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‘Energy Balls’ Are a Sad Excuse for Food and I’ll Never Eat One

‘Energy Balls’ Are a Sad Excuse for Food and I’ll Never Eat One


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Let me take you through the tragedy of one too many of my afternoons. I’ll be scrolling through Pinterest, Instagram, or wherever I happen to be browsing for recipes, and I see an enticing offer: Cocoa-Dusted Coconut Cream Truffles. Um, yes please!

I open the recipe, scroll to the ingredients to discover what delectable foods go into making such a chewy, chocolatey bite. The photos look divine.

I find the list: peanuts, chia seeds, collagen, chickpeas, unsweetened cacao…. ARGH.

Again? Really?!

I’ve tried these “treats” before. They taste like a dense ball of extra-grainy dirt dusted with unsweetened cacao — that’s nature’s excuse for chocolate that’s harvested and made palatable with heaps of sugar.

Before you get all high and mighty, know that I’m not some health-hater who binges on cookie dough and subsists on fast food. I’m a wellness blogger and the Healthy Eating Editor for The Daily Meal; I’ve been interested in health and wellness for years. I understand nutrition and eat a balanced diet. I cook, I eat kale, and I live for matcha lattes.

But these “energy balls”? I cannot get on board.

If you want a truffle, eat a damn truffle. These look like Godiva but taste like juice pulp.

Sorry, bloggers. Even if you hashtag #balance next to a coconut-covered energy ball, you’re not fooling anyone into thinking you eat dessert.

Then there are some people who make these energy balls not as a dessert replacement, but as a healthy snack to eat on the go. If you want a nutritious snack, you don’t have to spend 30 hours mushing nuts and protein together in a clogged, cranky blender to make one. Pick up a snack bar or just eat the nuts and fruit separately like a normal human being.

I don’t need to purée and mold my cashews into tiny balls of food. I can eat them on my own with my very able human hands, thank you very much.

Energy balls are like robot food. A tiny ball of condensed nutrition that’s almost always tasteless that people inhale during the day as “fuel” or whatever.

Somehow, people have become more entranced with the words “five ingredient” than with “deliciously satisfying.” No matter what form they’re in, cashews and raisins are going to taste like cashews and raisins. Spending hours beautifying them into their truffle disguise will not make them taste better.

So eat your cashews and raisins separately. Throw a couple chocolate chips in there, too — live a little. Then you’ll have an appetizing assortment, kind of like trail mix. But whatever you do, stop living a lie with your five-ingredient truffles and stop fooling me with your impressive food photography. Unless I’m making a recipe for a delicious dessert, I’m not cocoa-dusting anything.

Holly Van Hare is the Healthy Eating Editor at The Daily Meal with a passion for podcasting and peanut butter. You can listen to her podcast Nut Butter Radio on iTunes and follower her health food Instagram @eating_peanut_better for more.


Salvadoran Recipes: Pupusas de Chicharrón and Curtido

I once drove eight hours roundtrip to Washington, D.C., in single day just to get pupusas.

The excuse I gave everyone was that I wanted to see the cherry blossoms and catch up with college buddies, but I&rsquoll be honest: those were secondary. The real reason was it had been over three years since I had a pupusa, and I was living in what felt like a very sad, homogenous town at the time. I desperately needed something more.

Stepping into Gloria&rsquos Pupusaría on Fourteenth Street in Columbia Heights felt like coming home—from the Selena fan art on the walls to the jukebox blasting ranchera music, but, mostly, it was that my meal was served on melamine plates with a Chinese &ldquolongevity&rdquo pattern, straight from my childhood kitchen.

In the early 1980s, D.C., and the United States in general, had just started to see its first significant wave of immigration from El Salvador following the Salvadoran Civil War in 1979. Folklorist Charles Camp described the Adams Morgan neighborhood as the new home of many new Salvadoran immigrants, &ldquoin part because of the neighborhood&rsquos concentration of Hispanic businesses, but also because old patterns of daily and weekly food shopping are accommodating in a New World marketplace that provides comforting elements of tradition—the foods being sold and the way which they are sold, from displays to language.&rdquo

Thirty-five years later, gentrification has significantly changed the makeup Adams Morgan. The Latino hub of D.C. is now Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant, with even more development and food options if you venture out into the suburbs of Maryland.

Flipping through the Smithsonian Folklife Cookbook, it&rsquos interesting to reflect on a time and place when pupusas had to be described as &ldquoSalvadoran Pies&rdquo to the general public. Featured in the 1985 Folklife Festival program Cultural Conservation, local guest chef Rita Torres Gonzales made pupusas de chicharrón (griddled pork-stuffed masa patties) and curtido (fermented cabbage slaw) for visitors to the National Mall that year.

As program curator Marjorie Hunt wrote, &ldquoCultural conservation had been an underlying, if implicit, principle of the Festival of American Folklife [now the Smithsonian Folklife Festival] since its beginning in 1967. In 1985 the Festival inaugurated a program that explicitly explored [this] question from several points of view. The exhibit examined the kinds of contexts in which cultural conservation becomes a necessary concern it documented efforts on the part of the keepers of tradition themselves to conserve their own culture in the face of a changing social and physical environment and it explored the efforts of U.S. public cultural institutions to address the problem of cultural conservation.&rdquo

I chose to make this dish because I love this pattern: in our efforts to conserve and celebrate other cultures, bits and pieces are woven into our lives until they are inexplicably a part of what makes us us. Because how else can a pre-Colombian dish from El Salvador made in Washington, D.C., end up invoking home to the daughter of Chinese immigrants from California?

Pupusas de Chicharrón

Recipe by Rita Torres Gonzales, adapted by Kathy Phung

Notes from the kitchen: My adaptation come from watching countless videos online. For techniques on how to fill the dough, I suggest you do the same. In this video, the cook just makes two tortillas, fills one, and lays the other over it. Mind. Blown.

Ingredients

2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (fatty pieces okay)
Salt
1 medium onion
1 green bell pepper
1 large tomato
2 cups masa harina
Salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups hot water, plus more as needed
1 cup water, room temperature
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Preparation

Season the cut meat liberally with salt. In a large frying pan over low to medium heat, add pork and cook. It&rsquos okay to start the pan with a little bit of vegetable oil if needed. Stir the meat occasionally to allow it a chance to brown on all sides. When meat is golden brown on all sides, remove meat using a slotted spoon. Remove fat from pan, reserving enough to coat the bottom of the pan.

Chop onion, bell pepper, and tomato into large chunks. Using a food processor or blender, grind pork with vegetables (in batches, if needed) until there are no visible chunks. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Return the pan with fat to medium-high heat. Cook the pork and vegetable mixture until the moisture is gone, checking for seasoning as you go. Move to a bowl to cool. There will be significantly more filling than dough. You can adjust the amount of masa by making more or freeze the chicharrón for later.

In a medium mixing bowl, add the masa harina, a pinch of salt, and the tablespoon of oil. Start by adding 1 cup of hot water to the masa, using a wooden spoon if you can&rsquot handle the heat with your bare hands, and adding the remaining half cup as needed. If the dough is very dry and cracks easily, add water by the tablespoon until dough is pliable. Cover and let rest for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat a griddle or cast iron pan to medium heat. Ready a bowl of water and a tablespoon of oil. Divide the dough into 9 equal balls, roughly the size of golf balls. Wet your hands in the water/oil mixture. With the ball in one hand, make an indentation with your thumb and turn the dough until you have made a cup. Fill with approximately two tablespoons of filling and close off by pushing the masa up and around the top of the filling, rolling it into a smooth ball. Slowly and evenly flatten the ball into a circle, approximately 4 inches in diameter. Wet hands as needed to prevent masa from sticking to your hands.

Place the pupusa on the ungreased griddle and cook. Treat the first pupusa like the first pancake to adjust the heat. Serve with curtido and salsa roja.

Variations: pupusas are also commonly filled with refried beans, cheese, loroco flowers, or any combination of the above. My personal favorite is the revuelta, which is chicharron, beans, and cheese.

Curtido is always available for pupusas, whether it&rsquos waiting for you on the table in a sit-down restaurant or from a stand on the side of the road, where it will come in a little plastic baggie along with some bagged salsas. If you have nothing but time, try your hand at Rita Torres Gonzales&rsquos recipe for curtido, which includes making your own vinegar. If you&rsquore a little more impatient like me, I&rsquove also provided a quick pickle recipe.

Beware, a whole head of cabbage yields almost two quarts of curtido. While it does last a while, be ready to add it onto other dishes, like rice and sausage or a breakfast sandwich with an egg patty and salsa verde between toasted bread.

Curtido (Fermented Cabbage Slaw)

Recipe by Rita Torres Gonzales

Ingredients

1 head cabbage, finely sliced
3 carrots, grated
1 radish, grated
1 small hot pepper, optional
Oil, for frying
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 green pepper, finely chopped
Pinch of oregano
Salt

Pineapple vinegar:
1 pineapple
Grapes, optional
1 peach, sliced, optional
Pinch of oregano, optional
Water

Preparation

Cover cabbage, carrots, and radish with hot water and let set for 30 minutes. Drain.

Heat oil and sauté onion, pepper, oregano, and salt. Combine with cabbage mixture. Add pineapple vinegar.

Method 1: Remove peel of pineapple. Let peel dry in the sun or over a radiator for several days. Put in a jar with water and let sit several weeks. Remove peel. Use liquid as vinegar.

Method 2: Cut pineapple in chunks, including rind. Combine in a jar with a handful of grapes, peach, oregano, and cover with water. Let sit for several days. Use liquid as vinegar.

Quick Curtido

Recipe adapted by Kathy Phung

Ingredients

1 head cabbage, finely sliced
3 carrots, grated
2 long green peppers, jalapeño or serrano, option
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
Salt
1 cup white distilled vinegar, or as need
1 cup water

Preparation

Fill a large strainer with sliced cabbage, sprinkle salt liberally, and toss. Let sit over the sink or bowl to drain for 30 minutes or while you prepare the rest of the vegetables.

