Friday, March 6, 2020

Pupusas and Tacos and White Girl Curtido...Oh My!

It's been a helluva week folks. My plan was to be at Expo West all week, but it was postponed/canceled due to COVID-19 (aka Corona Virus) and then Super Tuesday election results had me all, like, whoa. Mr. Newman took off for the week to gamble away our life savings in Laughlin (I kid! I kid!), and I have had the house to myself all week. That means I can make a big ol' mess in the kitchen and make foods with onions and peppers and spice! Haha.

Last year, I learned to make my own corn tortillas. I was taught by the best! My friend, Aleida, is an amazing home cook, who makes the best salsas, guacamole, grilled veggies, sauces, and of course, tortillas! She was so patient, as those of us trying to do it for the first time kept messing them up. She made it look so easy! After lots and lots of practice, I finally got it right, and now...I can't imagine using store bought ever again!

I am not including a recipe for the tortillas here, because its really basic, corn masa harina flour, water, and a touch of salt. It's really all about the technique, using plastic in your tortilla press, and being patient. HERE is a great video on making your own tortillas if you want to try your hand at it yourself.

So, logically, now that I have "mastered" making my own tortillas, it was time to move on to Papusas. I've made a version of Papusas in the past, but they were part of my Fusion Food in the Vegan Kitchen cookbook, so were pretty far from authentic. To be honest, these ones aren't totally authentic either, specifically the Pickled Cabbage Slaw with Dill piled up on top. Traditional curtido is usually made with cabbage, onions, carrots, oregano, and lime. I took some liberties with this one and went with a quick pickled version with radishes and dill for an extra tangy zip.

I live in North Long Beach, pretty close to the borders of Compton, Bellflower, Paramount, and Norwalk. All cities with a large Latinx population, and no shortage of delicious, authentic food. There is a Pupuseria walking distance from my house, vegan options. So, I watched a few videos, looked up a few recipes, then went to town doing it myself. It wasn't nearly as difficult as I thought it was going to be, and they taste so good! I'm looking forward to making these again and again with a variety of different fillings.

Okay, okay, on to the recipes!

Pickled Cabbage Slaw with Dill
Yield: About 6 cups

1 small head of cabbage, finely shredded (about 8 cups)
1 fresh jalapeno, minced
1 large radish, finely sliced into half moons
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 tablespoons salt
3 tablespoons fresh dill (or 1 tablespoon dried dill)
1 cup boiling water
1 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup lime juice

To a large mixing bowl, add all ingredients and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour, overnight is even better.
Drain excess liquid before serving. Keep refrigerated for up to a week in an airtight container.

Cashew Jalapeno Cilantro Lime Sauce (no added oil)
Yield: About 2 cups

1 cup soaked cashews
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 fresh jalapeno, roughly chopped
1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt

Add all ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth.
Keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Pintos and Cheese Pupusa Filling
Yield: Enough for 16 Pupusas

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1 fresh jalapeno, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, with liquid
6 tablespoons vegan shredded cheese (more if you like it extra cheesy!)

To the bottom of a pot with a lid heat oil over medium-high heat.
Add onions and jalapenos. Saute until onions are fragrant and translucent.
Add garlic and continue to cook about 5 more minutes.
Stir in spices, add bay leaf, and add in the beans. Stir to combine.
Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir regularly.
Remove from heat and stir in cheese to melt and combine.
Set aside.

Vegan Bean and Cheese Pupusas
Yield: 16 Papusas

4 cups corn masa harina flour (like Maseca)
2 teaspoons salt
2 to 3 cups water
Pintos and Cheese Pupusa Filling (above)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, for brushing
Pickled Cabbage Slaw with Dill (above)
Cashew Jalapeno Cilantro Lime Sauce (above)

Add masa harina and salt to a mixing bowl. Add 2 cups water and mix into a soft dough. If too dry, add in more water, a little bit at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Set aside to rest for about 20 minutes.
Divide dough into 16 equal pieces, and shape into balls just larger than a golf ball.
Place a dough ball in the palm of your non-dominant hand and begin to flatten into a disc shape. Scoop a portion of filling into the center and mold the dough around the filling pinching and sealing the edges together. (HERE is a video to see the technique for filling and shaping the papusas, but it is not beware!)
Then flatten into a flat disc about the size of a street size tortilla and brush lightly with oilon one side. Place oiled side face down in a hot skillet then brush other side lightly with oil.
Cook until browned, about 3 minutes, flip and repeat.
Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
Serve topped with Pickled Cabbage Slaw with Dill and drizzled liberally with Cashew Jalapeno Cilantro Lime Sauce.

Taco Spiced Chickpeas (no added oil)
Yield: About 1 1/2 cups

1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained, but not rinsed
1/2 cup diced yellow or white onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon evaporated cane juice
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or ground chipotle powder)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Heat a nonstick pan over medium high heat. Add all ingredients to the pan and toss to combine. Cook until chickpeas are browned and onions are translucent and fragrant.

To build your tacos, layer onto two freshly heated tortillas a bed of Pickled Cabbage Slaw with Dill, then the Taco Spiced Chickpeas. Top with your favorite taco toppings. I chose guacamole salsa, hot sauce, cilantro, green onions, diced onions, and a wedge of lime.

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2012 Copyright/Permissions/Disclaimers

All recipes written by me, Joni Marie Newman, unless otherwise noted. Please feel free to refer to or link back to any of my recipes, but please ask for permission, and remember to give credit when reprinting recipes in their entirety. I do provide links to affiliate programs (such as Amazon) in which I receive a small commission for items purchased. I do not provide paid reviews. All reviews done on products or books are of my own unsolicited opinion. On occasion I may receive a book or product to review. I will note when this is the case, but rest assured, it will not affect the authenticity of my review. Thanks!--Joni