Curtido, Salvadoran slaw

Salvadoran curtidoI’m really, really excited about curtido. Curtido, a Salvadoran coleslaw-like cabbage side dish, is having it’s time in the limelight. It’s now wonder it’s the most viewed recipe right here on Eat, Sip, Slurp.

Just under a year ago, I saw it listed on the menu at a local restaurant. At the time I had mixed feelings about it. I was excited to see the humble Salvadoran side on a menu, but as it is rarely paired with anything other than pupusas or yuca, it almost seemed like a tease to eat it served with anything else (in this case I believe it was a sandwich if I recall correctly). Of course, if you’ve never had curtido before, you are none the wiser.

I recently saw curtido on the menu at another local restaurant, Clementine. The very talented and popular chef has done his research well for the Spanish, Mexican and Japanse influenced, all-day brunch restaurant (source: CBC Manitoba). This time the curtido came on a tostada, which also included chorizo, avocado crema and topped with a fried egg. It was DIVINE and the tartiness of the curtido was just right, making it the perfect accompaniment to the chorizo. I use leftover curtido on tostadas, tacos nd huevos rancheros all the time, so I was pleased to see it used so well in a dish.

The little humble Salvadoran side is taking centre stage solo and I love it! So do a lot of other people it seems. This recipe is the most viewed post on my blog and my most pinned recipe on Pinterest. See my original post here or scroll down for the recipe.

And if you’re interested in eating in the traditional way alongside pupusas or yuca, click here and here for those recipes.

Salvadoran Curtido 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 head of a large cabbage, shredded
  • 3 medium sized carrots, cut into thin matchsticks,
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 cups boiling water
  • 8 cups cold water
  • 1 cup of apple cider vinegar OR 1 cup of distilled vinegar plus 1 tsp of sugar
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Place cabbage and onion in a large bowl.
  2. Pour boiling water over cabbage and onion mixture (enough to cover). Let sit for ONE minute.
  3. Drain. Add the cold water (to stop mixture from cooking and getting too soggy). Let sit for five minutes.
  4. Drain the cold water. Add carrots and toss. Add the vinegar, oregano and salt. Toss again.

Refrigerate in bowl or in a sealable glass container. Let sit for a few hours or overnight before serving. Do not drain the vinegar before refrigerating.

It is ready to serve when cool. Keeps in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container or glass jar for a week.

¡Salud!

Cheese Pupusas

cheese pupusasLike a true Salvadoran, I love pupusas. Pupusa is a funny word but these round, stuffed tortillas are El Salvador’s national dish and probably it’s biggest claim to fame. They are traditionally stuffed with chicharron, cheese and beans. They are served with salsa and curtido, a coleslaw-like side.

To make them as authentic as can be, the chicharron, frijoles and queso (cheese) must all be prepared from scratch. I watched my mother make them numerous times over the years and she made it look so simple. As I grew up I realized how long of a process it really is.

That’s why I always  round up a group of friends and have a pupusa party. We’re getting better, but I’ve really wanted to make them on my own. So, I decided to play my first solo pupusa-making experience safe and start with only one ingredient – cheese!

If you’re looking for an authentic meatless dish, cheese pupusas are a good option for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. The same goes for cheese and bean pupusas.

These are easy to make, no wonder my mom made it look so easy! I remembered the ingredients she used and my Salvadoran instincts helped me come up with the perfect measurements.

BONUS: the bonus to this recipe is that you get to practice your tortilla making skills, since essentially, pupusas are stuffed tortillas.

maseca

Harina, (corn flour) is the corn flour masa is made of.

masa for tortillas

Roll masa into two (roughly) inch balls.

pupusas de queso 2

Cheese filling: feta, mozzarella, pepper and parsley.

 

cheese for pupusas

Combine ingredients.

 

pupusas de queso

Mix by hand until it is the consistency of play dough.