After 30 minutes, rinse the cabbage in water, squeezing out the excess water. In a large bowl, add all vegetables and toss together thoroughly. Add 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water to the bowl. Add oregano and toss vegetables to ensure everything is coated. Taste, and adjust for salt. Cover and let sit at room temperature while you make the pupusas. Check back in an hour, tossing and seasoning as needed. Serve with pupusas.


Salvadoran Recipes: Pupusas de Chicharrón and Curtido

I once drove eight hours roundtrip to Washington, D.C., in single day just to get pupusas.

The excuse I gave everyone was that I wanted to see the cherry blossoms and catch up with college buddies, but I&rsquoll be honest: those were secondary. The real reason was it had been over three years since I had a pupusa, and I was living in what felt like a very sad, homogenous town at the time. I desperately needed something more.

Stepping into Gloria&rsquos Pupusaría on Fourteenth Street in Columbia Heights felt like coming home—from the Selena fan art on the walls to the jukebox blasting ranchera music, but, mostly, it was that my meal was served on melamine plates with a Chinese &ldquolongevity&rdquo pattern, straight from my childhood kitchen.

In the early 1980s, D.C., and the United States in general, had just started to see its first significant wave of immigration from El Salvador following the Salvadoran Civil War in 1979. Folklorist Charles Camp described the Adams Morgan neighborhood as the new home of many new Salvadoran immigrants, &ldquoin part because of the neighborhood&rsquos concentration of Hispanic businesses, but also because old patterns of daily and weekly food shopping are accommodating in a New World marketplace that provides comforting elements of tradition—the foods being sold and the way which they are sold, from displays to language.&rdquo

Thirty-five years later, gentrification has significantly changed the makeup Adams Morgan. The Latino hub of D.C. is now Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant, with even more development and food options if you venture out into the suburbs of Maryland.

Flipping through the Smithsonian Folklife Cookbook, it&rsquos interesting to reflect on a time and place when pupusas had to be described as &ldquoSalvadoran Pies&rdquo to the general public. Featured in the 1985 Folklife Festival program Cultural Conservation, local guest chef Rita Torres Gonzales made pupusas de chicharrón (griddled pork-stuffed masa patties) and curtido (fermented cabbage slaw) for visitors to the National Mall that year.

As program curator Marjorie Hunt wrote, &ldquoCultural conservation had been an underlying, if implicit, principle of the Festival of American Folklife [now the Smithsonian Folklife Festival] since its beginning in 1967. In 1985 the Festival inaugurated a program that explicitly explored [this] question from several points of view. The exhibit examined the kinds of contexts in which cultural conservation becomes a necessary concern it documented efforts on the part of the keepers of tradition themselves to conserve their own culture in the face of a changing social and physical environment and it explored the efforts of U.S. public cultural institutions to address the problem of cultural conservation.&rdquo

I chose to make this dish because I love this pattern: in our efforts to conserve and celebrate other cultures, bits and pieces are woven into our lives until they are inexplicably a part of what makes us us. Because how else can a pre-Colombian dish from El Salvador made in Washington, D.C., end up invoking home to the daughter of Chinese immigrants from California?

Pupusas de Chicharrón

Recipe by Rita Torres Gonzales, adapted by Kathy Phung

Notes from the kitchen: My adaptation come from watching countless videos online. For techniques on how to fill the dough, I suggest you do the same. In this video, the cook just makes two tortillas, fills one, and lays the other over it. Mind. Blown.

Ingredients

2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (fatty pieces okay)
Salt
1 medium onion
1 green bell pepper
1 large tomato
2 cups masa harina
Salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups hot water, plus more as needed
1 cup water, room temperature
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Preparation

Season the cut meat liberally with salt. In a large frying pan over low to medium heat, add pork and cook. It&rsquos okay to start the pan with a little bit of vegetable oil if needed. Stir the meat occasionally to allow it a chance to brown on all sides. When meat is golden brown on all sides, remove meat using a slotted spoon. Remove fat from pan, reserving enough to coat the bottom of the pan.

Chop onion, bell pepper, and tomato into large chunks. Using a food processor or blender, grind pork with vegetables (in batches, if needed) until there are no visible chunks. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Return the pan with fat to medium-high heat. Cook the pork and vegetable mixture until the moisture is gone, checking for seasoning as you go. Move to a bowl to cool. There will be significantly more filling than dough. You can adjust the amount of masa by making more or freeze the chicharrón for later.

In a medium mixing bowl, add the masa harina, a pinch of salt, and the tablespoon of oil. Start by adding 1 cup of hot water to the masa, using a wooden spoon if you can&rsquot handle the heat with your bare hands, and adding the remaining half cup as needed. If the dough is very dry and cracks easily, add water by the tablespoon until dough is pliable. Cover and let rest for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat a griddle or cast iron pan to medium heat. Ready a bowl of water and a tablespoon of oil. Divide the dough into 9 equal balls, roughly the size of golf balls. Wet your hands in the water/oil mixture. With the ball in one hand, make an indentation with your thumb and turn the dough until you have made a cup. Fill with approximately two tablespoons of filling and close off by pushing the masa up and around the top of the filling, rolling it into a smooth ball. Slowly and evenly flatten the ball into a circle, approximately 4 inches in diameter. Wet hands as needed to prevent masa from sticking to your hands.

Place the pupusa on the ungreased griddle and cook. Treat the first pupusa like the first pancake to adjust the heat. Serve with curtido and salsa roja.

Variations: pupusas are also commonly filled with refried beans, cheese, loroco flowers, or any combination of the above. My personal favorite is the revuelta, which is chicharron, beans, and cheese.

Curtido is always available for pupusas, whether it&rsquos waiting for you on the table in a sit-down restaurant or from a stand on the side of the road, where it will come in a little plastic baggie along with some bagged salsas. If you have nothing but time, try your hand at Rita Torres Gonzales&rsquos recipe for curtido, which includes making your own vinegar. If you&rsquore a little more impatient like me, I&rsquove also provided a quick pickle recipe.

Beware, a whole head of cabbage yields almost two quarts of curtido. While it does last a while, be ready to add it onto other dishes, like rice and sausage or a breakfast sandwich with an egg patty and salsa verde between toasted bread.

Curtido (Fermented Cabbage Slaw)

Recipe by Rita Torres Gonzales

Ingredients

1 head cabbage, finely sliced
3 carrots, grated
1 radish, grated
1 small hot pepper, optional
Oil, for frying
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 green pepper, finely chopped
Pinch of oregano
Salt

Pineapple vinegar:
1 pineapple
Grapes, optional
1 peach, sliced, optional
Pinch of oregano, optional
Water

Preparation

Cover cabbage, carrots, and radish with hot water and let set for 30 minutes. Drain.

Heat oil and sauté onion, pepper, oregano, and salt. Combine with cabbage mixture. Add pineapple vinegar.

Method 1: Remove peel of pineapple. Let peel dry in the sun or over a radiator for several days. Put in a jar with water and let sit several weeks. Remove peel. Use liquid as vinegar.

Method 2: Cut pineapple in chunks, including rind. Combine in a jar with a handful of grapes, peach, oregano, and cover with water. Let sit for several days. Use liquid as vinegar.

Quick Curtido

Recipe adapted by Kathy Phung

Ingredients

1 head cabbage, finely sliced
3 carrots, grated
2 long green peppers, jalapeño or serrano, option
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
Salt
1 cup white distilled vinegar, or as need
1 cup water

Preparation

Fill a large strainer with sliced cabbage, sprinkle salt liberally, and toss. Let sit over the sink or bowl to drain for 30 minutes or while you prepare the rest of the vegetables.

After 30 minutes, rinse the cabbage in water, squeezing out the excess water. In a large bowl, add all vegetables and toss together thoroughly. Add 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water to the bowl. Add oregano and toss vegetables to ensure everything is coated. Taste, and adjust for salt. Cover and let sit at room temperature while you make the pupusas. Check back in an hour, tossing and seasoning as needed. Serve with pupusas.


Salvadoran Recipes: Pupusas de Chicharrón and Curtido

I once drove eight hours roundtrip to Washington, D.C., in single day just to get pupusas.

The excuse I gave everyone was that I wanted to see the cherry blossoms and catch up with college buddies, but I&rsquoll be honest: those were secondary. The real reason was it had been over three years since I had a pupusa, and I was living in what felt like a very sad, homogenous town at the time. I desperately needed something more.

Stepping into Gloria&rsquos Pupusaría on Fourteenth Street in Columbia Heights felt like coming home—from the Selena fan art on the walls to the jukebox blasting ranchera music, but, mostly, it was that my meal was served on melamine plates with a Chinese &ldquolongevity&rdquo pattern, straight from my childhood kitchen.

In the early 1980s, D.C., and the United States in general, had just started to see its first significant wave of immigration from El Salvador following the Salvadoran Civil War in 1979. Folklorist Charles Camp described the Adams Morgan neighborhood as the new home of many new Salvadoran immigrants, &ldquoin part because of the neighborhood&rsquos concentration of Hispanic businesses, but also because old patterns of daily and weekly food shopping are accommodating in a New World marketplace that provides comforting elements of tradition—the foods being sold and the way which they are sold, from displays to language.&rdquo

Thirty-five years later, gentrification has significantly changed the makeup Adams Morgan. The Latino hub of D.C. is now Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant, with even more development and food options if you venture out into the suburbs of Maryland.

Flipping through the Smithsonian Folklife Cookbook, it&rsquos interesting to reflect on a time and place when pupusas had to be described as &ldquoSalvadoran Pies&rdquo to the general public. Featured in the 1985 Folklife Festival program Cultural Conservation, local guest chef Rita Torres Gonzales made pupusas de chicharrón (griddled pork-stuffed masa patties) and curtido (fermented cabbage slaw) for visitors to the National Mall that year.

