Sunday, March 14, 2010

Homage to Dona Azucena from Abroad

Today, my new friend Dona Sonia is going to help teach me how to make pupusas. I will blog on this hopefully later today. Sonia is my friend Elisa's new "host mom," even though we're not on study abroad or anyhing, but Sonia and her two sons have been exceedingly welcoming and friendly to me and to Elisa, who rents a room just off their back patio. Sonia runs a little Mexican restaurant out of her house (her late husband was Mexican, so she's quite authentic!), and has already opened up her kitchen and home to me on more than one occasion. I love having cooking/cultural exchanges as I think food is one of the best ways to get to know the heart and soul of people (but then again, I just really like food). In return, I will be teaching Sonia and her kids how to make Peanut Butter Blossoms in the coming weeks!

But before I go on my pupusa making adventure, I just wanted to set the record straight about one thng. I am still convinced (much to the chagrin of all the Central Americans to whom I mention this...) that the best pupusas in the WORLD--yes, the WORLD--are served at Dona Azucena's on Glebe Rd in Arlington, VA. This seems to be confirmed by the interwebs ;) (See reviews below) Why? I find them to be the cheesiest and most delectible pupusas I have ever had. Extra cheese makes everything better. So when I make my pupusas today, I will have all the good folks in the kitchen at Dona Azucena's in mind. I only hope I can pat out a pupusa like them someday ;)


"...when you try to open the door to Dona Azucena, you are up against a wall of people trying to get in. All the tables are full, and there's a line three deep waiting to order at the counter."

"When you are starving and the rent is due, yes you can afford to eat out. It is called... the Pupusa.

I don't know how I would have made it through college at the Univ. of Maryland without this handy standby at the Flower Avenue location. Plus, I know of no other pupuseria in town that offers the bean/cheese combo as does Dona Azucena's. To me Dona Azucena's is an unofficial Washington area landmark, it introduced the pupusa to many a gringo such as myself and it was and remains cheap.

Viva Dona Azucena's!!!"
--Shahnaz S.

"I've never eaten better pupusas, not even in El Salvador!

This place is 100% authentic, from the way they're served to the curtido and salsa. It will be a huge culture shock if you've never had it before, but just pile on the curtido (cabbage) and red sauce on top of your pupusas and dig in. My favorites are the Revuelta (Cheese, Pork and Beans) and the queso pupusas. If you want to try something really different go for the queso con loroco (loroco is an edible flower from Central America).

If you are feeling adventurous for something different, or nostalgic for something Salvadorean this is a great place."
--Ana O.

Both quotes from

1 comment:

  1. I am no expert, but I do love those too. Here is my recipe, that I have used.

    *2 Cups Masa Harina (you can find this in the Spanish isle @ your grocery store.)
    *1 1/2 cups warm water
    *1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
    *Salt & Pepper to Taste
    *6 oz. of Mild Cheese or any filling of your choice (I used left over Taco Meat-ground beef seasoned with salsa & diced peppers, tomatoes & onions)
    *1/2 cup Fresh Cilantro (I used bottled cilantro seasoning)
    1. Mix the Masa Harina, cumin, salt, pepper & water into a dough which is soft but not sticky. You may have to add more masa if it's too wet or more water if it's too dry.
    2. To make a 3 inch round pupusa, take about half a cup & roll it into a ball. Flatten with your hand.
    3. Put the filling in the center.
    4. Work the edges around the filling & again form a ball. Make sure all the filling is enclosed.
    5. Flatten each ball to about 1/4 inch or less & cook the pupusas on a hot, lightly oiled griddle or pan for 3-4 minutes per side, or until both sides are lightly browned. I used our deep fryer instead & fried them for 4 minutes each.
    6. Serve Warm. I like to have Salsa to dip them into.