Guatemalan Cuisine: Loroco and Cheese Pupusas

Loroco and Cheese Pupusas

First of all, my apologies to all those masochist Guatemalans who live abroad and visit this humble site to get their daily nostalgic capsule.

Loroco is the green flower you see on top of the pupusa above, which I call Mayan pizza because is made from corn dough and cheese. Pupusas are normally top with other ingredients like chicharrones, beans, chorizo (red sausage), et cetera.

Loroco is a seasonal delicacy which can be found mostly in Chiapas, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

My favorite loroco recipe is Pollo en crema con loroco, Chicken with cream sauce and loroco. It is simply delicious beyond words.

I can not explain the taste and flavor of loroco; Can somebody else help explain the flavor of loroco?

© 2009 – 2013, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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  • I LOVE pupusas. The little, open air food stands at Lake Amatitlan have GREAT pupusas.

  • I’ve never had a pupusa with loroco before; I like them with chicharrón 😉

    As great as that pic is it didn’t make my mouth water as your mention of Pollo en crema con loroco did…talk about a craving and having to settle for a sandwich for lunch…

    • @Jennifer, the food mentioned is as important as the food shown for the masochist effect! 🙁

  • Pascu

    I love loroco and I use it very often at home when in season. Soups, stews, omelettes, sauces.. even chopped as an ingredient of a fresh veggie salad… Try it and you ´ll love it as well. I wonder how we could store it and use any time: in oil, vinegar, dried???

    • @Pascu, it looks like vinegar and the freezer might be good options according to the other commenters.

  • The Amatitlan places serve the pupusas with curtido.

    • @Santiago, often you find pupusas with repollo curtido; that’s how Salvadorans serve them as well.

  • I have a big jar of loroco I found at a little Guatemalan market, but since it’s pickled, I don’t know if I can use it in recipes like pupusas or pollo en crema con loroco, or if pickled loroco is used for other things?

  • Funny… but watching TV on DVD the other day loroco was mentioned on an episode of Bones, which by the way mentioned Guatemala on their series premiere and on this season’s premiere. After all, the main character is a forensic anthropologist (I wonder why this profession would be interested in our little motherland?)

    • @Manolo, I used subtle and clever, but I think sarcasm or irony might be better concepts; what do you think? How does the saying goes: it takes one to know one. 🙁

  • Sorry, forgot to say, I guess loroco could be planted and kept on an indoor, community, or backyard garden. I might try to smuggle some into the true white north.

  • As a Guatemalan residing in Los Angeles, CA. I always had the belief that pupusas was a platillo tipico from El Salvador. I know of many salvadoreans living in Guate. Also, regarding the Loroco, you can always keep it frozen on an vacuum sealed bag. It keeps something like 80% of it’s flavor so that might be something worth checking.

    • @Javier, the pupusas are a Mesoamerican dish; you can find them throughout northern Central America and south of Mexico under different names. In Guatemala nowadays you can use the word pupusa to refer to them, although tortilla con queso works as well.

  • Another food I must try!!

    • OMG Laura, haven’t tried pupusa yet, where have you been?

      As @Rudy says, even Salvadorians have it as the national dish, and there you can find a wide variety, I have had pupusas in Honduras, and eat every Sat. evening in Guate.

  • Jane Steele

    I think it tastes similar to an artichoke heart. Delicious in eggs!

    • @Jane, not quite, I believe palmitos are more like artichoke hearts. I love the flavor of all three though- 😉

  • Javier is right, pupusas are Salvadorian. But i love them, loroco y Queso are my favorite. Love the pic Rudy. Maybe some day you’ll make a cook book with all your beautiful pictures of food.

    • @Sheila, you mean to say, pupusas are “also” Salvadoran. Pupusas can be found in all the corners of Guatemala, especially in oriente, East. The word pupusas is now widely used in Guatemala as well as tortillas con queso y chicharrón. You need to take a culinary trip throughout Guatemala soon. 😉

      p.s. I am already working on the Guatemalan recipe book. Will you purchase a copy when it’s ready?

      • Thank’s Rudy, and i can’t wait for the book. Ofcourse i will buy it. I like all your pics but the food ones are my favorite and with recepies i will be in heaven.

  • Manolo, forensic anthropologists are often found investigating sites of mass graves in places like Bosnia Herzegovina & Kosovo, at the World Trade Center disaster site, and where people were “disappeared,” such as El Salvador & Guatemala 🙁

    • @Janna, Manolo knows that, he was being subtle and clever. 🙁

      • @Janna & Rudy. I have a dark sense of humour. Although forensic anthropologists are just a variant of physical anthropologists, whom might be interested in the human remains of the people’s that inhabited mesoamerica centuries ago (and might have predicted the end of the world in 2012, but that’s another story). In any case, Guatemala actually has exported forensic anthropologists to work in the former Yugoslavia, which is a sad fact, as it is that in Olympic disciplines Guate might win a medal first in shooting…

  • Guy

    We’ve tended to use it almost as a herb – in rice, in scrambled eggs, in mince dishes. Very tasty.