As program curator Marjorie Hunt wrote, &ldquoCultural conservation had been an underlying, if implicit, principle of the Festival of American Folklife [now the Smithsonian Folklife Festival] since its beginning in 1967. In 1985 the Festival inaugurated a program that explicitly explored [this] question from several points of view. The exhibit examined the kinds of contexts in which cultural conservation becomes a necessary concern it documented efforts on the part of the keepers of tradition themselves to conserve their own culture in the face of a changing social and physical environment and it explored the efforts of U.S. public cultural institutions to address the problem of cultural conservation.&rdquo

I chose to make this dish because I love this pattern: in our efforts to conserve and celebrate other cultures, bits and pieces are woven into our lives until they are inexplicably a part of what makes us us. Because how else can a pre-Colombian dish from El Salvador made in Washington, D.C., end up invoking home to the daughter of Chinese immigrants from California?

Pupusas de Chicharrón

Recipe by Rita Torres Gonzales, adapted by Kathy Phung

Notes from the kitchen: My adaptation come from watching countless videos online. For techniques on how to fill the dough, I suggest you do the same. In this video, the cook just makes two tortillas, fills one, and lays the other over it. Mind. Blown.

Ingredients

2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (fatty pieces okay)
Salt
1 medium onion
1 green bell pepper
1 large tomato
2 cups masa harina
Salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups hot water, plus more as needed
1 cup water, room temperature
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Preparation

Season the cut meat liberally with salt. In a large frying pan over low to medium heat, add pork and cook. It&rsquos okay to start the pan with a little bit of vegetable oil if needed. Stir the meat occasionally to allow it a chance to brown on all sides. When meat is golden brown on all sides, remove meat using a slotted spoon. Remove fat from pan, reserving enough to coat the bottom of the pan.

Chop onion, bell pepper, and tomato into large chunks. Using a food processor or blender, grind pork with vegetables (in batches, if needed) until there are no visible chunks. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Return the pan with fat to medium-high heat. Cook the pork and vegetable mixture until the moisture is gone, checking for seasoning as you go. Move to a bowl to cool. There will be significantly more filling than dough. You can adjust the amount of masa by making more or freeze the chicharrón for later.

In a medium mixing bowl, add the masa harina, a pinch of salt, and the tablespoon of oil. Start by adding 1 cup of hot water to the masa, using a wooden spoon if you can&rsquot handle the heat with your bare hands, and adding the remaining half cup as needed. If the dough is very dry and cracks easily, add water by the tablespoon until dough is pliable. Cover and let rest for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat a griddle or cast iron pan to medium heat. Ready a bowl of water and a tablespoon of oil. Divide the dough into 9 equal balls, roughly the size of golf balls. Wet your hands in the water/oil mixture. With the ball in one hand, make an indentation with your thumb and turn the dough until you have made a cup. Fill with approximately two tablespoons of filling and close off by pushing the masa up and around the top of the filling, rolling it into a smooth ball. Slowly and evenly flatten the ball into a circle, approximately 4 inches in diameter. Wet hands as needed to prevent masa from sticking to your hands.

Place the pupusa on the ungreased griddle and cook. Treat the first pupusa like the first pancake to adjust the heat. Serve with curtido and salsa roja.

Variations: pupusas are also commonly filled with refried beans, cheese, loroco flowers, or any combination of the above. My personal favorite is the revuelta, which is chicharron, beans, and cheese.

Curtido is always available for pupusas, whether it&rsquos waiting for you on the table in a sit-down restaurant or from a stand on the side of the road, where it will come in a little plastic baggie along with some bagged salsas. If you have nothing but time, try your hand at Rita Torres Gonzales&rsquos recipe for curtido, which includes making your own vinegar. If you&rsquore a little more impatient like me, I&rsquove also provided a quick pickle recipe.

Beware, a whole head of cabbage yields almost two quarts of curtido. While it does last a while, be ready to add it onto other dishes, like rice and sausage or a breakfast sandwich with an egg patty and salsa verde between toasted bread.

Curtido (Fermented Cabbage Slaw)

Recipe by Rita Torres Gonzales

Ingredients

1 head cabbage, finely sliced
3 carrots, grated
1 radish, grated
1 small hot pepper, optional
Oil, for frying
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 green pepper, finely chopped
Pinch of oregano
Salt

Pineapple vinegar:
1 pineapple
Grapes, optional
1 peach, sliced, optional
Pinch of oregano, optional
Water

Preparation

Cover cabbage, carrots, and radish with hot water and let set for 30 minutes. Drain.

Heat oil and sauté onion, pepper, oregano, and salt. Combine with cabbage mixture. Add pineapple vinegar.

Method 1: Remove peel of pineapple. Let peel dry in the sun or over a radiator for several days. Put in a jar with water and let sit several weeks. Remove peel. Use liquid as vinegar.

Method 2: Cut pineapple in chunks, including rind. Combine in a jar with a handful of grapes, peach, oregano, and cover with water. Let sit for several days. Use liquid as vinegar.

Quick Curtido

Recipe adapted by Kathy Phung

Ingredients

1 head cabbage, finely sliced
3 carrots, grated
2 long green peppers, jalapeño or serrano, option
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
Salt
1 cup white distilled vinegar, or as need
1 cup water

Preparation

Fill a large strainer with sliced cabbage, sprinkle salt liberally, and toss. Let sit over the sink or bowl to drain for 30 minutes or while you prepare the rest of the vegetables.

After 30 minutes, rinse the cabbage in water, squeezing out the excess water. In a large bowl, add all vegetables and toss together thoroughly. Add 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water to the bowl. Add oregano and toss vegetables to ensure everything is coated. Taste, and adjust for salt. Cover and let sit at room temperature while you make the pupusas. Check back in an hour, tossing and seasoning as needed. Serve with pupusas.


Salvadoran Recipes: Pupusas de Chicharrón and Curtido

I once drove eight hours roundtrip to Washington, D.C., in single day just to get pupusas.

The excuse I gave everyone was that I wanted to see the cherry blossoms and catch up with college buddies, but I&rsquoll be honest: those were secondary. The real reason was it had been over three years since I had a pupusa, and I was living in what felt like a very sad, homogenous town at the time. I desperately needed something more.

Stepping into Gloria&rsquos Pupusaría on Fourteenth Street in Columbia Heights felt like coming home—from the Selena fan art on the walls to the jukebox blasting ranchera music, but, mostly, it was that my meal was served on melamine plates with a Chinese &ldquolongevity&rdquo pattern, straight from my childhood kitchen.

In the early 1980s, D.C., and the United States in general, had just started to see its first significant wave of immigration from El Salvador following the Salvadoran Civil War in 1979. Folklorist Charles Camp described the Adams Morgan neighborhood as the new home of many new Salvadoran immigrants, &ldquoin part because of the neighborhood&rsquos concentration of Hispanic businesses, but also because old patterns of daily and weekly food shopping are accommodating in a New World marketplace that provides comforting elements of tradition—the foods being sold and the way which they are sold, from displays to language.&rdquo

Thirty-five years later, gentrification has significantly changed the makeup Adams Morgan. The Latino hub of D.C. is now Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant, with even more development and food options if you venture out into the suburbs of Maryland.

Flipping through the Smithsonian Folklife Cookbook, it&rsquos interesting to reflect on a time and place when pupusas had to be described as &ldquoSalvadoran Pies&rdquo to the general public. Featured in the 1985 Folklife Festival program Cultural Conservation, local guest chef Rita Torres Gonzales made pupusas de chicharrón (griddled pork-stuffed masa patties) and curtido (fermented cabbage slaw) for visitors to the National Mall that year.

As program curator Marjorie Hunt wrote, &ldquoCultural conservation had been an underlying, if implicit, principle of the Festival of American Folklife [now the Smithsonian Folklife Festival] since its beginning in 1967. In 1985 the Festival inaugurated a program that explicitly explored [this] question from several points of view. The exhibit examined the kinds of contexts in which cultural conservation becomes a necessary concern it documented efforts on the part of the keepers of tradition themselves to conserve their own culture in the face of a changing social and physical environment and it explored the efforts of U.S. public cultural institutions to address the problem of cultural conservation.&rdquo

I chose to make this dish because I love this pattern: in our efforts to conserve and celebrate other cultures, bits and pieces are woven into our lives until they are inexplicably a part of what makes us us. Because how else can a pre-Colombian dish from El Salvador made in Washington, D.C., end up invoking home to the daughter of Chinese immigrants from California?

Pupusas de Chicharrón

Recipe by Rita Torres Gonzales, adapted by Kathy Phung

Notes from the kitchen: My adaptation come from watching countless videos online. For techniques on how to fill the dough, I suggest you do the same. In this video, the cook just makes two tortillas, fills one, and lays the other over it. Mind. Blown.

Ingredients

2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (fatty pieces okay)
Salt
1 medium onion
1 green bell pepper
1 large tomato
2 cups masa harina
Salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups hot water, plus more as needed
1 cup water, room temperature
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Preparation

Season the cut meat liberally with salt. In a large frying pan over low to medium heat, add pork and cook. It&rsquos okay to start the pan with a little bit of vegetable oil if needed. Stir the meat occasionally to allow it a chance to brown on all sides. When meat is golden brown on all sides, remove meat using a slotted spoon. Remove fat from pan, reserving enough to coat the bottom of the pan.

Chop onion, bell pepper, and tomato into large chunks. Using a food processor or blender, grind pork with vegetables (in batches, if needed) until there are no visible chunks. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Return the pan with fat to medium-high heat. Cook the pork and vegetable mixture until the moisture is gone, checking for seasoning as you go. Move to a bowl to cool. There will be significantly more filling than dough. You can adjust the amount of masa by making more or freeze the chicharrón for later.

