What's cooking in...Honduras

By Sandra Scott
This item appears on page 63 of the April 2011 issue.

by Sandra Scott

When my husband, John, and I were in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, in 2008, we stayed at the Crowne Plaza (Blvd. Morazan 11 Ave. 1 Calle, San Pedro Sula; toll-free 877/227-6963).

Chef Moreno with pupusas. Photo: Sandra Scott

At breakfast, the chef was checking the selections in the buffet. He asked me if everything was okay and I told him, “I enjoyed the Honduran items.”

“Did you try the pupusas?” he asked.

I responded, “They were delicious. I never had them before.”

The stars must have been in perfect alignment because he then said, “I am Hernando Moreno. I have a cooking school and a TV cooking show. My school is not far from here. Would you like to visit?”

The next morning we showed up at his school, Hernando Moreno Gastronomia de Alta Escuela (10 calle 9 y 10 Avenida N.O. #58, Barrio Los Andes, San Pedro Sula, Honduras, C.A.; phone [504] 55 23 251, 55 27 101 [website in Spanish only] ). Class was in session, with students hard at work preparing the assigned menu of the day. Featured items included tapado olanchano and pupusas.

Chef Moreno pointed out, “Tapado Olanchano is traditional to the interior of Honduras, which is largely a ranching area. It is the ‘everything’ dish.”

He continued: “Pupusas originated in El Salvador, but it is a favorite of all Central Americans.”

I watched the students preparing pupusas, which I thought would make great hors d’oeuvres. And it looked so simple. The whole cooking experience was typical of the openness and friendliness of the Honduran people.

We did not have a formal cooking experience, so there was no charge for us, but a two-hour class costs from $30 to $40, depending on the recipes included in the session.

Tapado Olanchano

1 lb sausages (any kind, sliced in 2-inch pieces)

1 lb pork ribs

1 lb pork skin (pork rinds)

6 plantains (green or yellow), cut into 2-inch-long pieces

2 pieces of yucca (or potatoes)

3 cups beef broth

salt to taste

1 tsp oil, for pan

1 onion, minced

1 green pepper, diced

5 cloves of garlic, sliced

5 sprigs cilantro

3 tomatoes, diced

3 lbs beef, cubed

Lightly fry the minced onion, green peppers, garlic, cilantro and tomatoes in oil in a large pan. Add rest of ingredients to pan. If the ingredients are not covered by the broth, add more broth. Cook over medium heat for 2 hours until everything is tender. Serve.


1 cup filling (possible fillings: cheese, fried chopped pork in a tomato sauce, or refried beans)

2 cups corn flour (masa harina)

1 cup warm water

In a large bowl, mix the corn flour and water. Knead well. Knead in more water, one tablespoonful at a time, if needed, to make a moist yet firm dough. (It should not crack at the edges when you press down on it.) Cover and set aside 5-10 minutes. Roll dough into a log and cut into 8 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball. Press a hole in each ball with your thumb. Put about 1 teaspoon of desired filling into each ball and fold the dough over to completely enclose it. Press the ball out with your palms to form a disc, taking care that the filling doesn’t spill out. Place the dough between two pieces of wax paper and roll it out with a rolling pin to a thickness of about ¼ inch. Heat an ungreased skillet over medium-high flame. Cook each pupusa for about 1-2 minutes on each side until lightly browned. Serve.