You don't know it yet, but you're about to get acquainted with your new favorite guilty pleasure: sopaipillas. If you're not familiar with this Southwestern and South American snack, it begins with a simple dough that's fried until crisp on the outside and full of soft layers on the inside. The best part about these snacks? Their pockets and crevices are perfect for storing toppings both sweet and savory. Watch as host Brandi Milloy shows you how to make sopaipillas, print out our recipe, and get snacking.
Once you've had your hand at frying up sopaipillas, it's time to think creatively about the toppings. Just like tortillas, the choices are endless as you can opt for sweet or savory applications.
To make a savory snack, top piping-hot sopaipillas with shredded cheese, avocado, and salsa. For a dinner option, add taco meat like shredded chicken or braised beef (as pictured). But you can also think beyond Mexican flavors; I even paired sopaipillas with leftover Burmese spicy lamb and diced tomatoes, and it was a righteous decision. The bread is dense and slightly sweet, therefore it neutralizes hot flavors and soaks up the pan juices.
If you have room for dessert, drizzle honey or agave atop the sopaipilla and dust it with powdered sugar for an eye-catching treat. The crevices catch all the amazing gooey syrup, and the sweet sopaipilla tastes sort of like a beignet.
We're all familiar with tortillas as a Latin American staple, but it's time to befriend another quick bread from the same region: sopaipilla.
Originating from the Mozarabic word xopaipa, meaning bread soaked in oil, sopaipilla is a fried, leaven bread that puffs up upon cooking in the oil.
The result is a moist, rich bread with plenty of air pockets and crevices to store toppings. South Americans have savory and sweet applications for sopaipillas, often topping them with ingredients like cheese, meat, avocado, and even honey and powdered sugar.
If you've never attempted to make bread or pan-fry something, this recipe is deceivingly easy. Just be sure to freeze the leftovers so they don't go stale. This fresh bread, like all others, will toughen up and dry out within a day.
Adapted from Cat Barela
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons shortening
1/2 package (1/8 ounce) active dry yeast
1 cup water, warmed
1/4 cup milk, warmed
Vegetable oil, for frying
- In a small bowl, add yeast to warm water and let sit for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Rub shortening into flour mixture using your fingertips.
- Stir warm milk into yeasted water. Then pour over flour mixture. Stir until a smooth, wet dough forms.
- On a floured surface, knead out dough (adding water or flour as needed for consistency that is slightly wetter than pizza dough). Roll into a ball, and use a dough cutter to divide dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, then stretch and pat out, until each piece of dough is 1/4-inch thick.
- Place a large, thick skillet with a flat bottom atop a stove. Fill pan 1/3 full with a high-heat vegetable oil and heat on medium-high until it shimmers (about 325°F to 350°F). Add sopaipilla dough to pan (1 to 3 pieces, depending on how large the skillet is), and fry 1-2 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels, then serve immediately.
Makes 8 sopaipillas.