In a medium mixing bowl, add the masa harina, a pinch of salt, and the tablespoon of oil. Start by adding 1 cup of hot water to the masa, using a wooden spoon if you can&rsquot handle the heat with your bare hands, and adding the remaining half cup as needed. If the dough is very dry and cracks easily, add water by the tablespoon until dough is pliable. Cover and let rest for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat a griddle or cast iron pan to medium heat. Ready a bowl of water and a tablespoon of oil. Divide the dough into 9 equal balls, roughly the size of golf balls. Wet your hands in the water/oil mixture. With the ball in one hand, make an indentation with your thumb and turn the dough until you have made a cup. Fill with approximately two tablespoons of filling and close off by pushing the masa up and around the top of the filling, rolling it into a smooth ball. Slowly and evenly flatten the ball into a circle, approximately 4 inches in diameter. Wet hands as needed to prevent masa from sticking to your hands.

Place the pupusa on the ungreased griddle and cook. Treat the first pupusa like the first pancake to adjust the heat. Serve with curtido and salsa roja.

Variations: pupusas are also commonly filled with refried beans, cheese, loroco flowers, or any combination of the above. My personal favorite is the revuelta, which is chicharron, beans, and cheese.

Curtido is always available for pupusas, whether it&rsquos waiting for you on the table in a sit-down restaurant or from a stand on the side of the road, where it will come in a little plastic baggie along with some bagged salsas. If you have nothing but time, try your hand at Rita Torres Gonzales&rsquos recipe for curtido, which includes making your own vinegar. If you&rsquore a little more impatient like me, I&rsquove also provided a quick pickle recipe.

Beware, a whole head of cabbage yields almost two quarts of curtido. While it does last a while, be ready to add it onto other dishes, like rice and sausage or a breakfast sandwich with an egg patty and salsa verde between toasted bread.

Curtido (Fermented Cabbage Slaw)

Recipe by Rita Torres Gonzales

Ingredients

1 head cabbage, finely sliced
3 carrots, grated
1 radish, grated
1 small hot pepper, optional
Oil, for frying
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 green pepper, finely chopped
Pinch of oregano
Salt

Pineapple vinegar:
1 pineapple
Grapes, optional
1 peach, sliced, optional
Pinch of oregano, optional
Water

Preparation

Cover cabbage, carrots, and radish with hot water and let set for 30 minutes. Drain.

Heat oil and sauté onion, pepper, oregano, and salt. Combine with cabbage mixture. Add pineapple vinegar.

Method 1: Remove peel of pineapple. Let peel dry in the sun or over a radiator for several days. Put in a jar with water and let sit several weeks. Remove peel. Use liquid as vinegar.

Method 2: Cut pineapple in chunks, including rind. Combine in a jar with a handful of grapes, peach, oregano, and cover with water. Let sit for several days. Use liquid as vinegar.

Quick Curtido

Recipe adapted by Kathy Phung

Ingredients

1 head cabbage, finely sliced
3 carrots, grated
2 long green peppers, jalapeño or serrano, option
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
Salt
1 cup white distilled vinegar, or as need
1 cup water

Preparation

Fill a large strainer with sliced cabbage, sprinkle salt liberally, and toss. Let sit over the sink or bowl to drain for 30 minutes or while you prepare the rest of the vegetables.

After 30 minutes, rinse the cabbage in water, squeezing out the excess water. In a large bowl, add all vegetables and toss together thoroughly. Add 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water to the bowl. Add oregano and toss vegetables to ensure everything is coated. Taste, and adjust for salt. Cover and let sit at room temperature while you make the pupusas. Check back in an hour, tossing and seasoning as needed. Serve with pupusas.


Salvadoran Recipes: Pupusas de Chicharrón and Curtido

I once drove eight hours roundtrip to Washington, D.C., in single day just to get pupusas.

The excuse I gave everyone was that I wanted to see the cherry blossoms and catch up with college buddies, but I&rsquoll be honest: those were secondary. The real reason was it had been over three years since I had a pupusa, and I was living in what felt like a very sad, homogenous town at the time. I desperately needed something more.

Stepping into Gloria&rsquos Pupusaría on Fourteenth Street in Columbia Heights felt like coming home—from the Selena fan art on the walls to the jukebox blasting ranchera music, but, mostly, it was that my meal was served on melamine plates with a Chinese &ldquolongevity&rdquo pattern, straight from my childhood kitchen.

In the early 1980s, D.C., and the United States in general, had just started to see its first significant wave of immigration from El Salvador following the Salvadoran Civil War in 1979. Folklorist Charles Camp described the Adams Morgan neighborhood as the new home of many new Salvadoran immigrants, &ldquoin part because of the neighborhood&rsquos concentration of Hispanic businesses, but also because old patterns of daily and weekly food shopping are accommodating in a New World marketplace that provides comforting elements of tradition—the foods being sold and the way which they are sold, from displays to language.&rdquo

Thirty-five years later, gentrification has significantly changed the makeup Adams Morgan. The Latino hub of D.C. is now Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant, with even more development and food options if you venture out into the suburbs of Maryland.

Flipping through the Smithsonian Folklife Cookbook, it&rsquos interesting to reflect on a time and place when pupusas had to be described as &ldquoSalvadoran Pies&rdquo to the general public. Featured in the 1985 Folklife Festival program Cultural Conservation, local guest chef Rita Torres Gonzales made pupusas de chicharrón (griddled pork-stuffed masa patties) and curtido (fermented cabbage slaw) for visitors to the National Mall that year.

As program curator Marjorie Hunt wrote, &ldquoCultural conservation had been an underlying, if implicit, principle of the Festival of American Folklife [now the Smithsonian Folklife Festival] since its beginning in 1967. In 1985 the Festival inaugurated a program that explicitly explored [this] question from several points of view. The exhibit examined the kinds of contexts in which cultural conservation becomes a necessary concern it documented efforts on the part of the keepers of tradition themselves to conserve their own culture in the face of a changing social and physical environment and it explored the efforts of U.S. public cultural institutions to address the problem of cultural conservation.&rdquo

I chose to make this dish because I love this pattern: in our efforts to conserve and celebrate other cultures, bits and pieces are woven into our lives until they are inexplicably a part of what makes us us. Because how else can a pre-Colombian dish from El Salvador made in Washington, D.C., end up invoking home to the daughter of Chinese immigrants from California?

Pupusas de Chicharrón

Recipe by Rita Torres Gonzales, adapted by Kathy Phung

Notes from the kitchen: My adaptation come from watching countless videos online. For techniques on how to fill the dough, I suggest you do the same. In this video, the cook just makes two tortillas, fills one, and lays the other over it. Mind. Blown.

Ingredients

2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (fatty pieces okay)
Salt
1 medium onion
1 green bell pepper
1 large tomato
2 cups masa harina
Salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups hot water, plus more as needed
1 cup water, room temperature
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Preparation

Season the cut meat liberally with salt. In a large frying pan over low to medium heat, add pork and cook. It&rsquos okay to start the pan with a little bit of vegetable oil if needed. Stir the meat occasionally to allow it a chance to brown on all sides. When meat is golden brown on all sides, remove meat using a slotted spoon. Remove fat from pan, reserving enough to coat the bottom of the pan.

Chop onion, bell pepper, and tomato into large chunks. Using a food processor or blender, grind pork with vegetables (in batches, if needed) until there are no visible chunks. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Return the pan with fat to medium-high heat. Cook the pork and vegetable mixture until the moisture is gone, checking for seasoning as you go. Move to a bowl to cool. There will be significantly more filling than dough. You can adjust the amount of masa by making more or freeze the chicharrón for later.

In a medium mixing bowl, add the masa harina, a pinch of salt, and the tablespoon of oil. Start by adding 1 cup of hot water to the masa, using a wooden spoon if you can&rsquot handle the heat with your bare hands, and adding the remaining half cup as needed. If the dough is very dry and cracks easily, add water by the tablespoon until dough is pliable. Cover and let rest for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat a griddle or cast iron pan to medium heat. Ready a bowl of water and a tablespoon of oil. Divide the dough into 9 equal balls, roughly the size of golf balls. Wet your hands in the water/oil mixture. With the ball in one hand, make an indentation with your thumb and turn the dough until you have made a cup. Fill with approximately two tablespoons of filling and close off by pushing the masa up and around the top of the filling, rolling it into a smooth ball. Slowly and evenly flatten the ball into a circle, approximately 4 inches in diameter. Wet hands as needed to prevent masa from sticking to your hands.

Place the pupusa on the ungreased griddle and cook. Treat the first pupusa like the first pancake to adjust the heat. Serve with curtido and salsa roja.

Variations: pupusas are also commonly filled with refried beans, cheese, loroco flowers, or any combination of the above. My personal favorite is the revuelta, which is chicharron, beans, and cheese.

Curtido is always available for pupusas, whether it&rsquos waiting for you on the table in a sit-down restaurant or from a stand on the side of the road, where it will come in a little plastic baggie along with some bagged salsas. If you have nothing but time, try your hand at Rita Torres Gonzales&rsquos recipe for curtido, which includes making your own vinegar. If you&rsquore a little more impatient like me, I&rsquove also provided a quick pickle recipe.

Beware, a whole head of cabbage yields almost two quarts of curtido. While it does last a while, be ready to add it onto other dishes, like rice and sausage or a breakfast sandwich with an egg patty and salsa verde between toasted bread.

Curtido (Fermented Cabbage Slaw)

Recipe by Rita Torres Gonzales

Ingredients

1 head cabbage, finely sliced
3 carrots, grated
1 radish, grated
1 small hot pepper, optional
Oil, for frying
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 green pepper, finely chopped
Pinch of oregano
Salt

Pineapple vinegar:
1 pineapple
Grapes, optional
1 peach, sliced, optional
Pinch of oregano, optional
Water

Preparation

Cover cabbage, carrots, and radish with hot water and let set for 30 minutes. Drain.

Heat oil and sauté onion, pepper, oregano, and salt. Combine with cabbage mixture. Add pineapple vinegar.

