Saturday, June 11, 2011

Pupusas El Salvador: ¡El Sabor Completo!

Curtido, a colorful pickled cabbage slaw, left; and spicy, pickled mixed vegetables.

Pupusas El Salvador has been a Farmers' Market favorite of mine for years. This season is no exception.

The 'pupusa ladies' rocked out with my spinach pupusa on my last visit. It was bursting, literally, with fresh spinach leaves and creamy melted cheese.

Staring down the business end of a [black-eyed pea] bean tamale.

Alongside the ever present jar of curtido, a colorful, pickled cabbage slaw, I spotted a new garnish. A jar of spicy, pickled mixed vegetables, very akin to an Italian Hot Mix. What made this picante mélange of cauliflower, carrots, onions, cucumbers and red bell peppers stand out was the additional flavors of bay leaf and pineapple, to only name an obvious few.

A scoop of the pickled veggies atop my pupusa took an already satisfying dish to a new level. Throw on a splash of salsa and you've got the whole tamale.

Speaking of which, on a later visit I tried one of their huge banana-leaf wrapped tamales with whole black-eyed pea beans. A hearty stick-to-your-ribs dish for sure, and an excellent vegan alterative to the pupusas.

The banana leaf imparts subtle flavor and color to the masa, as does the beans within. When asked for choice of salsa, take my advice and opt for a scoop of the slaw. The crunchy, vinegary cabbage mix offsets the starchy black-eyed peas and masa.

Pupusas El Salvador also serves up tostadas, rice pudding and fried plantains along with their starting lineup of savory pupusas filled with either beans, pork, chicken, loroco (an edible flower), zucchini or spinach.

Without a doubt, Pupusas El Salvador dishes out terrific, satisfying food. Farmers' Market would be woefully incomplete without them.

Spinach and cheese mixture enrobed in a maize flour dough.
Pupusas with various fillings on the grill.
Spinach pupusa with pickled vegetables, slaw and salsa.
Pupusas El Salvador at the Farmers' Market.
Photos from the Picasa Web Album: Tasty bites from the Des Moines Farmers' Market.

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