UBT Budget Bites: Third Course

September 17, 2020

We asked people across UBT to share their favorite meals on a budget — and now we’re sharing them with you!

This week Skyler from our Customer Support Team is showing us how to make papusas. Pupusas are a Salvadorian food made with cornmeal flour and stuffed with just about whatever you want! For this recipe, Skyler chose bean and cheese but he notes that you can easily add some meat or veggies. Pupusas are usually topped with a salsa and "curtido," a pickled shredded cabbage/carrot mixture.

Check out Skyler's recipe and the cost breakdown below.


Total cost of meal: $14
Serves: ~4-5


  • Maseca (cornmeal) ($2.88 per bag)
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese ($4.22 per bag)
  • Refried beans ($1.84 per can)
  • Salt
  • Oil
  • Curtido (bag of coleslaw mix, about $1.77. Combine with jalapeno and quarter of an onion, as priced below. Will also need vinegar, salt, water, and oregano).
  • 4 roma tomatoes ($1.40),
  • A quarter of an onion (one onion $0.70)
  • 1 garlic clove (around $.45 for one bulb)
  • 2 jalapenos (can get about 5 for $0.50)


1) Make a quick salsa with the tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeno, and four cups of water. Add to a blender and blend on high. Heat a small drizzle of oil on medium high heat in a sauce pan and add the salsa in. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add salt/pepper/spices to taste. After about 10 minutes it should be reduced by half and then is ready to be taken off heat and allowed to cool to room temp. 

2) For the curtido, thinly slice a quarter of an onion and add it with the cabbage mixture to a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine ½ cup vinegar, ¼ cup water, ½ teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of oregano. Pour this over the cabbage mixture and let sit (the longer the better). 


Papusas made by Skyler

Pupusa Time! 

3) Warm up a skillet/griddle/large pan on medium high to high heat. Get out two small bowls, one for a little bit of oil, the other for water. Two more bowls can be used for the cheese and beans, or you can just grab from the bag/can, too. 

4) In a large bowl add a pinch of salt to 3 ½ cups maseca. Slowly mix in 3 cups of lukewarm water little by little until you get a soft, almost playdough-like dough. Add water if needed to get to this consistency. It should end up sticking to your hands a little if they're not wet, but you should still be able to work with the dough. 

5) Wet hands with a little water and grab some dough (somewhere between a golf ball and tennis ball size). Flatten and round out the ball until you get a disc about half an inch thick. Then indent the middle with your thumb to make a bowl shape. 

6) Add cheese and beans into the indented part of the disc (probably about a spoonful of beans and a palm-full of cheese). Bring the sides around pinching it back into a ball. Don't worry, it doesn't have to be perfect. Then flatten it back out. Cheese or beans might spill out, but that's okay.

7) Rub a little oil on each side and place on the hot skillet. Cook on each side until golden brown. If some cheese comes out, it's okay - it tastes good. Once done, place on plate, top with salsa and curtido, and enjoy!

Papusas by Skyler


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