Salvadoran Pupusas Revueltas

Country 44 – El Salvador

The smallest and most populated country in Central America, its landscape ranges from high mountains and active volcanoes to over 300km of Pacific sandy coastline to its spectacular nightlife to the dozens of coffee plantations situated in the country. Nicknamed the Tom Thumb of the Americas, welcome to El Salvador.

Coatepeque Lake, El Salvador

Coatepeque Lake, El Salvador

El Salvador is a small country bordering Guatemala and Honduras in Central America. The official language is Spanish since it was part of the New Spain colony for over 200 years (between the 16th to 18th centuries).  El Salvador is situated on the Cocos tectonic plate, which has led to country to have hundreds of earthquake and volcanic eruptions.

San Salvador is the capital and is located Boquerón Volcano Valley in the south west of the country. The city is heavily influenced by Los Angles especially in architectural terms, with styles architectural styles like Googie, Populuxe, Modernist, Streamline Moderne, Art Deco and Futurist being present in buildings around the city. The city has a historic downtown area with numerous buildings being national attractions.

Teatro Nacional de El Salvador (National Theatre in the historic downtown)

Teatro Nacional de El Salvador (National Theatre in the historic downtown)

Salvadoran Cuisine

The indigenous Pipil and Spanish peoples have heavily influenced the traditional cuisine. Popular ingredients include; maize (corn), Loroco (an edible vine), Izote flower, plantain, yucca or cassava and Salvadoran cheeses such as queso duro, queso freso, and cuajada. Some of the most loved dishes include; Pupusas, Tamales, Sopa de pata (soup made from plantain, cow’s feet, corn and tripe),  yuca frita and panes rellenos. The national liquor of El Salvador is Tic Tack, distilled from sugar cane and the other popular drink is Horchata, made from milk and a mix of spices.

Tic-Tack

WHAT I MADE

I decided to make Pupusas , one of the most common dishes in El Salvador. I’d heard of them before from a TV show called Bizarre Foods America (its really good, I would greatly suggest watching if possible) anyway in episode 1 season 3 the host visits a Salvadoran restaurant and samples some Pupusas, so when I got El Salvador I knew I had to make them. After finding a recipe here’s the link  Pupusas Revueltas from fellow WordPress blog Latinaish. Next I had a quite large obstacle of trying to locate a store that sold MASECA Corn Flour (Instant Corn Masa Flour) in my area, let me tell you this took so long, at first I thought I had found a place but ringing them found that they only sold in bulk for businesses, so the search continued long and far with me scouring the internet for any mention of MASECA in Sydney. I finally found a small Latin American store in Fairfield that stocked it, success! So if any you dear readers live in the Sydney area and are in need MASECA or some other Latin ingredients go to  Tierras Latinas.

RECIPE

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

For the Filling

  • 500g pork mince (you can even use turkey or chicken if you don’t eat pork)
  • 1 tbs. minced garlic
  • 1-2 tbs. canola oil
  • 1 medium tomato, washed and quartered
  • 1 medium Poblano or the equivalent green pepper, washed, stem & seeds removed, and quartered
  • 1/2 a medium onion, cut in half
  • 1/2 cup refried beans
  • 250g whole milk mozzarella cheese, grated coarsely
  • salt to taste

For the Dough

  • 3 cups MASECA
  • 3 1/4 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

For Salsa

  • 3 to 4 fresh large tomatoes (Roma are best), chopped
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 of a medium-sized red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 of a medium Poblano pepper, chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • A few shakes of Worcestershire sauce (also known as “Salsa Perrins.”)

Method

1. Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add oil and garlic. Stir for a few seconds before adding meat and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until browned. Remove from heat, set aside. (Note: Many people use chunks of pork in place of ground pork and after cooking, run it through the food processor. This is totally up to you. I’ve used both methods and both work.)

2. In the food processor blend together tomato, chilli and onion till as smooth consistency. Pour into a bowl, add to the pork and mix to combine. Taste and correct with salt if needed. Add the refried beans. Stir to combine. Set the mixture aside.

4. In a large bowl sprinkle salt over MASECA and then pour in water. Mix by hand until combined, should be a smooth soft consistency.

5. To form pupusas, take a large handful of dough, (slightly bigger than a golf ball), and pat it into a tortilla. Cup your hand so the tortilla forms a bowl-like shape. In the hollow, place a large pinch of the pupusa filling. Close your hand gently to fold the sides up around the filling and form the ball again. Pat out into a thick tortilla shape, repeat with remaining dough and mixture.

6. Make salsa by combining all ingredients.

7. Place on a hot griddle, comal or non-stick frying pan. (No oil is needed, although I did some with oil and they were better) Flip to cook on each side. Serve with salsa.

 

My pupusas with salsa

My pupusas with salsa

The pupusas were alright, quite doughy. I’m not exactly sure what went wrong with mine, I think I didn’t put quite enough meat & cheese mixture but then I couldn’t fit much more in my dough “cups” without the mixture spilling out or being seen through the dough. Also I didn’t like the salsa that I made that much as it was very strong and acidic, I have changed the recipe from the one I followed, to something I think is a lot nicer.Maybe you’ll have more luck with both the pupusas and the salsa! And as for me I’ll just have to wait for some lovely Salvadoran to make some pupusas for me. Score 5/10

P.S Sorry for the lack of posts the last 2 months, we’ve both been super busy working and learning, hope you’ve all been eating some good food while we’ve been gone! Comment your favourite meal you’ve had in the last week below!

