Salvadoran papusas are made with masa corn flour and turn out crispy on the outside and soft on the inside — plus, they are absolutely delicious! You can fill papusas with your choice of cheese, refried or whole beans, shredded chicken, pork or beef. This easy, step-by-step tutorial brings inspiration to prepare the classic dish at home to share with family and friends.
Things You'll Need
2 cups instant corn masa flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 1/2 cups warm water
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
3 to 4 tablespoons high temperature cooking oil (such as canola oil)
Make the Papusa Dough
Add the dry ingredients to a stand mixer and mix until combined.
Add the hot water and use the paddle attachment to beat the mixture until a thick dough forms.
Use your hands to form the dough into a large ball and place back in the mixer bowl. Cover with a damp towel and allow dough to sit 15 to 20 minutes.
Form the Papusas
Divide the dough into 6 to 8 portions (depending on the size of papusa you'd like). Roll each portion into a ball.
Press the dough to form a well. It should look like a small bowl with thick sides.
Place 2 to 3 tablespoons grated cheese into the well, then press the cheese down to make it easier to fold the dough over the top.
Using both hands, fold the corners of the papusa dough over the cheese filling. Keep pressing together until you're back to a ball of dough and the cheese filling is entirely enclosed.
Press the dough into a disc, about 4 1/2 to 5 inches wide.
Repeat for remaining dough.
Heat 2 to 4 tablespoons of high-temperature cooking oil (such as canola oil, avocado oil, or algae oil) in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat.
Once the skillet is completely hot, carefully place two to three papusas on the hot surface. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, carefully flip, then cook another 2 to 3 minutes until papusas are cooked through and crispy.
Serve papusas with choice of salsa, sauce, and/or bean dip!
Instead of grated cheddar cheese, you can use crumbled queso fresco/cotija cheese, or even mozzarella cheese.
Add 2 Tbsp refried black beans to the center of the papusas for a bean and cheese version.
Use shredded chicken, pork, or beef for a meat lover's version.