I have been trying to put a dent in the giant bag of masa I bought and so far I’ve been pretty successful. I used the tortilla press my husband brought home ages ago and made a dozen or so homemade tortillas, which were crazy good. I also went on a bit of a sopes bender.
Sopes, pronounced so-pez in case you’re unfamiliar, are like little masa bowls — ready to be filled with whatever delicious things you want. I discovered the magic of sopes fairly recently. I had eaten them before but it was the chicken and chile sopes at Portland’s La Taq that really haunted me. I’ll admit, mine were not quite that good but they were still pretty awesome for a first attempt!
I started by making a dough from the masa by blending it with warm water and a bit of salt. Once the mixture came together and was moist but not tacky, I divided it into eight pieces. Those pieces were then rolled into ball and flattened into disks, resembling thick tortillas.
In a hot pan with no oil, I heated the sopes on one side until brown spots started to appear. Then one at a time, I removed them and crimped the edges up to form a small shallow bowl. Once I had them crimped, it was time to fry them. While I’m fairly certain you can deep fry these guys (and I’m sure that makes them even tastier), I went for just enough oil to get them all brown and crispy.
Then the hard work is done! Seriously, you are already half-way to eating.
Gather your toppings — I had leftover ground turkey seasoned with cumin, paprika and ancho powder mixed with black beans and sautéed zucchini. Add in some queso fresco, cherry tomatoes, red onion and cilantro and the food fiesta is on its way.
These sopes are eaten right after assembly so just make sure everything is the temperature you want it — I reheated my meat and beans, leaving the vegetables as a cold, crunchy contrast.
Heap your toppings into the sopes and garnish with goodies…
Don’t forget the queso and limes! Is anyone else feeling the horrible effects of the lime shortage? Each one is around a dollar now in Portland and as a person somewhat obsessed with limes, I find this very sad. I know it’s not much money in the scheme of things but I really wish I had a lime tree!
In fact, I’ve even been making my margaritas with lemons recently because they are slightly cheaper and much juicier. I know that sounds crazy but my cocktail shaker gave me the idea. And it wouldn’t lie to me, right?
But you really can’t eat these, like most Mexican food, without some lime juice squeezed on top. Trust me.
And then dig in. The great thing about sopes is that they are basically finger food! And the less dishes required at a meal, the better.
Jessamine’s Homemade Sopes:
- 1 Cup Masa Harina (instant masa)
- 2/3 Cup Warm Water
- Fixin’s — Dealer’s Choice!
Mix masa harina with warm water and a hefty pinch of salt. Knead into a moist dough, adding more water if too dry or more masa if too sticky. You do want to err on the side of wet though so it doesn’t crumble.
Separate dough into small balls, about 1.5-2 inches around. Flatten into disks about 1/4 inch thick. As you are working, keep the dough you aren’t working with covered under a damp towel to prevent it from drying out.
Once all the disks have been formed, heat up a skillet on medium heat with no oil. Add sopes to pan — I was able to do about three per batch in a large skillet.
Once brown spots have appeared on the bottoms, remove from pan and gently crimp up the edges. Once all the sopes have been crimped, add oil to cover the bottom of pan and fry them up.
I only fried the bottoms, the part that had not already been browned, but if you add enough oil, you can flip and fry both sides. I’m sure they are delicious like that!
Then top with whatever you like!