Method 1: Remove peel of pineapple. Let peel dry in the sun or over a radiator for several days. Put in a jar with water and let sit several weeks. Remove peel. Use liquid as vinegar.

Method 2: Cut pineapple in chunks, including rind. Combine in a jar with a handful of grapes, peach, oregano, and cover with water. Let sit for several days. Use liquid as vinegar.

Quick Curtido

Recipe adapted by Kathy Phung

Ingredients

1 head cabbage, finely sliced
3 carrots, grated
2 long green peppers, jalapeño or serrano, option
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
Salt
1 cup white distilled vinegar, or as need
1 cup water

Preparation

Fill a large strainer with sliced cabbage, sprinkle salt liberally, and toss. Let sit over the sink or bowl to drain for 30 minutes or while you prepare the rest of the vegetables.

After 30 minutes, rinse the cabbage in water, squeezing out the excess water. In a large bowl, add all vegetables and toss together thoroughly. Add 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water to the bowl. Add oregano and toss vegetables to ensure everything is coated. Taste, and adjust for salt. Cover and let sit at room temperature while you make the pupusas. Check back in an hour, tossing and seasoning as needed. Serve with pupusas.


Salvadoran Recipes: Pupusas de Chicharrón and Curtido

I once drove eight hours roundtrip to Washington, D.C., in single day just to get pupusas.

The excuse I gave everyone was that I wanted to see the cherry blossoms and catch up with college buddies, but I&rsquoll be honest: those were secondary. The real reason was it had been over three years since I had a pupusa, and I was living in what felt like a very sad, homogenous town at the time. I desperately needed something more.

Stepping into Gloria&rsquos Pupusaría on Fourteenth Street in Columbia Heights felt like coming home—from the Selena fan art on the walls to the jukebox blasting ranchera music, but, mostly, it was that my meal was served on melamine plates with a Chinese &ldquolongevity&rdquo pattern, straight from my childhood kitchen.

In the early 1980s, D.C., and the United States in general, had just started to see its first significant wave of immigration from El Salvador following the Salvadoran Civil War in 1979. Folklorist Charles Camp described the Adams Morgan neighborhood as the new home of many new Salvadoran immigrants, &ldquoin part because of the neighborhood&rsquos concentration of Hispanic businesses, but also because old patterns of daily and weekly food shopping are accommodating in a New World marketplace that provides comforting elements of tradition—the foods being sold and the way which they are sold, from displays to language.&rdquo

Thirty-five years later, gentrification has significantly changed the makeup Adams Morgan. The Latino hub of D.C. is now Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant, with even more development and food options if you venture out into the suburbs of Maryland.

Flipping through the Smithsonian Folklife Cookbook, it&rsquos interesting to reflect on a time and place when pupusas had to be described as &ldquoSalvadoran Pies&rdquo to the general public. Featured in the 1985 Folklife Festival program Cultural Conservation, local guest chef Rita Torres Gonzales made pupusas de chicharrón (griddled pork-stuffed masa patties) and curtido (fermented cabbage slaw) for visitors to the National Mall that year.

As program curator Marjorie Hunt wrote, &ldquoCultural conservation had been an underlying, if implicit, principle of the Festival of American Folklife [now the Smithsonian Folklife Festival] since its beginning in 1967. In 1985 the Festival inaugurated a program that explicitly explored [this] question from several points of view. The exhibit examined the kinds of contexts in which cultural conservation becomes a necessary concern it documented efforts on the part of the keepers of tradition themselves to conserve their own culture in the face of a changing social and physical environment and it explored the efforts of U.S. public cultural institutions to address the problem of cultural conservation.&rdquo

I chose to make this dish because I love this pattern: in our efforts to conserve and celebrate other cultures, bits and pieces are woven into our lives until they are inexplicably a part of what makes us us. Because how else can a pre-Colombian dish from El Salvador made in Washington, D.C., end up invoking home to the daughter of Chinese immigrants from California?

Pupusas de Chicharrón

Recipe by Rita Torres Gonzales, adapted by Kathy Phung

Notes from the kitchen: My adaptation come from watching countless videos online. For techniques on how to fill the dough, I suggest you do the same. In this video, the cook just makes two tortillas, fills one, and lays the other over it. Mind. Blown.

Ingredients

2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (fatty pieces okay)
Salt
1 medium onion
1 green bell pepper
1 large tomato
2 cups masa harina
Salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups hot water, plus more as needed
1 cup water, room temperature
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Preparation

Season the cut meat liberally with salt. In a large frying pan over low to medium heat, add pork and cook. It&rsquos okay to start the pan with a little bit of vegetable oil if needed. Stir the meat occasionally to allow it a chance to brown on all sides. When meat is golden brown on all sides, remove meat using a slotted spoon. Remove fat from pan, reserving enough to coat the bottom of the pan.

Chop onion, bell pepper, and tomato into large chunks. Using a food processor or blender, grind pork with vegetables (in batches, if needed) until there are no visible chunks. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Return the pan with fat to medium-high heat. Cook the pork and vegetable mixture until the moisture is gone, checking for seasoning as you go. Move to a bowl to cool. There will be significantly more filling than dough. You can adjust the amount of masa by making more or freeze the chicharrón for later.

In a medium mixing bowl, add the masa harina, a pinch of salt, and the tablespoon of oil. Start by adding 1 cup of hot water to the masa, using a wooden spoon if you can&rsquot handle the heat with your bare hands, and adding the remaining half cup as needed. If the dough is very dry and cracks easily, add water by the tablespoon until dough is pliable. Cover and let rest for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat a griddle or cast iron pan to medium heat. Ready a bowl of water and a tablespoon of oil. Divide the dough into 9 equal balls, roughly the size of golf balls. Wet your hands in the water/oil mixture. With the ball in one hand, make an indentation with your thumb and turn the dough until you have made a cup. Fill with approximately two tablespoons of filling and close off by pushing the masa up and around the top of the filling, rolling it into a smooth ball. Slowly and evenly flatten the ball into a circle, approximately 4 inches in diameter. Wet hands as needed to prevent masa from sticking to your hands.

Place the pupusa on the ungreased griddle and cook. Treat the first pupusa like the first pancake to adjust the heat. Serve with curtido and salsa roja.

Variations: pupusas are also commonly filled with refried beans, cheese, loroco flowers, or any combination of the above. My personal favorite is the revuelta, which is chicharron, beans, and cheese.

Curtido is always available for pupusas, whether it&rsquos waiting for you on the table in a sit-down restaurant or from a stand on the side of the road, where it will come in a little plastic baggie along with some bagged salsas. If you have nothing but time, try your hand at Rita Torres Gonzales&rsquos recipe for curtido, which includes making your own vinegar. If you&rsquore a little more impatient like me, I&rsquove also provided a quick pickle recipe.

Beware, a whole head of cabbage yields almost two quarts of curtido. While it does last a while, be ready to add it onto other dishes, like rice and sausage or a breakfast sandwich with an egg patty and salsa verde between toasted bread.

Curtido (Fermented Cabbage Slaw)

Recipe by Rita Torres Gonzales

Ingredients

1 head cabbage, finely sliced
3 carrots, grated
1 radish, grated
1 small hot pepper, optional
Oil, for frying
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 green pepper, finely chopped
Pinch of oregano
Salt

Pineapple vinegar:
1 pineapple
Grapes, optional
1 peach, sliced, optional
Pinch of oregano, optional
Water

Preparation

Cover cabbage, carrots, and radish with hot water and let set for 30 minutes. Drain.

Heat oil and sauté onion, pepper, oregano, and salt. Combine with cabbage mixture. Add pineapple vinegar.

Method 1: Remove peel of pineapple. Let peel dry in the sun or over a radiator for several days. Put in a jar with water and let sit several weeks. Remove peel. Use liquid as vinegar.

Method 2: Cut pineapple in chunks, including rind. Combine in a jar with a handful of grapes, peach, oregano, and cover with water. Let sit for several days. Use liquid as vinegar.

Quick Curtido

Recipe adapted by Kathy Phung

Ingredients

1 head cabbage, finely sliced
3 carrots, grated
2 long green peppers, jalapeño or serrano, option
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
Salt
1 cup white distilled vinegar, or as need
1 cup water

Preparation

Fill a large strainer with sliced cabbage, sprinkle salt liberally, and toss. Let sit over the sink or bowl to drain for 30 minutes or while you prepare the rest of the vegetables.

After 30 minutes, rinse the cabbage in water, squeezing out the excess water. In a large bowl, add all vegetables and toss together thoroughly. Add 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water to the bowl. Add oregano and toss vegetables to ensure everything is coated. Taste, and adjust for salt. Cover and let sit at room temperature while you make the pupusas. Check back in an hour, tossing and seasoning as needed. Serve with pupusas.


Salvadoran Recipes: Pupusas de Chicharrón and Curtido

I once drove eight hours roundtrip to Washington, D.C., in single day just to get pupusas.

The excuse I gave everyone was that I wanted to see the cherry blossoms and catch up with college buddies, but I&rsquoll be honest: those were secondary. The real reason was it had been over three years since I had a pupusa, and I was living in what felt like a very sad, homogenous town at the time. I desperately needed something more.

Stepping into Gloria&rsquos Pupusaría on Fourteenth Street in Columbia Heights felt like coming home—from the Selena fan art on the walls to the jukebox blasting ranchera music, but, mostly, it was that my meal was served on melamine plates with a Chinese &ldquolongevity&rdquo pattern, straight from my childhood kitchen.

In the early 1980s, D.C., and the United States in general, had just started to see its first significant wave of immigration from El Salvador following the Salvadoran Civil War in 1979. Folklorist Charles Camp described the Adams Morgan neighborhood as the new home of many new Salvadoran immigrants, &ldquoin part because of the neighborhood&rsquos concentration of Hispanic businesses, but also because old patterns of daily and weekly food shopping are accommodating in a New World marketplace that provides comforting elements of tradition—the foods being sold and the way which they are sold, from displays to language.&rdquo

Thirty-five years later, gentrification has significantly changed the makeup Adams Morgan. The Latino hub of D.C. is now Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant, with even more development and food options if you venture out into the suburbs of Maryland.