    • @Guy, you have to try pollo en crema con loroco… You will rethink the loroco possibilities.

  • Erin

    For some reason, Guatemalan food is not always recognized as it should be. Our gastronomic heritage is so rich, full of flavors, textures, colors and origins; probably this is because most of Guatemalans don’t know that the south and east regions of the country also have their own specialties. As a matter of fact, there is a variety of loroco (Fernaldia brachypharnynx Woodson) that is endemic to Escuintla.
    Janna: Yes, you can use your pickled lorocos just as you would use them fresh. All you have to do is rinse, let them stand in fresh water for 5 minutes and rinse again. Good enough to “heal” the cravings.

    • @Erin, you are SO right about the poor recognition of Guatemalan Cuisine. I have 142 entries in the food and drink category and I have barely touch the surface. However, I am sure there are already many dishes there that many Guatemalan have not tried yet. I believe Mexico and Guatemala to be the countries in the Americas with the richest gastronomies. What do you think?

      • Erin

        I would say that in Latin America, the gastronomic heritage goes beyond Mexico, which has become the most known Latin American food almost all over the world. Probably the largest collections of local dishes can be found, besides Mexico, in Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Cuba.
        It is important to keep in mind that the lists of local ingredients and dishes were enlarged and improved in many ways, during the colonial times. I am not taking out any credit to the local indigenous ingredients and methods; I am only saying that what we now know as ethnic food is a glorious combination of our past in its purest form, the colonial times, and some contemporary additions.
        Anyway, whatever the background in our extensive list of dishes, all of them are a feast to the senses. What a joy!

  • Mi abuela tenía un enredo o enredadera de loroco, recuerdo cuando ella lo cortaba para el arroz o el pollo blanco de los dias domingos, el sabor… No es acido ni dulce, yo diria que el sabor esta en el aroma que le da a la comida.

    • @Luis, maestro, gracias por las anécdotas. Estas historias son las que hacen de AntiguaDailyPhoto un lugar lleno de riqueza.

  • Eric

    I probably said this before, but it is worth repeating : Every time I visit Guatemala, I find so many new things to try for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I always ask what the name of something is, but the problem comes after my first taste … it is so delicious, I forget what the dish is called. Although I would love to purchase a cookbook published by Sr. Giron, I will have to be happy with all of the delicious looking photos for now, and make a list of things to try on my next visit. Like Jennifer, I am looking at a sandwich for lunch, but I am thinking, “If only you were pollo en crema con loroco ….”
    @ Rudy – gracias para la photo!
    @ Manolo – ‘dark humor’ es mas profundo, no ? Bien hecho

    • ja! I did eat the sandwich for lunch; but I went home and prepared the pollo en crema. Couldn’t find loroco in the supermarket, but half the craving was taken care of 😉

  • Pascu

    I find guatemalan cuisine unique: the blend of three cultures, each completely different. Mayan heritage brings the slow cooking stew style with thick sauces. African, the taste for deep fry food. Finally Spanish culture brought the oven, baked delicacies: bread, dough, roast, “dulces”… local fruits and vegetables mixed with 3 european basic ingredients: milk, sugar and eggs.

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  • Ay, Manolo y Rudy, I didn’t know that Guatemalan forensic anthropologists worked in Yugoslavia, but I did think you guys were aware of the significance of the reference from Bones. I’ve kind of noticed that dark sense of humor in Manolo; sabia yo que era listo 😉
    @Erin – Thank you for the instructions on how to use the pickled loroco! Now I can finally use it!

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  • Emily

    You wanted someone to explain the flavor of loroco, It tastes like a cross between artichokes and capers (the pickled kind anyways.)

    • Thanks Emily for coming up with a good explanation of the taste of loroco.

  • Dave Cannon

    I had a pupusa with loroco once and couldn’t eat more than a few bites. It was quite unpleasant. I usually love the salt chicharones and crispy cheese. The loroco had a funky, mysterious herb taste that just overpowered everything else. Like too many capers in a dish.

  • Nancy Cox Serrett

    I’m always happy to see loroco season arrive! I’ve described its flavor to skeptical friends as something akin to asparagus. We’ll be having pollo en crema con loroco tonight; tomorrow I’ll whip up a batch of pupusas con quest y loroco! Riquisimo!

  • FrankF49

    Where’s the recipe?

    • No recipe, but this is so simple, even I can prepare it. All you need is masa, cornmeal dough, a melting cheese and loroco. Buen provecho.

  • Robbzilla

    The Salvadoran place I’m sitting in here in Dallas has them on the menu today.

    • Awesome, I am glad pupusas can be found in so many more locales now.

      • Robbzilla

        Irving TX has a healthy Salvadoran community. I have a few friends in it, and my wife had traveled to El Salvador twice on mission trips. I’m glad that we have such good people in our neighborhood. I love the food and the culture has a lot to recommend it.

  • Bild

    loroco taste a little like the stem of cauliflower or broccoli or yellow squash, hard to describe, but it taste like a vegetable.