Pupusas- El Salvador’s National dish

Whenever you feel like indulge in travel nostalgia this tasty and simple Pupusas recipe is for you!

Pupusas – without a doubt our most frequently eaten dish in El Salvador! Pupusas have a long-standing tradition in El Salvador and date back centuries. Tools to prepare the delicious dish have even been found in Joya de Ceren, America’s Pompeij.

Pupusas are not only the cheapest, easiest and most commonly found dish in El Salvador, but they also come with various fillings.

Curtido, a spicey cabbage-carrot salad usually accompanies the savory filled masa. Traditionally you would ferment the curtido. But for this recipe, we’ll go with a quicker alternative. Because of its many variations,  you can enjoy them for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

– beans and cheese

– cheese and chorizo

– chicken and cheese

Flor de Izote (Did you know that El Salvador is actually the only country to use its national flower for cooking)

Loroco con queso (our favorite, unfortunately, you can only eat it in El Salvador)


For the pupusas’ dough

  • 2 cups of masa harina ( a healthier form of maize flour)
  • 1,5 cups of water
  • a pinch of salt

For the filling

  • 1/2 cup grated cheese
  • 1/2 cup red or black beans
  • 1 garlic glove

For the curtido

  • 1-2 carrots, grated
  • 1/2 shredded cabbage head
  • 1/2 thinly sliced onion
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • a pinch of salt
  • chili according to taste
  • a pinch of brown sugar


Start with the curtido

Place grated carrots, onions, and shredded cabbage head in a bowl. Combine the remaining ingredients to dressing and pour over the cabbage-carrot mixture. Place the bowl in the fridge and let it rest for at least 3 hours. It tastes even better the next day if you have a chance to give it a little longer.

 For the pupusas:

Start by cooking the beans for 20 minutes before, add garlic before roughly blending the beans. Add the cheese. The consistency should be pretty doughy.

Making the dough is really simple. Combine masa harissa, water, and salt and form a flexible, not too dry dough. You can toy around with the masa and water until the mixture has a perfect consistency.

Form eight, golfball-sized little balls. Use your thumb to create a little cub. Add one teaspoon of the filling and close carefully. The most challenging part starts now: Try to get the pupusas as flat as possible without exposing its fillings.

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