Sope (pronounced as soh-peh) is a traditional Mexican food. It is ideally a thick tortilla with various toppings, such as re-fried beans, cheese, tomato or chili salsa, cabbage, and sour cream. Meat, such as chicken, beef, or pork is also added for variety. The sope is soft and thick, with a fried exterior. It is usually the size of a fist. These are quite popular in Mexico and found in almost every food stall and restaurant. These are, however, mostly unknown outside Mexico.
The Culiacan city in North West Mexico is the origin of sopes. It is believed to have been in existence over a very long time, although the exact timeline is unknown.
Ingredients and Preparation
Ingredients required to make the sope include corn flour called masa harina, salt, water, and oil for frying.
It is usually prepared in the following way:
· Dough is prepared with the above ingredients.
· It is then flattened into a thick round shape and the sides are pressed to form a ridge to prevent the toppings from slipping off.
· The sope is then deep fried until the exterior is cooked.
· It is topped with various toppings of choice.
Serving and Eating
The sopes are served as soon as they are made. They can be served as an appetizer, but can ideally be had as a main dish for lunch or dinner as it contains several toppings.
There are several regional variations of sopes made in Mexico. The variations are generally due to the different topping used in each region, including the locally popular salsa.
Apart from these variations, there are several dishes in Mexico that look similar to the sopes. Gorditas, tlacoyos, pellizcadas, salbutes, garnachas, huaraches, and memela are some of them. Huaraches is a sandal-shaped corn pastry with meat being the predominant topping. Tlacoyos is also a corn pastry, but was originally eaten without topping. Garnachas are also corn tortillas topped with a Mexican cheese and salsa.
Sopes and Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in United States and Mexico on May 5 of every year. In the US, the day is commemorated to uphold the Mexican heritage. In Mexico, it is observed to celebrate Mexico’s victory over France in the Battle of Pueblo. The day is celebrated with a variety of traditional Mexican foods. With sopes being a traditional Mexican favorite, it can be made for a Cinco de Mayo party.
A meatless sope can contain approximately:
Calories – 150
Fat – 8g
Cholesterol – 7 mg
Sodium – 450 mg
Potassium – 98 mg
Carbohydrates – 18 g
Protein – 3 g
Corn, with which the sopes is made, is rich in nutrition. It contains phosphorus, folate, thiamin, vitamin C, and magnesium. Phosphorus helps with storing and transporting energy, while folate aids with cell function and tissue growth. Vitamin C provides immunity and aids in iron absorption. However, as the sopes are deep fried, it can be high in fat content and cholesterol, which is not healthy for the heart.
The health factor of the sopes can be largely influenced by the toppings used. Lettuce and beans contain vitamins and meat contains protein. Low-fat cheese can be used, which is also rich in calcium. The pastry can also be baked instead of being deep fried, but taste may have to be compromised with, however.