Flipping through the Smithsonian Folklife Cookbook, it&rsquos interesting to reflect on a time and place when pupusas had to be described as &ldquoSalvadoran Pies&rdquo to the general public. Featured in the 1985 Folklife Festival program Cultural Conservation, local guest chef Rita Torres Gonzales made pupusas de chicharrón (griddled pork-stuffed masa patties) and curtido (fermented cabbage slaw) for visitors to the National Mall that year.

As program curator Marjorie Hunt wrote, &ldquoCultural conservation had been an underlying, if implicit, principle of the Festival of American Folklife [now the Smithsonian Folklife Festival] since its beginning in 1967. In 1985 the Festival inaugurated a program that explicitly explored [this] question from several points of view. The exhibit examined the kinds of contexts in which cultural conservation becomes a necessary concern it documented efforts on the part of the keepers of tradition themselves to conserve their own culture in the face of a changing social and physical environment and it explored the efforts of U.S. public cultural institutions to address the problem of cultural conservation.&rdquo

I chose to make this dish because I love this pattern: in our efforts to conserve and celebrate other cultures, bits and pieces are woven into our lives until they are inexplicably a part of what makes us us. Because how else can a pre-Colombian dish from El Salvador made in Washington, D.C., end up invoking home to the daughter of Chinese immigrants from California?

Pupusas de Chicharrón

Recipe by Rita Torres Gonzales, adapted by Kathy Phung

Notes from the kitchen: My adaptation come from watching countless videos online. For techniques on how to fill the dough, I suggest you do the same. In this video, the cook just makes two tortillas, fills one, and lays the other over it. Mind. Blown.

Ingredients

2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (fatty pieces okay)
Salt
1 medium onion
1 green bell pepper
1 large tomato
2 cups masa harina
Salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups hot water, plus more as needed
1 cup water, room temperature
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Preparation

Season the cut meat liberally with salt. In a large frying pan over low to medium heat, add pork and cook. It&rsquos okay to start the pan with a little bit of vegetable oil if needed. Stir the meat occasionally to allow it a chance to brown on all sides. When meat is golden brown on all sides, remove meat using a slotted spoon. Remove fat from pan, reserving enough to coat the bottom of the pan.

Chop onion, bell pepper, and tomato into large chunks. Using a food processor or blender, grind pork with vegetables (in batches, if needed) until there are no visible chunks. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Return the pan with fat to medium-high heat. Cook the pork and vegetable mixture until the moisture is gone, checking for seasoning as you go. Move to a bowl to cool. There will be significantly more filling than dough. You can adjust the amount of masa by making more or freeze the chicharrón for later.

In a medium mixing bowl, add the masa harina, a pinch of salt, and the tablespoon of oil. Start by adding 1 cup of hot water to the masa, using a wooden spoon if you can&rsquot handle the heat with your bare hands, and adding the remaining half cup as needed. If the dough is very dry and cracks easily, add water by the tablespoon until dough is pliable. Cover and let rest for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat a griddle or cast iron pan to medium heat. Ready a bowl of water and a tablespoon of oil. Divide the dough into 9 equal balls, roughly the size of golf balls. Wet your hands in the water/oil mixture. With the ball in one hand, make an indentation with your thumb and turn the dough until you have made a cup. Fill with approximately two tablespoons of filling and close off by pushing the masa up and around the top of the filling, rolling it into a smooth ball. Slowly and evenly flatten the ball into a circle, approximately 4 inches in diameter. Wet hands as needed to prevent masa from sticking to your hands.

Place the pupusa on the ungreased griddle and cook. Treat the first pupusa like the first pancake to adjust the heat. Serve with curtido and salsa roja.

Variations: pupusas are also commonly filled with refried beans, cheese, loroco flowers, or any combination of the above. My personal favorite is the revuelta, which is chicharron, beans, and cheese.

Curtido is always available for pupusas, whether it&rsquos waiting for you on the table in a sit-down restaurant or from a stand on the side of the road, where it will come in a little plastic baggie along with some bagged salsas. If you have nothing but time, try your hand at Rita Torres Gonzales&rsquos recipe for curtido, which includes making your own vinegar. If you&rsquore a little more impatient like me, I&rsquove also provided a quick pickle recipe.

Beware, a whole head of cabbage yields almost two quarts of curtido. While it does last a while, be ready to add it onto other dishes, like rice and sausage or a breakfast sandwich with an egg patty and salsa verde between toasted bread.

Curtido (Fermented Cabbage Slaw)

Recipe by Rita Torres Gonzales

Ingredients

1 head cabbage, finely sliced
3 carrots, grated
1 radish, grated
1 small hot pepper, optional
Oil, for frying
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 green pepper, finely chopped
Pinch of oregano
Salt

Pineapple vinegar:
1 pineapple
Grapes, optional
1 peach, sliced, optional
Pinch of oregano, optional
Water

Preparation

Cover cabbage, carrots, and radish with hot water and let set for 30 minutes. Drain.

Heat oil and sauté onion, pepper, oregano, and salt. Combine with cabbage mixture. Add pineapple vinegar.

Method 1: Remove peel of pineapple. Let peel dry in the sun or over a radiator for several days. Put in a jar with water and let sit several weeks. Remove peel. Use liquid as vinegar.

Method 2: Cut pineapple in chunks, including rind. Combine in a jar with a handful of grapes, peach, oregano, and cover with water. Let sit for several days. Use liquid as vinegar.

Quick Curtido

Recipe adapted by Kathy Phung

Ingredients

1 head cabbage, finely sliced
3 carrots, grated
2 long green peppers, jalapeño or serrano, option
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
Salt
1 cup white distilled vinegar, or as need
1 cup water

Preparation

Fill a large strainer with sliced cabbage, sprinkle salt liberally, and toss. Let sit over the sink or bowl to drain for 30 minutes or while you prepare the rest of the vegetables.

After 30 minutes, rinse the cabbage in water, squeezing out the excess water. In a large bowl, add all vegetables and toss together thoroughly. Add 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water to the bowl. Add oregano and toss vegetables to ensure everything is coated. Taste, and adjust for salt. Cover and let sit at room temperature while you make the pupusas. Check back in an hour, tossing and seasoning as needed. Serve with pupusas.


Salvadoran Recipes: Pupusas de Chicharrón and Curtido

I once drove eight hours roundtrip to Washington, D.C., in single day just to get pupusas.

The excuse I gave everyone was that I wanted to see the cherry blossoms and catch up with college buddies, but I&rsquoll be honest: those were secondary. The real reason was it had been over three years since I had a pupusa, and I was living in what felt like a very sad, homogenous town at the time. I desperately needed something more.

Stepping into Gloria&rsquos Pupusaría on Fourteenth Street in Columbia Heights felt like coming home—from the Selena fan art on the walls to the jukebox blasting ranchera music, but, mostly, it was that my meal was served on melamine plates with a Chinese &ldquolongevity&rdquo pattern, straight from my childhood kitchen.

In the early 1980s, D.C., and the United States in general, had just started to see its first significant wave of immigration from El Salvador following the Salvadoran Civil War in 1979. Folklorist Charles Camp described the Adams Morgan neighborhood as the new home of many new Salvadoran immigrants, &ldquoin part because of the neighborhood&rsquos concentration of Hispanic businesses, but also because old patterns of daily and weekly food shopping are accommodating in a New World marketplace that provides comforting elements of tradition—the foods being sold and the way which they are sold, from displays to language.&rdquo

Thirty-five years later, gentrification has significantly changed the makeup Adams Morgan. The Latino hub of D.C. is now Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant, with even more development and food options if you venture out into the suburbs of Maryland.

Flipping through the Smithsonian Folklife Cookbook, it&rsquos interesting to reflect on a time and place when pupusas had to be described as &ldquoSalvadoran Pies&rdquo to the general public. Featured in the 1985 Folklife Festival program Cultural Conservation, local guest chef Rita Torres Gonzales made pupusas de chicharrón (griddled pork-stuffed masa patties) and curtido (fermented cabbage slaw) for visitors to the National Mall that year.

As program curator Marjorie Hunt wrote, &ldquoCultural conservation had been an underlying, if implicit, principle of the Festival of American Folklife [now the Smithsonian Folklife Festival] since its beginning in 1967. In 1985 the Festival inaugurated a program that explicitly explored [this] question from several points of view. The exhibit examined the kinds of contexts in which cultural conservation becomes a necessary concern it documented efforts on the part of the keepers of tradition themselves to conserve their own culture in the face of a changing social and physical environment and it explored the efforts of U.S. public cultural institutions to address the problem of cultural conservation.&rdquo

I chose to make this dish because I love this pattern: in our efforts to conserve and celebrate other cultures, bits and pieces are woven into our lives until they are inexplicably a part of what makes us us. Because how else can a pre-Colombian dish from El Salvador made in Washington, D.C., end up invoking home to the daughter of Chinese immigrants from California?

Pupusas de Chicharrón

Recipe by Rita Torres Gonzales, adapted by Kathy Phung

Notes from the kitchen: My adaptation come from watching countless videos online. For techniques on how to fill the dough, I suggest you do the same. In this video, the cook just makes two tortillas, fills one, and lays the other over it. Mind. Blown.

Ingredients

2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (fatty pieces okay)
Salt
1 medium onion
1 green bell pepper
1 large tomato
2 cups masa harina
Salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups hot water, plus more as needed
1 cup water, room temperature
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Preparation

Season the cut meat liberally with salt. In a large frying pan over low to medium heat, add pork and cook. It&rsquos okay to start the pan with a little bit of vegetable oil if needed. Stir the meat occasionally to allow it a chance to brown on all sides. When meat is golden brown on all sides, remove meat using a slotted spoon. Remove fat from pan, reserving enough to coat the bottom of the pan.

