El Salvador (North America) 30 May 2021

El Salvador is located in the continent North America. It has Honduras to the north and northeast, Nicaragua to the east and southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the south and Guatemala to the northwest.

The capital is San Salvador.

The official language is Spanish.

The climate is tropical and is generally warm. Heavy rains are prevalent during the winter months May to October, with the summer being the drier months from November to April. The staples are maize, pork, seafood, thick handmade rice and corn flour flatbread, refried beans, garlic, cheese, sardines, turkey, chicken, cucumber and so much more (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvadoran_cuisine).

https://www.britannica.com/place/El-Salvador

PUPUSA (https://www.acozykitchen.com/how-to-make-pupusas):

Pupusa Dough:

  • 3 C masa harina (such as maseca)
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2-3/4 C cold water (from the faucet is fine)

For hands:

  • 1 C water
  • 2 TBSP olive oil or neutral oil
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the masa harina and salt. Pour in the cold water and using a spatula, stir the masa until mostly combined. Then using your hands, mix the dough until a very soft dough forms. The dough will be very soft. This is totally okay; this means a delicious pupusa is on the way!
  2. I found it easiest to use a 2oz ice cream scoop and scoop out the masa into balls onto a piece of parchment. You could also do this with your hands but be sure to make the water/oil mixture above and coat your hands with it first.

Filling:

  • 2 C shredded mozzarella (or Oaxacan cheese or any other melty cheese)
  • ½ C pickled jalapeno peppers, diced
  • ½ C diced roasted butternut squash

To assemble the Pupusas:

  1. Add the water to a measuring cup and pour in the oil (you can eyeball this). Lightly dip your hands in the water/oil mixture, making sure your palms are evenly coated. This will make it, so the masa doesn’t stick to your hands.
  2. Preheat your oven to 200F. I like to place the pupusas in the oven while I make the rest of the pupusas so they can stay warm and melty. I place a cooling rack atop of a baking sheet and place it in the oven.
  3. Working one at a time, flatten the balls gently until they are about ½” thick discs. Place a TBSP or two of mozzarella cheese, a small bit of diced jalapeno and squash in the center and wrap the dough around the filling creating a half moon shape. Pinch the edges to seal it completely. And then pat the dough gently, flattening it and alternating hands until it reaches about ¼” thick and about 4” in diameter. Feel free to re-grease your hands as needed. Repeat with the remaining balls of dough.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add a tsp of neutral oil and brush the surface with a silicon brush. Add the pupusas to the pan, fitting two to three at a time. Don’t be shy to break out another cast iron skillet (if you own it). Cook each pupusa for 4 to 6 minutes per side and then transfer to the baking sheet in the oven. Repeat this process until you’ve worked your way through all of the pupusas.

To serve the Pupusas:

Serve the pupusas with the curtido, wedges of lime and salsa.

Here are my Pupusas. They don’t look like much, but they were really good!!

CURTIDO (https://www.acozykitchen.com/how-to-make-pupusas):

  • ½ head of cabbage (2 C of shredded cabbage)
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1 TBSP dried Mexican oregano (if you can’t find Mexican oregano, use Italian)
  • 1 C hot water
  • 1 C apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar

In a medium bowl, toss together the cabbage, carrots and Mexican oregano. In a measuring cup, stir together the hot water, vinegar, salt and sugar; pour it over the cabbage/carrot mixture. Allow it to come to room temperature and then cover it with plastic wrap and transfer it to the fridge for at least 4 hours and preferably a day before serving.

Here is how my Curtido turned out. Very good flavor!!

LECHE POLEADA (Salvadoran Vanilla Custard) (https://hispanickitchen.com/2013/12/23/leche-poleada-salvadoran-vanilla-custard/):

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 TBSP cornstarch
  • ¾ C granulated white sugar
  • 3 C cold milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  1. In a small bowl beat the egg yolks well and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan off the heat, combine the cornstarch and sugar with a whisk. Slowly add in the milk and mix until smooth.
  3. Heat the mixture over a medium flame, whisking continuously until it thickens. Once it reaches a boil, take 2 TBSPs of the custard mixture and quickly whisk into the egg yolks; this will temper the egg yolks to avoid curdling when they come in contact with the boiling custard.
  4. Now, briskly whisk the egg yolks into the custard. Reduce heat to medium low, continue cooking and constantly whisk for 10 more minutes. Turn off the heat, add the vanilla, and continue whisking for another 2 minutes to release the steam.

Serve hot for a creamy texture. If serving cold the custard will set and harden a bit. Sprinkle each serving with cinnamon.

Here is my Leche Poleada looked. Tasted much better than it looks here!!
My overall meal!!

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