Lent season has arrived, and Holy Week is around the corner. This recipe is perfect for those that observe Fish Friday, and for anyone who just wants to enjoy a delicious fish pupusa, and curtido anytime of the year.
Pupusas de Pescado / Fish Pupusas
Recipe by Alicia Maher
Serves 6 (2 per person)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped tomato
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped green bell pepper
- 1 pound Tilapia fillet
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 4 cups instant corn masa flour
- 3½ to 4 cups water
- ½ cup water to wet hands
- 2 cups Pickled Cabbage, Onions, and Carrots
Heat the oil in a large skillet over a medium flame. Add the onion, tomato and green pepper. Stir and sauté these ingredient s for 2 minutes. Add the fish fillet and cilantro, stir everything well. Cover and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes. Uncover, and with a fork, combine everything together, add salt and ground black pepper to taste. Remove from stove and let it cool. Use for the Pupusa filling.
Preparing the Corn Masa Dough:
- Place the corn masa flour in a shallow bowl. Mix in the water, 1 cup at a time, kneading by hand for about 10 minutes until the dough is moist and fluffy. If needed, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time. The dough can be prepared the day before, if covered and refrigerated.
Making the Pupusas – Method 1:
- Divide the dough into 12 equal small balls. Divide the fillings equally for the 12 pupusas.
- Take the dough ball in the palm of your hand, pushing the center of the ball with your fingers to make a well. Fill each pupusa with the fish filling. When done, close the top by pushing and pinching the open space together, so that the end result will be a completely filled and sealed dough ball.
- Wet your hands, press and pat each ball between your palms and flatten into a thin dough round that is about 4 inches in diameter and ¼-inch thick. Make sure the edges are nice and thin, but be careful not to press too hard so that the filling does not spill out of the sides.
Making the Pupusas – Method 2:
- Divide the dough into 24 equal small balls. Divide the fillings equally for the 12 pupusas.
- With wet hands, press and pat each ball between your palms and flatten into thin dough rounds that are about 4 inches in diameter and ⅛-inch thick. Place the flattened rounds on top of plastic wrap, waxed paper, or a damp kitchen towel to prevent them from sticking to any solid surface.
- With your fingers or the back of a tablespoon spread the fish filling evenly on the 12 flattened rounds. Cover these with the other 12 flattened rounds and seal the edges with your fingertips taking care that the edges are nice and thin. Finally, gently press and pat each pupusa between your palms before cooking on the comal or griddle.
Cooking the Pupusas:
- Heat a non-stick griddle or large heavy skillet over a medium to high flame.
- Typically, once the pupusas are formed by hand, using either method, they are placed straight onto the skillet or griddle. If you set them aside before cooking, make sure to wet your hands and gently pick up each pupusa, and pat lightly between the palms of your hands.
- Gently place the pupusas on the hot surface and cook for about 5 minutes on each side, frequently turning them over to ensure even cooking. The pupusas are ready when they puff up and turn slightly golden. Serve with Curtido, Pickled Cabbage, Onions, and Carrots.
You can find more recipes like this in my cookbook, Delicious El Salvador: 75 Authentic Recipes for Traditional Salvadoran Cooking.