A Salvadorian Cocktail Party
The path less traveled, El Salvador can be brought right to your home with our Cooling Your Jets menu. The Salvadorians know how to throw a party, and our Latin menu inspires a lively cocktail affair.
The people of El Salvador subscribe to one of the most important culinary mantras: fresh ingredients produce an outstanding meal. Salvadorians start their day with a trip to one of the many open-air markets that dot the landscape. Here they’ll purchase fresh meat and dairy and sift through baskets of mangos, tomatoes and yucca. At home, corn tortillas blister on the griddle while a pot of rice and beans simmers over the flame, all to be consumed that very day.
With so much to choose from, Galavante has created a cocktail party menu featuring some of El Salvador’s most popular dishes. From ceviches and pupusas to flan and curtido, these dishes are intentionally simplistic. Salvadorians see no need to hide their fresh products amidst a long list of extras – another culinary mantra they happily uphold.
Stemming from the Piles, a native tribe of El Salvador, Pupusas are the country’s most revered culinary creation. The thick corn tortilla can be stuffed with vegetables, cheeses, meats, or all three, and are grilled until golden, and then topped with a tangy salad called curtido.
Makes 8 pupusas
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
To make papusas, place masa harina and water in a bowl and mix until it forms a ball. Once formed, knead dough for approximately 5 minutes. The consistency should be slightly sticky. Cover bowl and let the dough rest for 5 to 10 minutes. While dough is resting crumble the queso fresco and gently mix in tomatoes. Return to the dough and shape it into 16, 2-inch balls. On a lightly floured board, roll out each ball until it’s about 5 inches in diameter.
For the filling, sprinkle about 4 tablespoons of the cheese and tomato mixture into the center of 8 of the rounds. Place an empty round on top of each and pinch the edges to seal. To cook, preheat an ungreased griddle or large skillet. Add one pupusa at a time and cook until lightly brown on each side.
Top with curtido, the traditional cabbage salad, with our recipe below.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes, plus 30 minutes for refrigerating
1 head green cabbage, cored and shredded
1 carrot, grated 1½ –2 quarts boiling water (enough to cover cabbage and carrot)
4 scallions, chopped
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup water
½ teaspoon salt
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
The Curtido adds a tangy flavor to the papusas, making them even more irresistible. To make, combine cabbage and carrot in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Steep the mixture for 5–7 minutes, which will soften the cabbage but still leave it crisp. Drain the mixture well, then return to the bowl and add remaining ingredients. Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.
With a coastline along the Pacific, fish and seafood are a prominent part of Salvadorian cuisine. Keeping with the understated approach, ceviches are quite popular. This procedure uses acid to “cook” the fish before it’s mixed with a simple tomato and onion salad.
Prep time: 20 minutes
“Cook” time: 10 minutes
Place shrimp in a glass bowl and cover with lime juice to “cook” for about 10 minutes. Shrimp will turn pink and opaque when ready. Next, place the tomatoes, scallions and jalapeño into a bowl. Remove shrimp, making sure to reserve lime juice, and dice into half-inch pieces. Add diced shrimp to bowl with tomato mixture. To finish, mix in lime juice, add cilantro and season to taste.
Flan has become one of the most universal desserts. The sweet custard is a favorite among Salvadorians because it pairs well with their many varieties of coffee and hot chocolate.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: approximately 1 hour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Add 1 cup of sugar and water to a saucepan and place over medium heat to caramelize. Allow the mixture to turn an amber brown without stirring (about 15 minutes) and then pour into a 9-inch cake pan, evenly coating the bottom. Next, in a mixing bowl, beat eggs, milk, water, vanilla and a ½ cup of sugar until smooth. Pour the mixture into the cake pan over the caramelized sugar.
The custard needs to cook in a water bath. Place the cake pan inside a deep roasting pan and fill the roasting pan with warm water until it comes about halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Cook for approximately 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and chill for at least an hour. Invert custard on a plate, slice and serve.
Corn seems to find its way into many Salvadorian dishes – it’s even the star ingredient in this popular beverage, which is rooted in the country’s Mayan heritage. The drink has the consistency of a milkshake and is topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Cut the kernels off the cob to yield about 3½ cups. Be sure to squeeze all the corn milk from the cob as well. Using a food processor blend water and 2½ cups of the kernels until smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a saucepan. Add the remaining kernels, sugar and salt.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened. To serve, pour into mugs and top with cinnamon.