Photo: Starre Vartan
Pupusas can be stuffed with a number of fillings, and it's up to you to decide what you want to include. Traditional fillings include cilantro, cheese, jalepeno, ham, mushrooms and beans. If you are serious about making the dish, you have all the fillings laid out for stuffing.
The exterior of the pupusa is made of corn or rice meal, mixed into a dough. I prefer the flavor of the cornmeal, especially mixed with beans, cheese and jalepeno, or mushroom and cilantro (my two combos of choice), but ricemeal pupusas are popular enough that they are commonly available. (I don't like rice much, so I wasn't surprised that rice pupusas weren't very appealing to me.)
Once you've flattened your pupusa shell into a pancake, you add your fillings in the middle, fold it in half, make it into a pouch, and pull off excess dough from the top. Then you flatten it again, slapping it hard to form a pancake, but now with fillings inside.
Slap those pupusas, lightly greased with olive or vegetable oil, on the grill. Smash them flat, and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
(That's fellow travel writer, Lilit Marcus, who is joined in on the pupusa-making with me, above.) Pupusas should be round and whole — no holes with filling leaking out.
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