This is a fairly authentic version of the popular Salvadorean dish. It does take some time, however it is well worth the effort! You can purchase pre-made chicharron at specialty markets, however this recipe tastes just like it. I also make the salsa roja and curtido ahead of time (the salsa freezes very well, and the curtido can stay in the fridge at least a week).

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Recipe Summary

prep:
1 hr
cook:
39 mins
additional:
1 hr 15 mins
total:
2 hrs 54 mins
Servings:
15
Yield:
30 pupusas
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Ingredients

15
Original recipe yields 15 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Salsa Roja:
Curtido:
Chicharron:

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Combine tomato sauce, water, cilantro, green bell pepper, onion, crushed garlic, bouillon cube, and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook and stir until vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes. Let salsa roja cool for 10 minutes.

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  • Fill a blender halfway with the salsa roja. Cover and hold lid down with a potholder; pulse a few times before leaving on to blend. Pour into a bowl. Repeat with remaining salsa roja. Return to saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes more stirring occasionally. Allow to cool completely, about 1 hour, and refrigerate.

  • Place cabbage and carrots in a large bowl. Add 4 cups boiling water and let stand for 5 minutes. Drain well. Mix in vinegar, scallions, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Chill curtido until serving.

  • Place bacon in a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until almost fully cooked and not yet crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer bacon and grease (if desired) to a food processor. Add tomatoes, quartered green bell pepper, Monterey Jack cheese, and minced garlic. Puree and season the chicharron with salt.

  • Mix masa harina and 1/2 cup water together in a bowl by hand. Add the remaining water slowly, about 2 tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition, until dough is moist but still firm. Cover with a wet towel.

  • Heat 1/2 cup oil a large skillet over medium-high heat.

  • Take a golf ball-sized piece of dough and roll into a ball in your hands. Make a hole in the dough ball with your thumb; put a small amount of chicharron inside the hole, close it up, and flatten the ball with your hands into a thick tortilla shape. Place pupusa in the skillet and fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining dough and chicharron.

  • Serve each pupusa topped with 2 tablespoons of curtido and 1 tablespoon of salsa roja.

Cook's Note:

Mozzarella cheese can be substituted for the Monterey Jack cheese.

Editor's Note:

We have determined the nutritional value of oil for frying based on a retention value of 10% after cooking. Amount will vary depending on cooking time and temperature, ingredient density, and specific type of oil used.

Nutrition Facts

234 calories; protein 9.9g 20% DV; carbohydrates 33.8g 11% DV; fat 7.7g 12% DV; cholesterol 15mg 5% DV; sodium 676mg 27% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (2)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 4 stars
01/29/2018
You definitely need to plan ahead to make this. They take some time but are worth it in the end. I do think these would be perfectly fine as written but I made a few minor changes due to who I was making them for. Our good friends are from El Salvador and are very particular about the roja and curtido. After comparing her recipe to this one, I left out all of the green for the roja. The minor change with the curtido is that I used white onion instead of green which was her request. For the filling I ended up adding more cheese to get the texture I was going for. These turned out really good. They had never had them with bacon before and they enjoyed them. She did suggest I add some beans to the filling next time so I'll put that out there. The hardest part of making pupusas for me is stuffing and then forming them. I had her here for help and she did it like a pro. After watching her I realized that in the past I try to flatten them too much. She left them large and fluffy so that they were easier to shape. I definitely recommend making the roja and curtido ahead of time like I did so that the flavors have a chance to get acquainted. I also recommend buying the already shredded cabbage and carrot in a bag to save some time. If you have never made pupusas you are missing out! Read More
(4)
2 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 1
  • 4 star values: 1
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 4 stars
01/28/2018
You definitely need to plan ahead to make this. They take some time but are worth it in the end. I do think these would be perfectly fine as written but I made a few minor changes due to who I was making them for. Our good friends are from El Salvador and are very particular about the roja and curtido. After comparing her recipe to this one, I left out all of the green for the roja. The minor change with the curtido is that I used white onion instead of green which was her request. For the filling I ended up adding more cheese to get the texture I was going for. These turned out really good. They had never had them with bacon before and they enjoyed them. She did suggest I add some beans to the filling next time so I'll put that out there. The hardest part of making pupusas for me is stuffing and then forming them. I had her here for help and she did it like a pro. After watching her I realized that in the past I try to flatten them too much. She left them large and fluffy so that they were easier to shape. I definitely recommend making the roja and curtido ahead of time like I did so that the flavors have a chance to get acquainted. I also recommend buying the already shredded cabbage and carrot in a bag to save some time. If you have never made pupusas you are missing out! Read More
(4)
Rating: 5 stars
04/09/2019
Roja came out delicious and everything else was on point Read More