Toasted Vermicelli in Roasted Tomato Salsa with Fried Pasilla Chilies aka Sopa Seca

Sopa seca or literally translated to as dry soup is another one of my favorite Mexican comfort food dishes.  I was intrigued by the dish initially because I didn’t understand what dry soup was supposed to mean, but the name made more sense once I figured out how sopa seca is prepared.  The noodles are fried in oil,  added to a spicy roasted tomato sauce and then baked or cooked over low heat until the noodles have absorbed the liquid.  

What makes this dish fit into the comfort food category is that, well it’s pasta, it´s smothered in rich Mexican crema and sprinkled with diced avocado and cheese.  I like to fancy it up a little with thin fried strips of chile pasilla which have a nice smokey flavor, but usually this is a very standard comfort food-esque dish.

There are lots of ways to serve and/or prepare this dish.  You could make it into a main meal by adding some sort of protein like chorizo, sausage or shredded chicken or it can be served as a side or second course as it usually is in Mexico.

Serves 2 to 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of vermicelli
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • ½ a chipotle en adobo (optional)
  • 2 cups of water
  • Oil
  • Salt to taste

Garnish:

  • Mexican crema
  • queso ranchero/fresco
  • ½ a cup of chopped cilantro
  • 2 pasilla chilis
  • 1 avocado

On a comal or in a broiler roast the tomatoes, onion and garlic until blackened. Blend with 2 cups of water or broth  and bring to a boil in a medium sized pot.  While the tomato sauce is heating up fry the noodles in oil, in 2 batches until browned, but not burned.  (Note: vermicelli will burn quickly so make sure to cook in on low to medium heat and stir constantly) When the sauce has been brought to a boil add the fried noodles turn down the heat and cover the pot.  The noodles will take about 10 to 15 minutes to absorb the liquid.  Feel free to check the noodles occasionally to see how cooked they are and keep in mind that if the recipe is doubled the noodles will take longer to cook.

While the noodles are still cooking cut the pasilla chillies into thin strips.  Fry in oil, moving constantly, until crispy, but not burned.

Serve with sprinkled queso ranchero, a dollop of Mexican cream, the fried pasilla strips and chopped cilantro and avocado.

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