Pupusas are maize flour pancakes filled with various ingredients. The recipe is from El Salvador where the most popular are with refried beans, pork and cheese. Other versions may use a combination of prawns, zucchini, or spinach and cheese. Lilian Funes de Murga, owner and chef of Los Latinos restaurant in Melbourne, talks us through this recipe of her childhood, which she developed in Australia. "To me, this "eat with your hands" kind of dish screams out for something cold, crisp and lager-like. There’s some lovely spice in there, a little heat and plenty of fresh, crunchy vegetables. That sort of combo is just asking for a flavour-filled beer with a bit of punch to it, so it can stand up to the intense papusas. For that reason, I reach for an impressive, (relatively) new kid on the block, the Doss Blockos Pale Lager from East 9th Brewing in Melbourne. It’s got a real hoppy kick, a bit of body and plenty of refreshment value." Dan Coward
- 1 cup red kidney beans (or black beans)
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 brown onion, finely diced
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for deep-frying
- 250 g diced pork belly, fat trimmed (for chicharron)
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ tomato
- 1 green capsicum, chopped
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup Australian feta
- 2 cups maize flour (must be 'masa lista’, white maize flour)
Curtido (pickled cabbage salad)
- ¼ cabbage, grated (using a knife or mandolin)
- 1 carrot, grated
- 1 onion, finely sliced
- 2 hot red chillies, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 500 ml brown vinegar
- salt, to taste
- 5 roma tomatoes
- ½ onion
- ½ green capsicum
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 hot red chilli, finely chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Drink match Doss Blockos Pale Lager, Melbourne, Vic
Curing time overnight or longer if possible
Soaking time overnight
You will need to begin this recipe 1 day ahead
To make the curtido, mix the cabbage, carrot, onion, chillies and oregano, then place in a sealable container or jar. Pour in the vinegar to cover (or, if you prefer, use half vinegar and half hot water). Season to taste, seal and set aside to cure overnight. The longer it cures, the better. You can keep a large jar of curtido in the fridge for a few days.
Soak the red kidney beans in water overnight.
To make the salsa, place the tomatoes, onion and capsicum in a pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Set aside to cool for a while. Drain the ingredients and keep the water. Place in a blender, adding the oil. Blend, gradually adding the reserved water, until it reaches the consistency you prefer. (Less water results in a chunkier sauce.) Place the mixture in a saucepan, add the chilli and season to taste. Bring to the boil, stirring. Set aside in a container or jar. (This will keep for a few days refrigerated.)
To make the pupusas, drain and rinse the beans. Transfer to a saucepan cover with 4 cups water, add 1 garlic clove and salt to taste, simmer for 40 minutes or until the beans soften. Drain and set aside to cool. Place the beans in a food processor and blend until the skins are well blended in the mix.
Place 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan and fry one-third of the chopped onion and 1 chopped garlic clove until soft. Add the bean mixture, season to taste, and stir until the beans form a thick paste. Set aside.
To make the chicharron, heat some oil in a saucepan no more than ⅓ full. Deep-fry the pork with 1 garlic clove and the bay leaf until golden brown. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Place the pork, tomato, half of the capsicum and half of the remaining onion in a food processor, and blend until a rough paste forms. Season and set aside.
Place the mozzarella, feta, remaining onion and capsicum in a food processor and blend until the mixture forms a ball. Set aside.
Mix the flour with 1½ cups of water to make a soft dough. Make a ball of dough with about 4 tablespoons of the flour mixture and then flatten very thinly.
Add 1 tablespoon each of the pork and cheese mixture, press edges together to seal the papusa, and flatten to about ½ cm thick and roughly the size of a CD, making sure the edges don’t crack. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
Cook over a high temperature on a preheated hotplate or flat non-stick pan for about 1 minute each side, or until the edges are golden brown and the cheese starts to melt.
Serve with the curtido and salsa.
• If you don’t want to make beans and sauce from scratch, use canned refried beans and tinned crushed tomatoes. If you’re vegetarian, you can add zucchini or spinach to the cheese mixture.