Chop onion, bell pepper, and tomato into large chunks. Using a food processor or blender, grind pork with vegetables (in batches, if needed) until there are no visible chunks. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Return the pan with fat to medium-high heat. Cook the pork and vegetable mixture until the moisture is gone, checking for seasoning as you go. Move to a bowl to cool. There will be significantly more filling than dough. You can adjust the amount of masa by making more or freeze the chicharrón for later.

In a medium mixing bowl, add the masa harina, a pinch of salt, and the tablespoon of oil. Start by adding 1 cup of hot water to the masa, using a wooden spoon if you can&rsquot handle the heat with your bare hands, and adding the remaining half cup as needed. If the dough is very dry and cracks easily, add water by the tablespoon until dough is pliable. Cover and let rest for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat a griddle or cast iron pan to medium heat. Ready a bowl of water and a tablespoon of oil. Divide the dough into 9 equal balls, roughly the size of golf balls. Wet your hands in the water/oil mixture. With the ball in one hand, make an indentation with your thumb and turn the dough until you have made a cup. Fill with approximately two tablespoons of filling and close off by pushing the masa up and around the top of the filling, rolling it into a smooth ball. Slowly and evenly flatten the ball into a circle, approximately 4 inches in diameter. Wet hands as needed to prevent masa from sticking to your hands.

Place the pupusa on the ungreased griddle and cook. Treat the first pupusa like the first pancake to adjust the heat. Serve with curtido and salsa roja.

Variations: pupusas are also commonly filled with refried beans, cheese, loroco flowers, or any combination of the above. My personal favorite is the revuelta, which is chicharron, beans, and cheese.

Curtido is always available for pupusas, whether it&rsquos waiting for you on the table in a sit-down restaurant or from a stand on the side of the road, where it will come in a little plastic baggie along with some bagged salsas. If you have nothing but time, try your hand at Rita Torres Gonzales&rsquos recipe for curtido, which includes making your own vinegar. If you&rsquore a little more impatient like me, I&rsquove also provided a quick pickle recipe.

Beware, a whole head of cabbage yields almost two quarts of curtido. While it does last a while, be ready to add it onto other dishes, like rice and sausage or a breakfast sandwich with an egg patty and salsa verde between toasted bread.

Curtido (Fermented Cabbage Slaw)

Recipe by Rita Torres Gonzales

Ingredients

1 head cabbage, finely sliced
3 carrots, grated
1 radish, grated
1 small hot pepper, optional
Oil, for frying
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 green pepper, finely chopped
Pinch of oregano
Salt

Pineapple vinegar:
1 pineapple
Grapes, optional
1 peach, sliced, optional
Pinch of oregano, optional
Water

Preparation

Cover cabbage, carrots, and radish with hot water and let set for 30 minutes. Drain.

Heat oil and sauté onion, pepper, oregano, and salt. Combine with cabbage mixture. Add pineapple vinegar.

Method 1: Remove peel of pineapple. Let peel dry in the sun or over a radiator for several days. Put in a jar with water and let sit several weeks. Remove peel. Use liquid as vinegar.

Method 2: Cut pineapple in chunks, including rind. Combine in a jar with a handful of grapes, peach, oregano, and cover with water. Let sit for several days. Use liquid as vinegar.

Quick Curtido

Recipe adapted by Kathy Phung

Ingredients

1 head cabbage, finely sliced
3 carrots, grated
2 long green peppers, jalapeño or serrano, option
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
Salt
1 cup white distilled vinegar, or as need
1 cup water

Preparation

Fill a large strainer with sliced cabbage, sprinkle salt liberally, and toss. Let sit over the sink or bowl to drain for 30 minutes or while you prepare the rest of the vegetables.

After 30 minutes, rinse the cabbage in water, squeezing out the excess water. In a large bowl, add all vegetables and toss together thoroughly. Add 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water to the bowl. Add oregano and toss vegetables to ensure everything is coated. Taste, and adjust for salt. Cover and let sit at room temperature while you make the pupusas. Check back in an hour, tossing and seasoning as needed. Serve with pupusas.


Salvadoran Recipes: Pupusas de Chicharrón and Curtido

I once drove eight hours roundtrip to Washington, D.C., in single day just to get pupusas.

The excuse I gave everyone was that I wanted to see the cherry blossoms and catch up with college buddies, but I&rsquoll be honest: those were secondary. The real reason was it had been over three years since I had a pupusa, and I was living in what felt like a very sad, homogenous town at the time. I desperately needed something more.

Stepping into Gloria&rsquos Pupusaría on Fourteenth Street in Columbia Heights felt like coming home—from the Selena fan art on the walls to the jukebox blasting ranchera music, but, mostly, it was that my meal was served on melamine plates with a Chinese &ldquolongevity&rdquo pattern, straight from my childhood kitchen.

In the early 1980s, D.C., and the United States in general, had just started to see its first significant wave of immigration from El Salvador following the Salvadoran Civil War in 1979. Folklorist Charles Camp described the Adams Morgan neighborhood as the new home of many new Salvadoran immigrants, &ldquoin part because of the neighborhood&rsquos concentration of Hispanic businesses, but also because old patterns of daily and weekly food shopping are accommodating in a New World marketplace that provides comforting elements of tradition—the foods being sold and the way which they are sold, from displays to language.&rdquo

Thirty-five years later, gentrification has significantly changed the makeup Adams Morgan. The Latino hub of D.C. is now Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant, with even more development and food options if you venture out into the suburbs of Maryland.

Flipping through the Smithsonian Folklife Cookbook, it&rsquos interesting to reflect on a time and place when pupusas had to be described as &ldquoSalvadoran Pies&rdquo to the general public. Featured in the 1985 Folklife Festival program Cultural Conservation, local guest chef Rita Torres Gonzales made pupusas de chicharrón (griddled pork-stuffed masa patties) and curtido (fermented cabbage slaw) for visitors to the National Mall that year.

As program curator Marjorie Hunt wrote, &ldquoCultural conservation had been an underlying, if implicit, principle of the Festival of American Folklife [now the Smithsonian Folklife Festival] since its beginning in 1967. In 1985 the Festival inaugurated a program that explicitly explored [this] question from several points of view. The exhibit examined the kinds of contexts in which cultural conservation becomes a necessary concern it documented efforts on the part of the keepers of tradition themselves to conserve their own culture in the face of a changing social and physical environment and it explored the efforts of U.S. public cultural institutions to address the problem of cultural conservation.&rdquo

I chose to make this dish because I love this pattern: in our efforts to conserve and celebrate other cultures, bits and pieces are woven into our lives until they are inexplicably a part of what makes us us. Because how else can a pre-Colombian dish from El Salvador made in Washington, D.C., end up invoking home to the daughter of Chinese immigrants from California?

Pupusas de Chicharrón

Recipe by Rita Torres Gonzales, adapted by Kathy Phung

Notes from the kitchen: My adaptation come from watching countless videos online. For techniques on how to fill the dough, I suggest you do the same. In this video, the cook just makes two tortillas, fills one, and lays the other over it. Mind. Blown.

Ingredients

2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (fatty pieces okay)
Salt
1 medium onion
1 green bell pepper
1 large tomato
2 cups masa harina
Salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups hot water, plus more as needed
1 cup water, room temperature
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Preparation

Season the cut meat liberally with salt. In a large frying pan over low to medium heat, add pork and cook. It&rsquos okay to start the pan with a little bit of vegetable oil if needed. Stir the meat occasionally to allow it a chance to brown on all sides. When meat is golden brown on all sides, remove meat using a slotted spoon. Remove fat from pan, reserving enough to coat the bottom of the pan.

Chop onion, bell pepper, and tomato into large chunks. Using a food processor or blender, grind pork with vegetables (in batches, if needed) until there are no visible chunks. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Return the pan with fat to medium-high heat. Cook the pork and vegetable mixture until the moisture is gone, checking for seasoning as you go. Move to a bowl to cool. There will be significantly more filling than dough. You can adjust the amount of masa by making more or freeze the chicharrón for later.

In a medium mixing bowl, add the masa harina, a pinch of salt, and the tablespoon of oil. Start by adding 1 cup of hot water to the masa, using a wooden spoon if you can&rsquot handle the heat with your bare hands, and adding the remaining half cup as needed. If the dough is very dry and cracks easily, add water by the tablespoon until dough is pliable. Cover and let rest for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat a griddle or cast iron pan to medium heat. Ready a bowl of water and a tablespoon of oil. Divide the dough into 9 equal balls, roughly the size of golf balls. Wet your hands in the water/oil mixture. With the ball in one hand, make an indentation with your thumb and turn the dough until you have made a cup. Fill with approximately two tablespoons of filling and close off by pushing the masa up and around the top of the filling, rolling it into a smooth ball. Slowly and evenly flatten the ball into a circle, approximately 4 inches in diameter. Wet hands as needed to prevent masa from sticking to your hands.

Place the pupusa on the ungreased griddle and cook. Treat the first pupusa like the first pancake to adjust the heat. Serve with curtido and salsa roja.

Variations: pupusas are also commonly filled with refried beans, cheese, loroco flowers, or any combination of the above. My personal favorite is the revuelta, which is chicharron, beans, and cheese.

Curtido is always available for pupusas, whether it&rsquos waiting for you on the table in a sit-down restaurant or from a stand on the side of the road, where it will come in a little plastic baggie along with some bagged salsas. If you have nothing but time, try your hand at Rita Torres Gonzales&rsquos recipe for curtido, which includes making your own vinegar. If you&rsquore a little more impatient like me, I&rsquove also provided a quick pickle recipe.

Beware, a whole head of cabbage yields almost two quarts of curtido. While it does last a while, be ready to add it onto other dishes, like rice and sausage or a breakfast sandwich with an egg patty and salsa verde between toasted bread.