 

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Tuna Samosas from Mauritius – so delicious! Especially with Rougaille

MAURITIUS – Tuna Samosa with Rougaille

Wow country Number 49 ! I have been putting off doing Mauritius as I wanted to make a Mauritian classic, Prawn Rougaille – prawns in a spicy tomato sauce. But because my daughter doesn’t eat seafood, opportunities to have it were small. I came up with this recipe as an alternative, it’s also very popular in Mauritius and I thought the twist of adding tuna to a samosa sounded pretty unusual.

We love samosa, and enjoyed many tasty varieties in India, particularly when served split open and topped with a ladle of spicy channa dal (chickpea curry)! Yum yum! This version was so good that my kids who aren’t really that fussed on tinned tuna, gobbled them up and even had the leftovers cold for t lunch the next day!

Where it is

The Place

Mauritius – is the world number one for luxury tropical island destinations, famous for high-end resorts, white, white sandy beaches, deep sapphire water, reefs, stunning beach lined lagoons and picturesque off shore islands. So where is it exactly? Well it’s east of Madagasar and south of the Seychelles (see our post!)

7 Coloured Earths at Chamarel

Sample great food from the melting pot of interesting cultures from Indian, Chinese and French, and walk in the mountainous interior with waterfalls and rainforest for those who can tear themselves away from the beach and allied water activities.

Pamplemousses Botanic Gardens

Colourful locals, busy markets especially in the capital Port Louis, lots of historic sights such as the beautifully maintained Chateau de Labourdonnnais and the lush jungle of Black River Gorge National Park. Museums like the mind-boggling Curious Corner of Chamarel, lovely  botanical gardens, fun shopping and of course eating out.

The Food

An interesting blend of cuisines from French, Chinese, African and Indian migrants paired with a wealth of exotic seafood and tropical produce. Street food is hot favourite and there is a huge variety of fried treats, and dim sum is popular too.

Locals love all things pickled, use lots of spices particularly cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric and cloves, making unusual curries incorporating western herbs such as thyme and exotic meats like duck and octopus.Rice, noodles, flatbread and french style bread are key staples, along with chillis – a hot chilli paste called mazavaroo is served with absolutely everything even fruit!

Street food stall

Favourite dishes are rouigalle a tomato, garlic and chilli sauce that is the basis of many dishes, gateauax piment (pepper cake)  a spicy fried lentil pattie, and dholl poris, a delicious fried flatbread spread with spiced lentils, rolled up and eaten with pickles, chutney, and vegetables.

The abundant tropical fruits are fabulous, particularly good are the small local pineapples and coconuts – either drunk or eaten fresh and still soft. Many desserts feature fresh fruit along with the local vanilla and the delicious boutique sugars, also popular are the rich fudgy Indian sweetmeats called mithai.

Mithai

Mithai

Drinks

Mauritius is a big producer of some of the worlds best vanilla, and vanilla infuses many things including a delicious black tea and rhum. Sugar is another main crop and so rum of course is very popular and so are ti rum punches which are flavoured with various fruits and spices.  Phoenix beer is made here, and a popular drink alouda is like a weird milkshake with tapioca balls.

Alouda

Alouda

One thing is for sure, you’ll never go hungry in Mauritius and you’re spoilt for choice with so much delicious food available!

TUNA SAMOSA                       Makes 8 – 10

Dough

  • 1½ cups plain flour
  • 3 tb ghee/softened butter (doesn’t taste as good though)
  • ½ – ¾ cup warm water
  • ½ tsp salt
  1. Sift flour and salt, rub in ghee.
  2. Gradually add water to make a firm dough, can do this in a mixer, then knead 5 minutes only.
  3. Cover and rest 20 – 30 minutes. Punch down, and divide into even golf ball-sized balls.Keep rest covered while working.
  4. Roll out each ball into a 20cm circle, cut each circle in half, brush straight edge with water, fold over straight edge to straight edge, to form a wedge shaped pocket.
Tuna Samosa

Tuna Samosa

Filling

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 green chillies, chopped
  • 1 tb oil
  • 2 x 185 gm tins tuna in water/brine, drained
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 6 fresh curry leaves
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • ¼ tsp  turmeric
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tb fresh coriander, chopped
  1. Heat oil in frypan, saute onion, ginger and chilli until soft.
  2. Add spices and fry 1 minute, stir in tuna, breaking up lumps. Cook 2 minutes, stir in coriander and cool.
  3. To put together : Take a pocket, fill with tuna mix, don’t overfill – pinch edges together to tightly seal. Can do this with a fork.
  4. Meanwhile heat oil in a deep fry pan, deep-fry samosa until golden brown. Drain.
Tuna Samosa with Rougaille

Tuna Samosa with Rougaille

Rouigaille – Spicy Tomato Sauce

  • 2 tb oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tb coriander roots and stems, finely chopped
  • 1 long green chilli, sliced
  • 6 tomatoes chopped
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs thyme/ ¼ tsp dried thyme
  1.  Heat oil in a saucepan, fry onion till soft, add ginger, chilli and garlic, fry 1 minute.
  2. Add curry leaves, fry 1 minute, add spices and stir till fragrant.
  3. Stir in tomatoes, and rest of ingredients, cover and simmer 15 minutes.
  4. Serve at room temperature with hot samosas.

Even my kids who don’t like tuna, loved these tasty treats, and we all voted to have them again, so a great dish, scoring an 8/10. The spicy tomato sauce really complimented the samosa, so it’s worth making that as well.