Picking a favorite Mexican food is impossible.

A top five is more probable.

At this moment in my life I can guarantee that pozole, esquites, and chilaquiles would be on the list, along with sopes.

I first fell in love with sopes while working at Hecho en Dumbo in New York City.

They make one on their dinner menu with crabmeat, avocado, and jalapeno oil.  Does anything sound better….?

This recipe is for the standard Mexican sope.  Very simple, y muy muy rico.

Mexican Sopes  ::

  • Maseca or another corn flour, NOT Maizena
  • water
  • black beans
  • garlic
  • serrano chili
  • tomato
  • onion
  • cilantro
  • limes
  • cotija cheese
  • salt & pepper
  • frying oil

Soak your black beans over night.  The next day drain, rinse, and place them in a pot covered with 2-3 inches of water.  Add a halved onion and a couple of garlic cloves.  Bring to a boil, lower to a light simmer and continue cooking til effortlessly smash-able with the back of a spoon.  Season with salt and pepper and puree them with a hand blender til nice and smooth.

Make the pico by mincing the serrano and cilantro, giving the tomato and onion a small dice, and juicing the limes.  Combine ingredients and season with salt.

Grab your cast iron and place it over medium heat and add at least an inch of oil.  Some prepare their sopes by completely submerging them in the oil (deep-frying) others do a pan fry.  To me, it works best deep-fried because both sides will fry simultaneously and the inside will puff, which is what they’re suppose to do.  I find when you pan fry them, they don’t come out as airy, more like fried disks.

In a mixing bowl combine the Mascena, a dash of salt and water.  Generally 1 cup of corn flour to 1.25 cup of water.   Mix well.  The dough should be moist and is ready when it doesn’t stick to your hands.  Using your hand roll out golf-sized balls.  Place each ball in a tortilla press (or use the bottom of a frying pan covered in a plastic bag) and lightly press the ball til it’s about 4 inches in diameter.  Carefully transfer the sopes into the oil, not overcrowding.  NEVER overcrowd when frying.  Fry the sopes til golden and transfer to rack.

Assemble the sopes-  a big smudge of black beans, a spoonful of salsa and lightly sprinkle with cotija cheese.  Serve with lime wedges on the side.

Photos courtesy of Lili.  Gracias, chica!