Sopes are a very popular traditional dish in Mexico. They start as a thick corn tortilla that once cooked, is given a “plate” shape by pinching the edges. They are then fried and topped with all kinds of tasty things. Usually, a base layer of refried beans goes first, then whatever dish you have at hand, lettuce on top, crema, crumbled cheese and salsa on top. Endless possibilities. Sopes are perfect to use any leftovers and enjoy them in a Mexican way!
-1 ½ cups cornflour
-1 ½ cups of hot water (not boiling hot)
-vegetable oil or lard, as necessary.
1 Add the cornflour to a bowl and mix in one cup of water. Work the masa with your hand and at this point, add more water little by little until the masa is soft and very easy to work with. The dough should not stick any longer to your hands or the bowl. Work the dough for at least 5 minutes. Divide the dough into 8 or 10 dough balls of even size. Cover the dough balls with a clean tea towel or plastic film and leave them to rest for a few minutes.
2 Prepare a thick plastic bag by cutting the sides of it so you can press the sopes between them.
3 Heat up a comal or non-stick pan on medium-high.
4 If you have a tortilla press, open it and place one side of the plastic bag over the bottom of the tortilla press. Place a dough ball on top of the plastic, cover with the other side of the plastic bag, close the press and without squeezing too hard, check that you have made a thick, small tortilla. Only pressing once for sopes is fine.
5 Carefully, remove the tortilla from the plastic and lay it on the hot pan. Do not move and let it cook for about a minute. Once a minute has passed and the tortilla moves freely in the pan, flip it and cook for one more minute. Turn it once more for a few more seconds and wrap it on a tea towel or place it inside a tortilla warmer while you prepare the next sope.
6 Once you are cooking the next tortilla, go to the one in the tea towel and pinch all the way around the tortilla. You need to make a border to transform the tortilla into a sope. The tortilla must be warm so it is easier to pinch and keep its form. Remember this will be hot, so it is important to rest the tortilla for at least a minute until you start pinching but not longer than that because as it cools down it gets harder to pinch. Sopes should be shaped like plates, with a pinched up edge to keep the fillings in place and have something to hold them. Keep the sopes aside in the tea towel until all of them are done.
7 Now that you have all the sopes formed, they need to be fried so they get fully cooked and a little toasted and they can be ready to use. You can either add oil or lard to a frying pan, just enough to cover the bottom of it and once it's hot, you need to fry the sopes for about 30 seconds to a minute on each side. Remove them and place them on a wire rack or a paper-lined plate to absorb any excess oil. Alternatively, you can use your air fryer! Just lightly brush them with vegetable oil and layer them in the air fryer basket, without overlapping, at 180C for 5 minutes. This will depend of course on your machine but this is a good start, check them and see if they are golden and firm to your liking. Easy and no mess!
- We prefer smaller sopes! They are easier to hold and they can even be perfect as appetizers! Play with sizes and remember there’s no right or wrong size.
- If you don’t have a tortilla press, you can use a large bowl or plate to add even pressure to the dough balls. Use plastic the same way as if you had a tortilla press, on the top and bottom of the ball.
- Using the air fryer is such a nice option! No mess, lighter and crunchy sopes every time.
- Sopes are supposed to be eaten with your hands as if they were tostadas but again, no rules.
- Traditional sopes come in many forms and variations. Usually, a layer of refried beans is added to the bottom, then topped with lettuce, salsa, crema (creme fraiche is your best option), and crumbled feta cheese on top. You can use any other filling. Sopes are perfect to use leftovers and make them go a long way. Just the way we did it!
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