I never knew how easy pupusas were to make until I spotted a bag of “corn masa” mix at the Mexican market. I was like, “hey we could make vegan tamales, or PUPUSAS!” and we got all excited and subsequently I bought way too much food, as is my way. I also happened to have a jar of mole sauce in my cupboard so I decided to do sort of a pupusa/enchilada hybrid which turned out SO GOOD. These are super easy to make and you can top them with whatever veggies you want and smother everything in mole. Here’s what you’ll need:
For the pupusas:
2 cups corn masa (you should be able to find this at any Latin grocery)
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 tsp salt
Just mix all three together and knead until everything is soaked in. Let sit for at least 5 minutes before squashing them into pupusa-submission.
For the filling:
ANYTHING YOU WANT
You can use vegan cheese, spinach, broccoli, tomato, shredded carrot/zuchini, potato, vegan “meat,” tofu, pumpkin, even fruit like apple or banana/plaintain is great for a sweeter filling. I used sweet potato which I roasted with onion until it was soft and lightly browned. Should be lightly seasoned with salt, I also added paprika and cayenne pepper.
For the sauce:
Dona Maria Mole sauce (comes concentrated in a glass jar, totally cheap, so fucking amazing)
can of diced tomato (I used Muir Glen Organic tomatoes w/chipotle peppers)
3 cups water
salt to taste
You’ll have to dig out the mole paste and simmer it with the water for at least like 10 minutes, stirring until it has completely dissolved. Then you can add the tomato and however much salt you like. I also like to add some ketchup and tobasco because I’m a shameless gringa.
For the topping:
Cilantro (Put cilantro on EVERYTHING, and I’m not just talking today or this dish, I mean everyday on everything)
Saute whatever vegetables you fancy; we did a mushroom mix with onion.
You don’t really need to season these at all since it will be drenched in very flavorful sauce. You could seriously put anything on top of your pupusas: corn, zucchini, tomato, Libertarians, whatever tastes good to you. Traditionally pupusas are served with a light cabbage/pico-de-gallo-esque slaw, but since this was an enchilada hybrid, I left that part out. Feel free to slaw it up.
When you’ve customized whatever filling you want for your pupusas, make sure it is precooked, as these will be fried relatively quickly and are better with a softer middle. Make sure your filling is cool too, so you don’t burn the shit out of yourself trying to pupusify it.
Heat some vegetable oil on medium in a nonstick pan. Put some of the dry masa mix down on a cutting board before rolling the dough. You want some dough about the size of a ping pong to smash down and roll out into a circle. I just used my hands because I’m ghetto-artisan like that, but you can use a rolling pin cause you’re so domestic-chic. Plop your filling in the middle of the flat circle of dough and squash another ping pong ball of dough down onto it. Then you just need to clean up the sides with your hands to make sure the filling is fully covered and the sides aren’t split. The dough is crumbly, so you really have to use your hands to make it your bitch and then a spatula to get it off the cutting board and into the hot oil. Be careful putting it in there cause it causes quite a wave. Let it cook on each side about 2-4 minutes each or until the sides start getting brown. When it’s done, scoop it out onto a paper towel and lightly press on it to remove excess oil. The mole sauce should already be fatty enough, fatty.
These are now crispy, warm and ready to eat topped with your sauteed veggies, a ladle full of your chipotle mole and a shopping cart’s worth of cilantro. SO GOOD YOU GUISE. Making these for guests makes you seem much more cultured, less racist and you can also say it’s “fusion” cooking or some bullshit. Make something up, their mouths will be full so they won’t talk back.
For side dishes we made lightly sauteed chard topped with toasted pumpkin seeds and warm smashed black beans. They go really well with everything and add more fiber to your already colon-motivating pupusas. But make it your own, so that if it sucks, you can’t blame me. Mine was fucking delicious.