In El Salvador there are pupusas. In Mexico there are tacos. In Honduras there are Baleadas. The simple version consists of a thick flour – though sometimes corn – tortilla that has been put on a charcoal grill. It’s slathered in refried red beans and a bit of white farmer’s cheese then folded over like an American style soft Taco. It is the any time of the day snack. You can have one for breakfast and add eggs. In San Pedro Sula, which has more fast food joints than anywhere I have ever been, they have a few chains such as Baleada Express and Super Baleadas, which serve up massive baleadas filled with anything you want: avocado, sausage, plantains, bell peppers, onions, chiles, pork, jalapenos, etc. More often, baleadas are served at casetas, or streetside stalls often near night spots and costs usually 10 lempira (about fifty cents US).
Basic Baleada Recipe:
2 cups of wheat flour
1 cup of water or tepid milk
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup oil
To make the Tortilla (the Baleada Shell):
-Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl.
-Knead the mixture until it is completely mixed and not sticky.
-Form the dough into golf ball size balls.
-Cover and let sit for about 20 minutes.
-Take each ball of dough and stretch it on a flat surface to make a large tortilla. Should be thick.
-Set the tortilla on a hot pan or grill until crisp.
-Turn the tortilla over and cook the other side.
Once the tortilla is ready you can fill it with anything you like much like a burrito. Traditionally in Honduras a baleada features refried red beans, fresh cream, and shredded cheese. To spice it up add avocado, or egg, or chile and fold the tortilla in half.
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.