Curtido (Fermented Cabbage Slaw)

Recipe by Rita Torres Gonzales

Ingredients

1 head cabbage, finely sliced
3 carrots, grated
1 radish, grated
1 small hot pepper, optional
Oil, for frying
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 green pepper, finely chopped
Pinch of oregano
Salt

Pineapple vinegar:
1 pineapple
Grapes, optional
1 peach, sliced, optional
Pinch of oregano, optional
Water

Preparation

Cover cabbage, carrots, and radish with hot water and let set for 30 minutes. Drain.

Heat oil and sauté onion, pepper, oregano, and salt. Combine with cabbage mixture. Add pineapple vinegar.

Method 1: Remove peel of pineapple. Let peel dry in the sun or over a radiator for several days. Put in a jar with water and let sit several weeks. Remove peel. Use liquid as vinegar.

Method 2: Cut pineapple in chunks, including rind. Combine in a jar with a handful of grapes, peach, oregano, and cover with water. Let sit for several days. Use liquid as vinegar.

Quick Curtido

Recipe adapted by Kathy Phung

Ingredients

1 head cabbage, finely sliced
3 carrots, grated
2 long green peppers, jalapeño or serrano, option
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
Salt
1 cup white distilled vinegar, or as need
1 cup water

Preparation

Fill a large strainer with sliced cabbage, sprinkle salt liberally, and toss. Let sit over the sink or bowl to drain for 30 minutes or while you prepare the rest of the vegetables.

After 30 minutes, rinse the cabbage in water, squeezing out the excess water. In a large bowl, add all vegetables and toss together thoroughly. Add 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water to the bowl. Add oregano and toss vegetables to ensure everything is coated. Taste, and adjust for salt. Cover and let sit at room temperature while you make the pupusas. Check back in an hour, tossing and seasoning as needed. Serve with pupusas.


Salvadoran Recipes: Pupusas de Chicharrón and Curtido

I once drove eight hours roundtrip to Washington, D.C., in single day just to get pupusas.

The excuse I gave everyone was that I wanted to see the cherry blossoms and catch up with college buddies, but I&rsquoll be honest: those were secondary. The real reason was it had been over three years since I had a pupusa, and I was living in what felt like a very sad, homogenous town at the time. I desperately needed something more.

Stepping into Gloria&rsquos Pupusaría on Fourteenth Street in Columbia Heights felt like coming home—from the Selena fan art on the walls to the jukebox blasting ranchera music, but, mostly, it was that my meal was served on melamine plates with a Chinese &ldquolongevity&rdquo pattern, straight from my childhood kitchen.

In the early 1980s, D.C., and the United States in general, had just started to see its first significant wave of immigration from El Salvador following the Salvadoran Civil War in 1979. Folklorist Charles Camp described the Adams Morgan neighborhood as the new home of many new Salvadoran immigrants, &ldquoin part because of the neighborhood&rsquos concentration of Hispanic businesses, but also because old patterns of daily and weekly food shopping are accommodating in a New World marketplace that provides comforting elements of tradition—the foods being sold and the way which they are sold, from displays to language.&rdquo

Thirty-five years later, gentrification has significantly changed the makeup Adams Morgan. The Latino hub of D.C. is now Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant, with even more development and food options if you venture out into the suburbs of Maryland.

Flipping through the Smithsonian Folklife Cookbook, it&rsquos interesting to reflect on a time and place when pupusas had to be described as &ldquoSalvadoran Pies&rdquo to the general public. Featured in the 1985 Folklife Festival program Cultural Conservation, local guest chef Rita Torres Gonzales made pupusas de chicharrón (griddled pork-stuffed masa patties) and curtido (fermented cabbage slaw) for visitors to the National Mall that year.

As program curator Marjorie Hunt wrote, &ldquoCultural conservation had been an underlying, if implicit, principle of the Festival of American Folklife [now the Smithsonian Folklife Festival] since its beginning in 1967. In 1985 the Festival inaugurated a program that explicitly explored [this] question from several points of view. The exhibit examined the kinds of contexts in which cultural conservation becomes a necessary concern it documented efforts on the part of the keepers of tradition themselves to conserve their own culture in the face of a changing social and physical environment and it explored the efforts of U.S. public cultural institutions to address the problem of cultural conservation.&rdquo

I chose to make this dish because I love this pattern: in our efforts to conserve and celebrate other cultures, bits and pieces are woven into our lives until they are inexplicably a part of what makes us us. Because how else can a pre-Colombian dish from El Salvador made in Washington, D.C., end up invoking home to the daughter of Chinese immigrants from California?

Pupusas de Chicharrón

Recipe by Rita Torres Gonzales, adapted by Kathy Phung

Notes from the kitchen: My adaptation come from watching countless videos online. For techniques on how to fill the dough, I suggest you do the same. In this video, the cook just makes two tortillas, fills one, and lays the other over it. Mind. Blown.

Ingredients

2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (fatty pieces okay)
Salt
1 medium onion
1 green bell pepper
1 large tomato
2 cups masa harina
Salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups hot water, plus more as needed
1 cup water, room temperature
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Preparation

Season the cut meat liberally with salt. In a large frying pan over low to medium heat, add pork and cook. It&rsquos okay to start the pan with a little bit of vegetable oil if needed. Stir the meat occasionally to allow it a chance to brown on all sides. When meat is golden brown on all sides, remove meat using a slotted spoon. Remove fat from pan, reserving enough to coat the bottom of the pan.

Chop onion, bell pepper, and tomato into large chunks. Using a food processor or blender, grind pork with vegetables (in batches, if needed) until there are no visible chunks. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Return the pan with fat to medium-high heat. Cook the pork and vegetable mixture until the moisture is gone, checking for seasoning as you go. Move to a bowl to cool. There will be significantly more filling than dough. You can adjust the amount of masa by making more or freeze the chicharrón for later.

In a medium mixing bowl, add the masa harina, a pinch of salt, and the tablespoon of oil. Start by adding 1 cup of hot water to the masa, using a wooden spoon if you can&rsquot handle the heat with your bare hands, and adding the remaining half cup as needed. If the dough is very dry and cracks easily, add water by the tablespoon until dough is pliable. Cover and let rest for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat a griddle or cast iron pan to medium heat. Ready a bowl of water and a tablespoon of oil. Divide the dough into 9 equal balls, roughly the size of golf balls. Wet your hands in the water/oil mixture. With the ball in one hand, make an indentation with your thumb and turn the dough until you have made a cup. Fill with approximately two tablespoons of filling and close off by pushing the masa up and around the top of the filling, rolling it into a smooth ball. Slowly and evenly flatten the ball into a circle, approximately 4 inches in diameter. Wet hands as needed to prevent masa from sticking to your hands.

Place the pupusa on the ungreased griddle and cook. Treat the first pupusa like the first pancake to adjust the heat. Serve with curtido and salsa roja.

Variations: pupusas are also commonly filled with refried beans, cheese, loroco flowers, or any combination of the above. My personal favorite is the revuelta, which is chicharron, beans, and cheese.

Curtido is always available for pupusas, whether it&rsquos waiting for you on the table in a sit-down restaurant or from a stand on the side of the road, where it will come in a little plastic baggie along with some bagged salsas. If you have nothing but time, try your hand at Rita Torres Gonzales&rsquos recipe for curtido, which includes making your own vinegar. If you&rsquore a little more impatient like me, I&rsquove also provided a quick pickle recipe.

Beware, a whole head of cabbage yields almost two quarts of curtido. While it does last a while, be ready to add it onto other dishes, like rice and sausage or a breakfast sandwich with an egg patty and salsa verde between toasted bread.

Curtido (Fermented Cabbage Slaw)

Recipe by Rita Torres Gonzales

Ingredients

1 head cabbage, finely sliced
3 carrots, grated
1 radish, grated
1 small hot pepper, optional
Oil, for frying
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 green pepper, finely chopped
Pinch of oregano
Salt

Pineapple vinegar:
1 pineapple
Grapes, optional
1 peach, sliced, optional
Pinch of oregano, optional
Water

Preparation

Cover cabbage, carrots, and radish with hot water and let set for 30 minutes. Drain.

Heat oil and sauté onion, pepper, oregano, and salt. Combine with cabbage mixture. Add pineapple vinegar.

Method 1: Remove peel of pineapple. Let peel dry in the sun or over a radiator for several days. Put in a jar with water and let sit several weeks. Remove peel. Use liquid as vinegar.

Method 2: Cut pineapple in chunks, including rind. Combine in a jar with a handful of grapes, peach, oregano, and cover with water. Let sit for several days. Use liquid as vinegar.

Quick Curtido

Recipe adapted by Kathy Phung

Ingredients

1 head cabbage, finely sliced
3 carrots, grated
2 long green peppers, jalapeño or serrano, option
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
Salt
1 cup white distilled vinegar, or as need
1 cup water

Preparation

Fill a large strainer with sliced cabbage, sprinkle salt liberally, and toss. Let sit over the sink or bowl to drain for 30 minutes or while you prepare the rest of the vegetables.

After 30 minutes, rinse the cabbage in water, squeezing out the excess water. In a large bowl, add all vegetables and toss together thoroughly. Add 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water to the bowl. Add oregano and toss vegetables to ensure everything is coated. Taste, and adjust for salt. Cover and let sit at room temperature while you make the pupusas. Check back in an hour, tossing and seasoning as needed. Serve with pupusas.


Watch the video: ΓΕΡΜΑΝΟΙ ΤΗΣ ΑΝΑΤΟΛΙΚΗΣ ΠΡΟΥΣΙΑΣ ΜΕΤΑ ΤΟ ΠΟΛΕΜΟ. ΙΣΤΟΡΙΕΣ ΕΠΑΓΓΕΛΜΑΤΙΩΝ ΥΠΟΤΙΤΛΟΣ


Comments:

  1. Bowie

    In my opinion you are not right. Let's discuss.

  2. Kagakree

    There is something in this. Thank you for your help, how can I thank you?

  3. Micheal

    Yeah thanks



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