Sopes (SOH-pez), also known as Picaditas (pee-kah-DEE-tahs) or Pellizcadas (peh-yee-SCA-dahs) are by far the least known and most popular among the people I’ve served them to. It’s hard to compare them to anything your average American has ever eaten. They’re like an overweight corn tortilla had a baby with a Taco Bell chalupa-tostada mutt and then you covered it in red or green salsa, queso fresco and crema Mexicana. What else can I say? They’re awesome. You should make them, and eat them. En masse.
Note: The star of this show is the shell made from a corn dough or masa. There are a few brands of corn flour out there (not to be confused with corn meal or corn starch). I’ve seen it sold in tiny bags at ridiculous prices in the health food aisle. I don’t bother with that stuff, it’s a total gouge in my opinion. My favorite brand is Maseca. It happens to be the most commonly found in my area. Either in the baking aisle or the international section, it’s dirt cheap at about $4 for a big bag and I’ve never gotten a bad result with it. You can make a LOT of things with a bag of masa. Sopes, tortillas, huaraches, tamales, quesadillas de puesto, pupusas, gorditas… I’m gonna stop. I’m getting hungry. You get the point though.
Makes 12 Sopes
2 1/2 cups masa mix
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup cooking oil
Oil for frying
- In a large bowl mix the dry ingredients until well combined.
- Add the cooking oil and mix well (preferably with hands)
- Gradually add water, mixing well after each addition. Keep mixing until the dough starts to come together and the sides of the bowl start to come clean.
- Masa flour to water ratio can vary depending on weather, humidity, room temperature, freshness and storage method of the masa flour. When your dough comes together and the bowl comes clean, knead 2-3 minutes and check the dough.
- To check the dough, rip off a small piece, roll it into a ball and smash it flat with oiled hands. If it cracks around the edges, the dough needs a bit more water. If it sticks or breaks apart let it rest 5-10 minutes and check again, if it’s still too wet, add a dusting of masa flour and knead.
- Place a large frying pan (or use a comal if you’ve got one) over medium high heat. We want the pan screaming hot before the dough goes in or it will stick.
- Separate your dough into 1/4 cup portions. Roll them into uniform balls and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap.
- With your hands, flatten the dough balls into 1/8-1/4 inch thick rounds and immediately place them in the hot pan.
- Note: You may find placing the dough balls between sheets of plastic wrap or waxed paper and using a rolling pin or a plate to flatten them is easier, method doesn’t matter much so long as the dough balls get flattened.
- Cook 3-4 minutes on each side, remove and cover with a towel or place in a covered container. Repeat until done.
- Once all of the sopes have gone through the first round of cooking, it’s time to shape and fry them. Using your thumb and index fingers, pinch the edges of the warm sopes to form a little wall around the perimeter and place them in 1 inch of oil in a frying pan over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes on each side, or in a deep fryer at 350º F for 3-4 minutes.
- You’ll know they’re done when they’re a light golden brown and crispy on the outside.
- Place them vertically in a bowl or strainer with paper towel to drain.
Your basic sope is delicious in it’s own right with just a spoonful of salsa, crumbled queso fresco (you can sub grated parmesan) and a drizzle of crema mexicana or a dollop of sour cream.
If I want to make a heartier meal out of them, I’ll smear on some mashed up beans. Canned beans work well if I don’t have home made. Sometimes I’ll add on some type of meat like chorizo (mexican sausage), chicken, ground beef, steak or cecina (dry aged, salted thin cut steak) and some shredded lettuce.
If I want to turn them into a party friendly appetizer I’ll keep them basic and make them bite size.
Sopes are pretty tasty and versatile. I like ’em. I hope you’ll enjoy ’em too.
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