Pupusas Revueltas are a cheesy stuffed thick tortilla crowd pleaser. These griddled corn cakes come from El Salvador, where they are the national dish. They are commonly served with a salsa roja, (red salsa) and curtido, a vinegar based cabbage slaw.Jump to Recipe
What are Pupusas?
Pupusas are the national dish of El Salvador. They are made with masa, the nixtamalized corn, and they are stuffed with meat and cheese.
Nixtamalized corn, is corn that has been treated with an alkaline solution such as lime. This process improves the nutritional value, the aroma, and the flavor properties of corn. When it's ground and dried into a powder it's known as masa carina. Masa harina is what we will be using in this recipe.
It's the same stuff tortillas, tamales, and empanadas are made from. Masa harina is delicious, easy to work with, and naturally gluten-free. Masa is something I keep in my cupboard. The traditional yellow kind is most common, but I've also used masa made from blue corn for a fun color addition.
What are a Pupusas Revueltas?
Traditionally in El Salvador there are a few typical flavors. The most common would be cheese, refried bean & cheese, or pork known as chicharron. They can also be made with Loroco a flower bud native to Central America that's treated as a vegetable.
Pupusas revueltas are the best kind. They combine pork, cheese, and beans for the holy trinity of pupusas or as I like to say: the mayor of pupusa flavor town.
Who invented Pupusas?
While we think of them being from El Salvador, the history of pupusas actually goes way back. The dish has been linked to Pipil Tribes, the indigenous people of Cuzcatlan.
Cuzcatlan was a Pre-Columbian Nahau state. The period of time before Europe had significant influence on the Americas. The Aztec and Toltec cultures were also part of the Nahau Ethnicity. In the Pre-Columbian period the Nahau people did not have a unified identity but instead identified by tribe.
Enough about food history, let's make some pupusas!
How to make Pupusas Revueltas
If you haven't prepared any meat start off by doing that. Slow cooked braised meats work the best, chicken, beef, or pork. Or omit the meat completely and make cheese pupusas. I often make pupusas with whatever leftover protein I have. For this recipe I'm using my seriously easy overnight pulled pork.
Make your masa by following the directions on the package. For this recipe we use 2 cups of masa 1/2tsp salt 1 1/2 cups of warm water per batch of dough. Using hot water allows the masa to hydrate fully and creates a better product. I usually just heat the water in a glass measuring cup in the microwave.
The dough should feel smooth and come together easily. If your pupusas are cracking they can benefit for a splash more water. Form the dough into 7-8 equal sized balls a little bigger than a golf ball.
How to fill and shape pupusas from scratch
The next step is the actually filling. Mix your cheeses, and place your refried beans and meat into a bowl.
The next step is the one that requires the most technique. What we're trying to achieve is to stuff the pupusa with as much filling as humanly possible, without overfilling and without the filling leaking a bunch out of the sides.
There's a couple ways to do this. Some people like to use a tortilla press, to press the balls into roughly 4 inch discs. Others like to use plastic wrap or parchment. I make mine by laying plastic wrap across a flat plate, then I place the ball on the plate and press it with a second flat plate also wrapped in plastic wrap. Having plastic wrap on both sides helps the dough release easily.
Once you get the hang of it you can press several discs at once. But be careful not to do too many in advance as your dough may dry out.
Some people find it easier to mix everything together to only have one filling. Start by grabbing a little cheese, beans, and pork and placing it in the center of the disc. Leave a small perimeter clean around the edge.
The goal is to completely wrap this filling so you can't see it any more. It should look like a smooth ball at this point. You may find it easier to wrap the dough around the filling by using plastic wrap and cupping it in your hand.
After that, simply flatten it. Do this between plastic wrap or parchment using a flat object or a rolling pin. The end result should be a cheesy filled disc with very little filling exposed.
Repeat the process for the rest of the pupusas.
How to cook Pupusas
The last part is the easiest part. Heat a pan over medium high heat. Add a table spoon or two of oil depending on how many you are cooking. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side until the dough feels crispy and browned on both sides.
These freeze extremely well. I often make a giant batch and freeze them uncooked. I cook them from frozen and you can't tell the difference. Serve it with salsa roja (fire roasted tomato salsa) and curtido.
- Saute Pan
- Mixing Bowl
- Plastic wrap or parchment
- 2 flat plates
Dough Recipe for 15 Pupusas
- 4 c Masa Harina also known by brand name Maseca
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 cup hot water
- 1 lb pulled pork, or other precooked meat
- 8 oz mozarella cheese
- 4 oz cotija cheese crumbled
- 16 oz refried beans (canned is ok)
- 2 tbsp oil
Making Pupusa Dough from Masa
- If using half blue masa half regular masa divide the water and salt in half and mix dough separately. Microwave or heat water until it's hot to the touch but not boiling. Combine with masa to form a smooth dough.
- Prepare the filling ingredients. Gather pre-cooked pulled pork or other meat. Crumble the cotija and mix with mozzarella. Open a can of refried beans or make from scratch.
- Start by flattening the dough into 4" discs usings parchment paper or plastic wrap inbetween two flat objects.
- Add a little of each filling to the disc, leaving a small perimeter clean.
- Using plastic wrap the dough around the filling to form a smooth ball. No filling should be visable at this point.
- Again using two flat plates and plastic wrap press the pupusas flat. Try to press them evenly so that no filling oozes out.
- Repeat the process for the remaining pupusas.
- Preheat a saute pan or griddle to medium high heat. Add a tablespoon of oil and cook 2-3 minutes on each side until the dough is crispy and lightly browned.
- Serve with curtido and salsa roja! Enjoy
I was a little nervous to try this at first because it seemed like it would probably take a long time...but it was actually pretty easy and the papusas turned out AMAZING! My family absolutely loved them. Thanks for the great recipe!