Cheese Pupusas

Yields 12 pupusas

Ingredients:

For the masa

  • 1 1/2 cups of Maseca
  • 1 cup of water

Cheese filling

  • 1/2 crumbled feta
  • 1 cup of shredded mozzarella Note: shred your own, do not use pre-shredded mozzerela. Pizza mozzarella is best.
  • 1/4 cup very finely chopped green pepper
  • 1 TBSP finely chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup of canola oil

Directions:

For the masa

  1. Pour masa into a a bowl.
  2. Add half of the water. Mix to combine with your hands.
  3. Slowly pour the rest of the water in.
  4. Knead dough until it is the consistency of play dough. If it is too dry, add 1 tbsp of water. If it is too moist and sticks to your hands, add more maseca, 1 tbsp at a time.
  5. Let dough sit for 10 minutes.

Cheese filling

  1. Shred the mozzarella.
  2. Drain the feta cheese and crumble it into the smallest crumbs possible.
  3. In a bowl, combine both cheeses together.
  4. Add finely chopped pepper and parsley.
  5. Combine everything together using your hands. Squeeze the mixture together until you can roll it all into a ball.
  6. Add 1 tbsp of canola oil to pan or griddle and preheat over medium-high heat.
  7. Prepare your pupusas following the instructions below.
  8. Add pupuasas to grill, cooking for about 5 minutes or until browned. The cheese might start oozing out in some spots – that’s ok.
  9. Flip and finish cooking on the other side.
  10. Serve hot with salsa and curtido.

 

HOW TO MAKE A PUPUSA 

how to make a pupusa

how to make pupusas 2

Follow steps below for shaping your dough into pupusas.

  1. Take one of the balls and lightly flaten it onto your palm, but not completely flat. You want some thickness in it.
  2. Take two or three fingers and press into the dough, making a little “pocket.”
  3. Take 1 TBSP of the filling and place it into the “pocket.”
  4. Using your fingertips, bring the outer edges of the pupusa and fold over the filling. You don’t want to mess this up because at this stage (once the filling has been placed) it is too late to start over.
  5. Using your thumb and index finger, lightly round out the edge of the pupusas, all the way around until you have a nice round shape.
  6. Once rounded out to your liking, flaten the pupusas pressing them back and forth between your two palms.
  7. Add pupusas to a hot grill greased with canola oil. A griddle works best but a frying pan also works. Let cook until edges start getting crispy and the pupusa is lightly browned. Cheese might start oozing out – that’s good! The oozed out cheese is the BEST part!
  8. Serve warm with a side of salsa and curtido.

 

cheese_pupusas

In El Salvador, pupusas are usually served on bamboo plates such as the ones pictured above.

cheese pupusas facebook.jpg

 

 

Shrimp cocktail tostadas

The craziness that is Sabado Gigante.

The craziness that is Sabado Gigante. Image source: Sabdodo Gigante Facebook page.

It was recently announced that after 53 years on air, Sabado Gigante, the popular Spanish language variety show, will be no more. This made me a little sad. When my sisters and I were young, our Saturday nights were spent with my parents watching Sabado Gigante. It was a weekly ritual. I suspect it was one of the ways my parents got a taste of home from the otherwise all-English television programming in our house.

This ritual was accompanied with yummy snacks of course. Mainly always a shrimp cocktail (also known as Salvadoran ceviche), guacamole or sometimes just chips and salsa or with leftover chimol from that evening’s bbq.

When I heard Sabado Gigante was ending its run on air, I automatically thought back to that shrimp cocktail that I haven’t had or made in years (mainly because my husband has a shellfish allergy so I try not to bring any shellfish in the house). But this weekend, I made these shrimp cocktail tostadas and tuned in to Sabado Gigante for old time’s sake. It’s amazing how much our senses can bring back a flood of memories. Something as simple as the sounds of  Don Francisco’s (the host) unique voice or the taste of a simple snack brought my comforts of my childhood.

This cocktail is good on its own, with tortilla chips, or on tostadas as shown here.

Shrimp cocktail (Salvadoran ceviche) tostadas.

Shrimp cocktail (Salvadoran ceviche) tostadas.

Shrimp Cocktail Tostadas (ceviche de camaron)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 50-60 cook, peeled and deveined shrimp (the shrimp from a shrimp cocktail ring works just fine)
  • 2 ripe avocados, chopped
  • 1 medium sized tomato, diced
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 TBSP ketchup
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • juice of 1/2 of a lime
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • chopped cilantro
  • salsa picante (hot sauce) of your choice (my sauce of choice is Cholula)
  • 6-8 Charra tostadas (in Winnipeg, these are available at Mercadito Latin, Marvin’s, El Izalco, and even Superstore).

