Learn how to make sopes from scratch with our easy video recipe. You just need two ingredients and that’s it!
A very easy recipe, with all the details and tricks explained to help you to make sopes and enjoy them at home using ingredients that you might already have in your pantry.
what are sopes?
Sopes are one of the best inheritances that our pre-Hispanic ancestors could leave to us (mexicans). A thick disk made from masa dough that can contains many different toppings.
They are part of Mexican antojitos (snacks) along with tacos, flautas and many other dishes. The dish originated in the center and south part of the country and then spread throughout the territory, enriching thoroughly with the various ingredients available in every state or region.
In some parts of Mexico they are also known as pellizcadas or picaditas, referring to the edge that is made around the sope which is made by pinching the soft dough (pinch means pellizcar in spanish).
This small border serves to contain the different ingredients that are placed on top of the sope; those ingredients range from meat to different vegetables, cream, sauces, cheese, etc.
Although most of the sopes are round shaped, there’s also a variation made with an oval shape or, for example, in the state of Veracruz there are also the picaditas, which is a thiner and simpler variation of a sope.
Other variants of how to make sopes include the dough in different colours, for example the most common is masa azul prepared with blue corn, there are also those made of red masa using some type of chili (guajillo, pasilla, ancho ); green masa using nopales (cactus) or black masa using black beans.
In some states (like in Colima), two small barriers (pinched) are also made in the center of a sope.
The corn masa
Without a doubt, the best dough for sopes is made from nixtamalized corn. The nixtamalization process allows the corn to enhance its nutritional value. Read this article to know more about nixtamalized corn.
Finding nixtamalized corn dough (masa) may not be an option for many, especially those of us who lives outside of Mexico. So, we are left with two options to make our sopes:
- Make nixtamalized corn at home (from dried corn kernels) which is quite a long process.
- Buy a flour already nixtamalized (called masa harina) to prepare the dough. In the market there are many brands and we can even choose the best one for our taste and budget.
How to make masa for sopes
Masa is prepared only with flour (masa harina) and water, sometimes with a pinch of salt but personally I don’t find it necessary.
In a large bowl, put the flour and a pinch of salt (optional). Add water and slowly begin to integrate everything.
It won’t take so long before you’ll see the dough coming together and change in texture as water is added.
You will end with a dough with a manageable texture that doesn’t stick to your hands.
If the masa crumbles like breadcrumbs, it needs more water. If, on the other hand, you notice that the dough sticks to your hands or the bowl, it’s because too much water was added. In both cases, you can adjust with flour or water until you find the right consistency (watch the video).
How to make sopes
Keep a small bowl of water next to your working area to keep your hands and dough moisten.
BY HAND – Take a portion of dough (it will depend on how big you want your sopes). Roll it into a ball and, with your hands slightly moistened with water, first flatten it to make a patty.
Pass the dough from one hand to the other quickly while slapping it to flatten it until you’ll have a disc about 9cm (3.5 inch) and 0,60cm (1/4 inch) thick.
WITH A TORTILLA PRESS – Cut 2 squares from a plastic bag of about 15 cm (6 inch) each. Place one square of plastic on the tortilla press, then place on top one of the dough balls and cover with the other piece of plastic. Close the tortillera and press down gently until you form a small size thick tortilla.
WITH A HEAVY DISH – Do the same as with the tortilla press, but instead use a heavy dish (like a pie or casserole dish) to press and form the sope.
Important: If you want your sopes to have the same size you should use a kitchen scale to weight the masa portions.
How to cook them
Traditionally sopes are cooked on a comal. A disc that can be made of different materials such as iron, clay, ceramic, metal, etc. And that withstands high temperatures.
If you do not have a Mexican comal, the most common thing is to use an iron skillet or any other pan that you can use just for cooking tortillas or sopes.
The temperature is important because if it is too low the dough can lose all its moisture and result in dry and rough sopes. If, on the other hand, the temperature it’s too high, the sopes will burn quickly on the surface but, since they’re thick, they will remain raw on the inside.
The best thing is to regulate the temperature depending on the stove and pan you use. It may be necessary to “sacrifice” a couple of sopes at the beginning to find out the best temperature.
How to make the border
This is the most “difficult” part and I put them in quotes because actually you will see how after the first three or four sopes, you’ll find it’s more easier than you thought.
The sopes have to be hot to be able to make the edges. So the best thing you can do (if you don’t have someone to help you) is cook them in small batches. Ideally, two or three maximum sopes so you’ll have time to make the edge as soon as they are taken from the comal.
Place the sope just removed from the pan between a clean cloth napkin or a paper kitchen towel. Your fingers should not touch the sope directly.
Press gently, pinching between the thumb, index and middle fingers to form a border of 1 cm and a half (1/2 inch) more or less.
Place the sope turned over, using the edges as support, onto a clean kitchen towel and let it cool completely.
How to frozen
Sopes can be frozen if you do it properly. So, first you need to let them cool completely placing them onto a clean kitchen towel so it can absorb any moisture they might release.
Then, wrap them individually or in batches of 3-4 sopes with cling film, very tightly. Place them in the freezer for up to 6 months.
When you’ll want to eat them, defrost them slowly in the fridge overnight.
Some ideas to eat your sopes
You can actually eat your sopes with any toppings you want. The sky is the limit! And you should certainly experiment with various ingredients to make your own “recipe”. Here are some ideas:
- Refried beans (spread).
- Any meat leftovers like pork ribs in adobo, picadillo, or even chicken cacciatora!
- Shredded lettuce or cabbage, you can also use other salads you might like. I have even used peperonata…
- Onions, tomatoes and pico de gallo are so good on sopes.
- Sauces. Oh you have lots of options. Guacamole sauce is one of my favourites and so is roasted salsa.
IMPORTANT: Sopes need to be lightly fried in oil to heat and soft them before adding any toppings.
Sopes: How to make them from scratch
- 250 gr (2 cups) masa harina
- 400 ml (1 1/2 cup) water
- salt (optional)
- In a large bowl, put the masa harina. Add the water at room temperature and slowly begin to integrate everything until you have a dough that does not stick to the hands or to the bowl (see notes).
- Divide the dough into 20 pieces of the same weight (about 50gr) and heat a comal or a skillet over medium-high heat.
- With your hands slightly moistened with water, take a portion of dough and roll it into a ball then flatten it to make a patty.
- Pass the dough from one hand to the other quickly while flattening it until you'll have a disc about 9cm (3.5 inch) and 0,60cm (1/4 inch) thick. (WATCH THE VIDEO). You can also use a tortilla press or a pie dish to flatten the sope (SEE NOTES).
- Carefully put the sope onto the hot skillet and cook for about 1 minutes. Flip it over (with a spatula) and cook for another minute.
- Take the sope from the skillet and place it between a kitchen towel to form the border by pinching around using the towel to not burn your fingers.
- Place the sope turned over, using the edges as support, onto a clean kitchen towel and let it cool completely.