What's a Pupusa? (Hint- It's Your New Favorite Savory, Stuffed Masa Cake!)

Our good friend and recipe contributor Sandra Gutierrez helps us discover what goes into these delightful pockets of flavor.

"Pupusas are Salvadorian masa cakes that are deliciously stuffed with wonderful fillings such as cheese, beans, or pork" says Sandra Gutierrez. They're typically served with zesty tomato sauce or salsa, and a cabbage slaw known as curtido, which is lightly fermented like kimchi or sauerkraut. The process starts by making a dough out of masa harina (the same ground, nixtamalized cornmeal used to make tortillas, among other things), water and a pinch of salt. Then, you take bits of that dough, fold in your cheeses, roll them into a ball, and flatten them into stout discs.

Chorizo Seitan Pupusas with Radish, Carrot & Artichoke Salsa

In Sandra's words, "The great thing about this recipe is that it's so easy to make, that you can come home from work and have dinner ready in a jiffy." Each pupusa takes a turn and flip in a hot, dry skillet (it's okay if a little cheese or filling melts out) and they're ready to enjoy! If you're still wary of the challenge, no worries - we've got a tutorial video just for you:

The best thing about pupusas (other than eating them, of course) is how versatile they are. You can fill them with pork or chicken, refried beans, cheese, veggies.... really, anything savory and well-seasoned will do. Plant-based diners are welcome to the party too, as things like crumbled tofu, tempeh and seitan chorizo slide into the filling just as deliciously as anything else (perhaps enough to fool omnivores!). The traditional curtido is flexible, too; a quick cabbage slaw or salsa will mimic the tangy, bright notes you crave to compliment savory pupusas.

Are they as tasty as they sound? Oh yes! As Sandra puts it, "Each bite of pupusas offers such a sensory explosion of creamy cheese, toothsome masa, and crunchy cabbage slaw that you'll feel satisfied and re-energized."

We'll have what she's having!

Sandra Gutierrez and her sopes

Born in the USA, Sandra grew up in Latin America, where she learned about Latin American cuisine. In a career that spans more than two decades, food writer and instructor Sandra Gutierrez has taught thousands how to cook. Born in the United States, this bilingual, award-winning Latina author of four cookbooks is considered one of the top national experts on Latin American and Southern regional cuisines.