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Chop shrimp pieces into halves
  2. In a bowl, combine shrimp, avocados and tomatoes.
  3. In a small separate bowl, combine ketchup and worcestershire sauce. Mix well.
  4. Pour ketchup mixture over shrimp mix.
  5. Add cumin, salt and pepper. Squeeze the lime juice over and mix.
  6. Add the red onion last so as not to overpower the other ingredients.
  7. Top with cilantro and salsa picanta of your choice.
  8. Spoon onto tostadas.

Enjoy with a little Sabado Gigante on the side!

Shrimp cocktail (otherwise known as ceviche) tostadas.

Shrimp cocktail (otherwise known as ceviche) tostadas.

Refresco de Ensalada de Fruta (Fruit Salad Juice)

Quench your thirst with this refreshing Salvadoran drink, refresco de ensalada de fruta.

Quench your thirst with this refreshing Salvadoran drink, refresco de ensalada de fruta.

Last January, due to what I refer to as the January blahs, I toyed around with this Strawberry-Lime Margarita recipe. It was a hit, it was one of my top most viewed posts of the year.

This year, due to a trip to the Bahamas earlier this month, I’ve been craving fresh fruit. I ate tons of fresh pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, grapefruit, papaya everyday on my trip and it left me thirsty for more.

I’ve been having a craving a drink that’s just as refreshing as a margarita (minus the tequila) so this weekend was the perfect time to try it out. It is a Salvadoran drink called refresco de ensalada de fruta, or fruit salad juice. It is made entirely from fresh fruit. Think of it as a sangria minus the wine.

I found my mom’s recipe which I haven’t had since my childhood and it was a little bit of heaven on this cold January day.

If you’re looking for a healthy, refreshing, fruity drink, this one is sure to quench your thirst any time of year.

I made a few substitutions because the only problem with my mom’s recipe is that some of the exotic fruits it called for, aren’t available where I live. The marañon in particular was one that takes away from the traditional taste a bit, but I managed to find a substitution. Marañon is the Spanish word for cashew; that is because this is the fruit cashews come from. They grown on trees and have a soft skin and are so flavourful they are often used for juice or to flavour other drinks.

maranon_1

Marañon is a delicious, juicy fruit where cashews come from. Photo credit: elsalvadorenelmundo.com.

For this recipe I’ve substituted the marañon with mango or cantaloupe based on its similarity in softness.

The first step is to mix all your chopped up fruit together into a large bowl. The lime and orange juice are added to keep the fruit from browning since you will let it sit a while. Since we’re using a mix of sweet and sour fruits, a little sugar helps balance it out. A pinch of salt is also added to offset the citrus.

Ensalada de fruta 1

Mix all the chopped fruit together, add the juices, sugar, a pinch of salt and let sit.

Let it half an hour before adding the fruit to a large pitcher (you might need to divide it in two smaller pitchers) and then pour the water.

Refresco de ensalada de fruta

 Ingredients:

  • 1 20 oz. can pineapple slices in 100% pineapple juice or 1.5 cups of chopped fresh pineapple
  • 2 apples, unpeeled and chopped
  • 2 oranges, two peeled and chopped
  • juice from one freshly squeezed orange
  • juice from one lemon or lime
  • 1 cup of mango or cantaloupe, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 8 cups of water
  • a pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Place chopped apples, oranges, mango or cantaloupe and pineapple (with juice if using canned) into a large bowl.
  2. Add the lime and orange juice to fruit.
  3. Add sugar, a pinch of salt and stir.
  4. Let sit for half an hour to allow the flavours to blend.
  5. Pour fruit into a large pitcher and add the water.
  6. Stir and refrigerate for an hour.

It’s served best fresh, but can last in the fridge for two days. Any longer and the citrus give sit a sour taste.

I found it was sweet enough with the natural sweetness from the fruit and only 1/4 cup of sugar but if  it’s not sweet enough, add more sugar to taste.

Ensalada de fruta

Salvadoran ensalada de fruta.