Last Wonton's Honey Sriracha Wings WIN FOOD NETWORK MAGAZINE Contest

SOPA SECA aka Mexican Dry Soup

Luscious mounds of toasty golden noodles infused and topped with the incomparable flavours of Mexico.

Who ever said that I can't have my cake and eat it too, is wrong.  I love noodles.  I love Mexican food. Schmuck them together and what do you get?  Sopa seca. Or literally translated, 'dry soup'.  Those Mexicans!  They've got it going on. 

The deliciousness of sopa seca comes from the unique preparation.  Instead of cooking the noodles then coating with the sauce, these noodles are caressed in butter until golden, then simmered gently in seasoned fresh tomatoes and rich chicken stock, deeply infusing the flavours into the noodles themselves.

I first tasted sopa seca when I was about 12 years old and my parents finally succumbed to my best 'please-take-me-with-you-batting-of-big-brown-puppy-dog-eyes' look and brought me along on one of their many winter escapes to Mexico.  The memories of leaving a frigid Calgary winter behind in the '60's and being transported to the exotic sights, sounds and flavours of Mexico still gives me shivers of delight.

Alas though, in my naivete, and toting an untalented palate, I wasn't as adventurous as I now wished I had been in sampling more of the regional cuisine.  Silly, silly girl.  But I did find some goodies to love, like the crunchy little taquitos and warm, cheesy, frijoles spread on those renowned, bakery-fresh hard rolls they served in the small cafe in our hotel lobby in Mexico City.

Then one hot, sunny Acapulco day as we sauntered the beach just down from the Caleta Hotel, fantastic, spicy, aromas beckoned us towards a colourful, sand-floored eatery serving only 'antojitos', Mexican appetizers or snacks, 'to satisfy a craving'

A troop of silver-studded, short, dark and handsome mariachis were belting out one of Mom's favorite tunes, Guadalajara, and as soon as we sat down, just a few feet from the soothing surf of the bay, a bowl of fresh limes, a basket of warm tortillas, crocks of both red and green salsas and menus, were plunked on our rickety table.

There it was, right at the top of the menu, 'sopa seca'.  The waiter explained.  I grinned.  Noodles?  In Mexico?  Si, por favor!!! 

Since that day, I've never met a sopa seca I haven't savoured. I've eagerly tasted many divine versions of Mexican dry soup, some with braised chicken or meat, some with wide noodles and many different chilies and seasonings, some prepared stove-top and then baked and served as main courses. 

But, without a doubt, a really 'rustic' Acapulco-beach-cafe-style sopa seca, served as an antojito course will always be my favorite.  Muy delicioso!  Muy! 


SOPA SECA ~ Mexican Dry Soup
Makes 6 appetizer servings

1/3 of a large Walla Walla, Vidalia, Maui or other mild, sweet onion, roughly chopped
7 red-ripened plum tomatoes, halved
2 plump garlic cloves
1 teaspoon sea or Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2-3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 pound thin egg noodles, angel hair nests or short pieces of vermicelli known in Mexico as fideos
2-3 cups of homemade or good quality chicken broth

For topping:
Avocado chunks tossed with fresh lime juice
Crumbles of queso fresco, extra old cheddar, feta, monjerey jack cheese
(I used Old Speckled Hen English Cheddar - so intensely good, it almost bites back!)
Fresh lime wedges, chopped onion, sour cream, chopped cilantro, tortilla chips

Put onion, tomatoes, garlic, salt, pepper and cilantro into blender container.  Buzz, buzz, for a few seconds until completely liquified.  Set aside.

Melt butter and oil together in a deep skillet over medium-high heat.  Add noodles, saute while gently tossing with spatula and large spoon, or tongs.  Continue carefully tossing and moving the noodles until they are toasty, golden brown, about 5 minutes.

Add blender-buzzed tomato mixture and fold gently to distribute.  Top off with just enough chicken broth to cover noodles.  Reduce heat, so mixture just simmers.  Cover and cook about 8-10 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed and noodles are perfectly al dente.

Scoop appetizer size servings into bowls or small plates and top with avocado chunks, cheese and cilantro or your favorite topping combinations.  Fantastico with a side of cerveza or margaritas and, of course, some rousing mariachi music.  Salud!


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


I came to your blog seeking a sopa seca recipe (which looks great by the way) and was pleasantly surprised to find all of your Hawaiian recipes. Your writing about Hawaii on your Hawaiian kitchen page sounds like it was penned by a true Kamaaina! I was born and raised on Oahu and now live in Los Angeles. It always warms my heart to see how far reaching the spirit of Aloha is. Great Blog! Aloha!

Sophie Torres

That looks so great. This is one of the best pasta that I've seen. I would love to have this one day. I'll try this. Thanks for sharing the recipe.


What can I say Judi. I had not heard of this until today, but it not be the last time either.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)