that I see the videos and recipes, I think I might have to give it a try!

        • LaurisB LM profile image

          LaurisB LM 5 years ago

          Oh, yes!

        • ItayaLightbourne profile image

          Itaya Lightbourne 5 years ago from Topeka, KS

          They sound very delicious! :)

        • kburns421 lm profile image

          kburns421 lm 5 years ago

          I've never had one of these, or even heard of them until now, but they sound delicious!

        • profile image

          anonymous 5 years ago

          Yes, I need to go eat lunch.