Flea markets are fascinating places- there aren’t many other places where it is socially acceptable to thumb through people’s stuff. Flea markets often attract some interesting characters, and people watching there always leads to philosophical pondering about humanity.

My best flea market experience, you ask?  (Yes, you are asking).  A friend and I were once approached my a young artist who offered to sell a drawing of him and his “boys” (as in peers not children for those of you not as hip on the lingo as I am).  We looked at his stuff and told him we would have to get back to him later if we decided to buy something.   Unfortunately, he could not afford a website since he was quoted a reasonable cost of $10,000, but he gave us an e-mail address where we could find him if we were ever in the market for some art.  Fast friends can be made at a flea market.

Apparently, flea markets are also a great place to get some good food as well. My first experience with pupusas was at our town’s flea market, and it was love at first bite. Pupusas are a Salvadoran dish where a corn mixture is stuffed with filling, lightly fried, and topped with a cold cabbage slaw.

Put in any filling that you can think up- I personally think some pork carnitas with some queso fresco would be wonderful. Or even just plain  cheese would be delicious.  Pupusas are very similar to the Mexican gorditas and would be a great dish to celebrate the Americanized holiday of Cinqo de Mayo.  I support any holiday that perpetuates the idea of eating guamole, drinking margaritas, and snacking on pupusas.

Do you think I could sell someone this website for $10,000?  These pupusas are worth at least $5,000.  I will accept cash, credit, or debit.


Adapted from The Kitchn


For the Cabbage Slaw:
3 cup shredded cabbage
2-3 carrots, julienned
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Red pepper flakes, to taste

For the Pinto Bean Filling:
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup pinto beans
1 /2 cup grape tomatoes, chopped
Bay leaf
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 cup vegetable/chicken broth
2-3 ounces queso fresco, crumbled

For the Pupusa:
2 cups masa harina
1 1/4-1 1/3 cups water
Cooking spray


For the Cabbage Slaw:

In a large bowl stir together cabbage, carrots, and red onion. Stir in vinegar, sugar, salt, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Adjust seasoning to taste. Chill for at least 1 hour, or longer. The flavor will develop the longer you let it chill.

For the Pinto Bean Filling:

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Melt butter and add onion. Cook until softened, 5-6 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional 1-2 minutes, until fragrant. Stir in pinto beans, tomatoes and bay leaf. Season with smoked paprika, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper. Add vegetable/chicken broth. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Simmer until liquid is completely absorbed, 8-14 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the Pupusas:

In a large bowl stir together masa harina and water, starting with the least amount. Let sit for 10 minutes. If the mixture is too dry, add more water (I find 1 1/4 cups of water to be enough).

Separate the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll into balls and press flat. Spoon a small tablespoon amount of pinto bean mixture in the center of each piece of dough. Sprinkle queso fresco on top. Wrap corn batter around filling, pinching closed. Press into flat disk.

Heat a large skillet over high heat. Spray the pan with cooking spray (I find this is easier than melting butter since it evenly coats the pan more). Place pupusas in pan and cook for 3-4 minutes per side. Repeat as needed until all pupusas have been cooked.

Serve pupusas with cabbage slaw and additional queso fresco on top.

Makes 12 pupusas, served 3-4.

One thought on “Pupusas

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