spicy cheese and lentil pupusas

Spicy Lentil and Cheese Pupusas

The last bag of instant corn masa flour I bought for making corn tortillas included a recipe for gorditas, which got me curious about what else could be made with the instant masa. I discovered pupusas, which are masa pockets typically stuffed with cheese and something else. After some reading and a pantry check, I came up with a recipe for spicy, cheesy, lentil pupusas.

Spicy Lentil and Cheese Pupusas

Makes 8 pupusas

To make pockets:

  • 2 c instant masa flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/3 c hot water, plus a bit extra available

Mix together the salt and flour, then add the water and knead into a ball. Add a bit more water if needed. Wrap with plastic and set aside for about 30 minutes while the rest of the ingredients are prepared.

To make filling:

  • 1/2 c chana dal lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • 1 large clove of garlic, smashed
  • 2 c water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground chipotle pepper, or to taste
  • 1 small brown onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 3 oz mozzarella, shredded
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeds removed and diced (save some of the seeds to spice up the mix if desired)
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced

In a saucepan, simmer the water, garlic, lentils, salt, and chipotle pepper for about 30 minutes, until cooked.

Meanwhile, saute the onion in the olive oil over medium low heat, until soft and browned. Set aside when cooked. These will be mixed in with the lentils when they’re done cooking.

In a food processor, pulse together the cheese, jalapeño peppers, and bell peppers until a coarse paste is formed. Add as many of the jalapeño seeds as desired.

Place the cheese mixture in a small bowl, and combine the lentils and onions in a separate small bowl.

Divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Take one portion, divide it in half, and form a ball. Flatten in a tortilla press until it’s a fat disc, but not as much as with corn tortillas. These will be thicker. Repeat with the other half. Spoon lentil mixture into one half, and then spoon on some cheese mixture. Top with other disc and press edges together. Repeat with rest of dough and fillings.

Cook in cast iron skillet over medium-low heat for a few minutes, then flip and cook other side. Serve hot.