Immigrant Food--Pupusa

Heritage cooking is immigrant cooking--the art of preserving family recipes by preparing food of your native country in your adopted country. Recently, Roxana, my friend from El Salvador, was kind enough to show me how she makes Pupusas con Curtido, the most recognized Salvadoran dish. It is a type of stuffed pancake served with a mild fermented slaw. Easy to assemble and delicate in flavor, this is the type of food that is good for preparing ahead to take to a picnic in the park or to the beach. Actually, when my friend goes to the beach with her family, she gets up early, makes a big patch of Pupusas and keeps them wrapped in foil packets. She says that they stay hot to warm for several hours and they're easy for the kids to eat on the beach--no plate required.

They don't look amazing, but they are. Kept hot for hours, pupusas are a great plate-free hand food.

In the following video, Roxana shares her method for stuffing the masa with a mix of zucchini and mozzarella. Her method is a little different from what you usually see, but you can compare and decide which one you want to use. In her native country, they use another type of mild cheese, but in her new home, she's found that mozzarella is similar enough in taste and melting characteristics that she's using it in her pupusas. She uses grated zucchini, but in El Salvador, they use a type of green or mashed beans to mix in with the cheese.

For Roxana, it's easy enough to use a "no recipe" recipe. If you'd prefer to use specific amounts, here are a couple of links to recipes that you may want to try: Bon Appetit and the Kitchn . They both include recipes for Curtido (the slaw).

Curtido, the fermented slaw or relish is used atop a pupusa.
Roxana shares her story of how a neighbor in El Salvador taught her how to prepare Pupusas. Often, it is not a family neighbor who passes on the cooking traditions.