Friday, May 05, 2006

Bean & Cheese Pupusas

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, I decided to try Myra Kornfeld's recipe for Bean & Cheese Pupusas from my current favorite cookbook, The Healthy Hedonist. Actually a Salvadoran food, pupusas are stuffed tortillas made with masa harina. In this recipe, they are stuffed with mashed black beans and grated cheese. They were fun to make and very tasty!

Masa harina is flour made from dried masa and is used to make tortillas and tamales. Masa is made from dried corn kernels that have been cooked and soaked in limewater, then ground. I made a half batch with 1 1/2 cups of masa harina and 1 1/4 cup water. You simply stir the water into the masa harina and knead for two minutes. The resulting dough is light and fluffy and very easy to work with.

To make the pupusas, I divided my dough into ten pieces and flattened out each piece into a circle the size of my palm (one at a time, keep the rest of the dough in the bowl with plastic wrap over the top). I put the dough in my palm and rounded it up into a bowl. I added grated Monterey Jack cheese and then the black bean filling (recipe below) and pinched together the edges, like a Cornish pastie. I then pinched off and removed the pinched edges of the dough and ended up with a smooth fat pancake which I flattened (carefully - too flat and the filling starts to seep through). This may sound tricky, but the masa harina dough is very pliable and forgiving. I fried the pupusas with a tiny bit of oil over medium heat. Kornfeld says cook them over medium - high heat for 2 minutes each side. At medium-high every oil I tried was smoking, so I turned down the heat to medium and cooked them for quite a bit longer (4-5 minutes each side). Serve pupusas with your favorite salsa.

The filling of mashed black beans is spicy and delicious. I didn't have quite enough to fill all of my pupusas so I made some with just cheese (kinda blah) or cheese & jalapeno (fab!)

Here's the black bean filling recipe (adapted from The Healthy Hedonist):

1 clove garlic, crushed
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp oil
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground cumin
7 oz black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh lime juice
3 scallions, white parts minced
black pepper

Mash the garlic with 1/8 tsp of salt and fry in a large skillet until golden (about 2 minutes), stirring constantly. Add the water, paprika, and cumin and mix together. Add the beans and the 1/4 tsp of salt. Using a masher, mash the beans into the liquid. Cook over medium low heat stirring constantly until the liquid is gone and the beans are almost dry. Add the lime juice, scallions, and black pepper and stir well. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

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Blogger Amy Sherman said...

Those look really nice! I've never made pupusas before, just messed around trying to make "low-fat tamales". I never realized they were do easy to do. After trying several well-known places, I do have a favorite Salvadorian restaurant in the Mission that makes excellent pupusas.

11:25 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Amy - I love that masa harina! So easy to work with and it smelles great!

8:43 PM  
Blogger Julia said...

A very late comment but these came out delicious. I ran across a reference to pupusas in another blog and found your recipe. They are so delicious that I'm trying to not devour an unseemling pile of them.

1:47 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

the black bean filling is so good! even on its own, yum.

10:08 PM  

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