Saturday, August 7, 2010

En la cocina

7/8/20 (August)
Kristen says...

I went back to Mayoreo today to introduce two of the other new teachers to the market. Wow, it's amazing how much more confident I feel after just one month! Instead of staring around, overwhelmed (and a little scared), relying on Cristiana or some other kind, English-speaking soul to tell me what's what, now I was the one being relied on. True, Cristiana was there (thank you!) but I picked up the newbies, I drove to the market, I parked, I steered people around, I bought things without asking Cristiana about the price (before I bought it), and, after Cristiana left, I got my friends out, intact, and with everything we wanted! Woot!

I bought a wide assortment of the "essentials" today: lentils, quesillo, potatoes, zanahorias, chorizo, bananas, tortillas, eggs, garlic, etc, and some things that were...not.Too touristy?

I love my hat and Honduras bag! (The other side is the Honduran flag!!! :) My favorite thing about it is that I bargained! In Spanish!!! :) (True, I only got the price down 15 Lemp, or less than $1.00, but still, I call that a win!) The hat he wouldn't budge on, but I'm ok with that. We've bought from him before, and he does AWESOME things with weaved grass. All total, I spent less than $15, so I am a happy girl.

Of course, after you go to the market and buy all that deliciousness, you have to do something with it...so I decided to try to make my favorite Honduran food, pupusas!

I followed a very simple, and (I think) traditional recipe:
2 c. Maseca (finely ground corn) flour
Water
Quesillo
Basically you mix the flour and water (another recipe gave the proportion of 1 c. water to 2 c. flour...I didn't see that until after I'd mixed so I kept adding water to make the dough wetter), then take a glob in your hands, flatten it a bit, put the quesillo on it, squish it back into a ball, flatten it again, and cook it over medium heat (in some veggie oil) until it is browned a bit outside.

Because I didn't initially add enough water, the first one was really thick and really dry--it actually fell apart when we tried to turn it over. The recipe called for dough the size of two golf balls, which made a big, thick pupusa, much thicker than the ones at restaurants are. Also, I don't think I put in enough quesillo, because only the center had it, and there wasn't much.
Before I made the second pupusa I added more water, and tried to make it less thick. Again, I think the 2 golf ball thing was too much, and it was still too dry. I added more quesillo this time, but the outside rim was still dry and boring.
The third pupusa was the best. It was still too big, but I added A LOT of quesillo and made it thinner...maybe a cm at its thickest, while I think the first one was well over 1 1/2 cm. The thick outer rim was still a little bland, but ok.
So, how was my first pupusa-making experience? Survey says...not terrible. I made a palatable corny and queso-filled dinner that tasted fine, although nothing like Paseo across the street.

Thoughts for next time:
  1. More water. The dough was just too dry. I'm going to try the 2 c./1 c. ratio first off next time. Chris also suggested maybe adding a bit of oil with the water?
  2. Less dough (smaller pupusas)! The 2-golf ball thing was too much. The pupusas were too thick, too corny, too bland.
  3. Spice? I might try adding garlic salt to part of the dough, just for fun.
  4. Revueltas! Basically mashed red beans and quesillo mixed together. The quesillo was delicious (fresh from the market this AM!) but goes so well with red beans. (I guess I'd better find a recipe for that, too!)
  5. Is cooking them in a vegetable oil slicked frying pan the best way? Would a griddle be better?
All-in-all, I am happy with my first attempt. It definitely makes me glad I went to the market today--that really inspired me to try my hand at my own pupusas. I'm sure next time they will be even better!
Pupusas make me smile! :)

FYI: If you're interested in keeping up with what 6th, 7th and 8th graders learn in their Social Studies class, you can head on over to my classroom blog. If you're not interested, I won't be offended. :) Just make sure you keep reading this blog...and follow us as well! Or, leave us a comment. We love to know who is reading about our Honduran adventure! :)

KF




3 comments:

  1. The ones that I have seen made had about a golf ball size piece of masa, maybe just a little larger (I'm trying to remember how big a golf ball is!) and the cheese was a cube of about an inch. Adding a little seasoning to the masa would be good.

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  2. if pupusas are Honduran, are baleadas Salvadoran?

    Bebu

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  3. A few notes about pupusas.

    Here in the West they are usually called "empanadas".

    Having lived for a bit in El Salvador I do have to say that Salvadoran pupusas are normally better than Honduran pupusas. I especially like pupusas made with rice flour.

    Both here and in El Salvador I have had pupusas with a filling of cheese and lorocco (a local plant) or cheese and squash! Both of these combinations are - in my humble taste - exquisite.

    But for Honduras, give me baleadas!

    Kristen, the elote season is upon us. Don't be too disappointed that they have nothing to do with Iowa sweet corn, but there are some nice elote products, including pan de elote and riguas.

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