Gorditas and sopes are among the most popular street foods in Mexico. These little masa treats can be filled and topped with endless vegan and vegetarian options.
What Are Sopes?
Sope pronounced so-pe is a little disk made from masa or corn dough which starts off as a flat, small and round but much thicker than a tortilla. It’s cooked on a comal or griddle then the edges are pinched up to create walls to keep all of the toppings on the sope.
Depending on the region of Mexico, sopes can also be known as pellizcadas with comes from the word pellizcar to “pinch”. Another name for them in the state of Veracruz is picaditas, usually those are larger in diameter and thinner too.
After shaping and cooking a sope on a comal some people will also either fry it in a little bit of oil or deep fry it. After either cooking method is complete the sope is ready to be topped with a big variety of toppings.
The way a sope is topped can differ from one Mexican region to another. There are so many options and you’ll always be able to find both vegan and vegetarian topping choices.
Often times the sopes can have refried beans or mashed potatoes on the base then topped with anything from nopales, chicharron, shredded meats, carnitas, tinga…or even just refried beans. The options are endless!
What are Gorditas?
Gorditas pronounced gor-dee-toos, is also made from masa. The name translates to “chubby”. But unlike sopes, they stay a round shape and are also thicker than a gordita but smaller in size. They are cooked just like sopes, on a comal. But rather than pinched, they are sliced and stuffed, just like a pita bread
There are some variations depending on the state of Mexico you’re in. Some people make them just like mentioned above, but others put the filling in the center of the masa and shape from there. The already stuffed gordita is cooked on the comal, then sliced open again and filled with garnishes.
Sopes and Gorditas Are Antojitos
Antojitos translates to “little cravings” and they are among the favorite street foods of Mexicans. Meant to be enjoyed as little bits to calm the hunger in between meals, they end up being more like the actual meal.
In any city or town you visit in Mexico there will be tons of street vendors selling both fo these little masa treats. Nearly every restaurant will also have them available. But of course, they’re also both popular foods to make at home.
Are Gorditas and Sopes Made The Same Way
Yes they are, it’s essentially the same recipe for both of them.
To start with either fresh masa is purchased from the local tortilleria, where it’s made of freshly ground corn known as maíz nixtamalizado, or bags of instant masa like Maseca are used.
If using instant masa it, of course, must first be hydrated with water. I personally like to also add a splash of vegetable oil for texture. I too like to add a little bit of salt for extra flavor and some baking powder to give the dough a little extra fluffiness to the texture.
The dough is shaped into small balls which are then either shaped using a tortilla press or by hand (watch the video for a visual), then cooked on a hot comal on both sides. From here they are either enjoyed with preferred toppings and fillings or they can also be fried before doing so.
Let’s watch the video for a visual guide of how to make both sopes and gorditas.
How to Make Sopes and Gorditas
- 2.5 cups white masa harina
- 1 teaspoon baking powder optional
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil optional
- 2 cups of lukewarm water you may need more or a little less
- fillings and toppings as desired see notes
- In a large bowl combine the masa harina, salt and baking powder until well combined. Next drizzle in the oil then gradually add the water as you start to mix the dough. Little by little keep adding water until you have a dough that perfectly hydrated, comes together and doesn’t fall apart or stick to your hands and fingers.
- Shape small masa balls about the size of a golf ball, do so until all of the dough has been used up. (I ended up with 15 balls). As you shape the balls put them back in the bowl, then cover it with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 10 minutes
- Heat a comal (or large frying pan) then start shaping the gorditas and the sopes. One by one flatten the ball between your palms until you have a disk about ¼ inch thick then carefully place it on the hot comal. Allow to cook for 4 minutes on one side before flipping over. As one is cooking you can continue to shape more enough to fit on your comal or frying pan. Once flipped and cooked on both sides put the in a bowl or small basket and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Set aside and continue until all of the balls have been shaped and cooked.
- To shape the sopes place one on a cutting board then going around start pinching up the edge all the way around (watch the video for visual guide). For gorditas just slices like you would to on a pita bread to form a pocket. From here your gorditas and sopes are ready to eat, or you can take it a step further and fry them both in hot oil until they’re a little crispy. Drain excess oil on paper towels then stuff or top as desired.
The recipe for the egg stuffing is coming soon!!