Have you heard of sopa de letras, thought that it sounds like something delicious, but not sure what it actually is, or how to go about making it? You’re not the only one.
When I first heard of this tasty soup, I thought, I really want to know exactly what that is, and how to make some for myself.
As someone who loves trying different types of food from all different cultures, any type of food is definitely something I want to know more about.
Does this sound like you? If so, you’ve found the perfect place to find all of this out.
In this article, I’m going to be telling you everything there is to know about sopa de letras?.
I’ll be writing a little bit about its history, what it is, and how to make it. Read on for an all you need to know guide about this tasty Mexican soup.
What Is Sopa de Letras?
Sopa de Letras literally translates as “Alphabet Soup”. It consists of pieces of pasta shaped like letters of the alphabet, served in a delicious sauce. Sopa de Letras is perfect for when you’re feeling unwell.
It’s also perfect for a cold, rainy day when you want something that will warm you right back up.
In Mexico, people commonly eat sopa de letras when they feel unwell, have a cold, or when the weather is cold outside.
It’s a perfect comfort food which will warm you up right in the middle of the coldest winter.
On a rainy, or even snowy day, it’s the perfect dish to make you feel warm again.
If you’ve been caught out in a storm, sopa de letras will warm you up and make you feel better. Because of this warmth, sopa de letras is often served during the winter in Mexico.
Mexico’s rainy season starts in May and goes all the way into October. This warm, comforting soup is perfect for these months with poorer weather.
It is also common in Mexico for children to be served sopa de letras after their first day back in school after the summer holidays.
In Mexico, the kids return to school in September. September is part of the rain season in Mexico.
Not only will this comforting food cheer the kids who are mourning summer back up, it will also make them feel warm again if they’ve been caught in the rain walking back from school.
In Mexico, sopa de letras is the type of dish that everyone’s mother, or grandmother has a recipe for. Recipes can vary from family to family.
What Makes Sopa de Letras Different?
What makes sopa de letras different from other alphabet soups is the way the pasta is prepared.
Unlike with other variants of the soup, the pasta is fried. This is what makes sopa de letras typically Mexican.
It is common in traditional Mexican dishes to fry pasta. It is done in other traditionally Mexican dishes such as fideo.
Because the pasta is fried, it has a toasty, crispy texture which makes it crunchy. This makes it perfect in the soup, as the crunchy texture contrasts with the liquid sauce.
The dish is typically served with warm tortillas. You can dip these into the soup, or even cut them and put them in as chunks.
Either way, the soup is delicious and the tortillas complement it perfectly.
How To Make Sopa de Letras
So, now you know all about sopa de letras in terms of what it is, where it comes from, its history, and what it is traditionally served with.
There is only one obvious piece of information you need: how to make it.
To make sopa de letras is easy. With the right ingredients and simple cooking equipment, anyone can do it. It really is that easy.
The only process should only take about 20 to 30 minutes
Making sopa de letras is super easy. However, like with any recipe, you need to make sure you have the correct ingredients.
There’s nothing worse than being half way through a recipe, before realizing you’re missing a key ingredient.
To stop this from happening, make sure you have the following ingredients before you start the process of making the sopa de letras.
Once you’ve started, there will be no time to go out and get more ingredients. Therefore, to make sopa de letras, you will need to make sure that you have the following ingredients first.
Firstly, you’ll need 1 and a half pounds of tomatoes, or a can of crushed tomatoes or tomato puree.
Secondly, you will need a medium onion, chopped.
Next, make sure you have a garlic clove.
You will also need 3 tbsp of oil, and 1 tsp of salt.
You will also need 8 cups of chicken broth.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you will need 2 cups of alphabet shaped pasta.
This is the most important part, as it is the alphabet shapes which give this much loved soup its name.
In terms of taste, any type of small pasta will work, no matter what shape they are.
But it’s more traditional and, let’s face it, more fun, to use alphabet shapes! Therefore, I strongly recommend opting for the alphabet shaped pasta.
The Cooking Process
Now that you’ve got all the ingredients needed to make sopa de letras, you can start cooking. This is the easy part, and should take no longer than 20 to 30 minutes.
Here are 4 easy steps to follow in order to make sopa de letras.
- First of all, put the tomatoes, garlic, and onion into a food processor. Blend them into a smooth paste.
- Next, put oil into a large pan and put the gas on to a medium heat. When the oil has become hot, add the alphabet shaped pasta. Allow the pasta to try until you notice it turning a golden brown color. You should be able to smell it when it’s ready. It should smell toasty. Stir the pasta frequently. This step should take about 8 minutes.
- Once the pasta has turned that golden brown color and smells toasty, it’s time to add the paste which you have just blended in the food processor. Add the tomato paste with the pasta into the pan. Add a little salt and stir it in to mix it all together. Allow this to cook for 6 minutes. Stir every now and then until you can see that the sauce has become thick. At this point, it should be a dark reddish color. Make sure eto keep stirring to stop the pasta from sticking to the base of the pan.
- Finally, pour the 8 cups of chicken broth into the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Next turn the gas down to a medium heat and allow it to simmer for 10 minutes at minimum. Ideally, allow it to simmer for longer. As long as possible is best. The longer the soup is left to simmer, the better it will taste, and the flavors will have more time to sink in.
- Serve warm in a dish with a side or tortillas, and enjoy!