One of the things I miss in LA is my favorite Mexican Restaurant. I vary between ordering Carne Asada and Sopes. I don't have a go-to place here in Seattle that's close, so last night I decided to make my own Sopes. They really aren't hard to make and since I now own a little deep fryer and they take only minutes to cook. What was more time consuming was to make a topping, but I had already made some Rope Viejas made (previous post) and I always have Rrefried Beans so it came together quickly.
Sopes are fried Masa rounds, much like Tortillas but they are thicker and have pinched edges that hold in the toppings. I thought they were really fun to make. I got a hint from one of my Mexican friends about adding little Baking Powder to make them puff just a bit and they were delicious! Now I'm thinking about all the other toppings that I can make to put on top like Green Chili Chicken, Carnitas and Chicken Tinga (all previous posts). Sopes are crisp, but still tender inside and I love them. I will be making them a lot now!
3 cups Masa Harina
2 - 2 1/4 cups Warm Water
1 Tablespoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
Vegetable Oil for Deep Frying
Put Masa Harina into a mixing bowl with the Salt and Baking Powder and stir to combine. Add in 2 cups of Water and stir to moisten the Masa and try to form a ball. Add additional water 1 Tablespoon at a time until the dough has reached the consistency of Playdough. Form the Masa into 2 inch balls. Then place wax paper or parchment on the counter and taking one ball of Masa at a time, flatten the ball with your palm and then push out with your fingers until you have about a 4 inch circle. Then push back the edges to form a rim and pinch to make the rim a little higher. Repeat with each Masa ball. Cover with damp paper towels to keep moist while you are cooking them.
Heat the Oil to 375 degrees. Drop in 1 Sope and cook about 1-1/2 minutes and then use a spider and turn over for an additional 1-1/2 minutes or until the Sope is golden brown. Remove and place on a paper-towel covered plate and repeat until all the Sopes are cooked.
For traditional toppings, spread with a thin layer of Refried Beans and then add the topping of your choice - Meat, Cheese, Salsa, etc.
Five Element Analysis
Sopes are made of Corn so that automatically makes them an Earth Food, so the Elemental balance will depend on what toppings you choose. Refried Beans contribute the Water Element. I used Ropa Vieja, which is Beef - more Earth with Red Pepper - which is Fire and Onions, which is Metal. Only the Wood Element is missing so a green vegetable would create a balanced meal. and a Tomatilla Salsa would be good choice.