Salvadoran Stuffed Masa Cakes with Quick-Pickled Slaw

  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, coarsely grated (2 cups)
  • 1 cup cooked small red beans or kidney beans, rinsed and drained if canned
  • 1/4 cup crumbled smoky bacon (optional)
  • 4 cups corn tortilla flour (masa harina)
  • 3 cups water at room temperature

Toss together cheese, beans, bacon, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl with your hands, then press mixture firmly into 16 (1 1/2-inch) balls (for filling).

Combine tortilla flour, water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl and knead with your hands until a uniform dough forms, about 1 minute. (Dough should be moist but not sticky. If necessary, knead a little more tortilla flour or water into dough.)

Flatten 1/4 cup dough between moistened palms into a 4-inch disk. Wrap disk around a ball of filling, enclosing it, and form into a smooth ball. Reflatten between your palms into a 4-inch disk (1/2 inch thick; filling should remain hidden). Put on a tray lined with plastic wrap and cover with plastic wrap to prevent drying. Make 15 more pupusas.

Heat a comal or large (2-burner) griddle over medium-low heat until hot, at least 2 minutes. Brush lightly with oil, then cook pupusas in batches, turning and pressing lightly with a metal spatula every 2 to 3 minutes, until crusty and browned in spots (some cheese may ooze out), 10 to 12 minutes total per batch. Serve immediately.

Coleslaw

  • 1 small head green cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, coarsely grated
  • 1/4 cup minced spring or red onion
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. honey

Blanch cabbage in a large pot of boiling water 1 minute, then drain and transfer to a large bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Drain well.

Stir together cabbage, carrot, onion, vinegar, honey, and 2 teaspoons salt in a large bowl and chill, covered, at least 2 hours.

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