The dish consists of a crispy sope bowl, refried beans, pulled chicken and a variety of toppings. Joshua Yepez Martinez / Daily Nexus

Time and time again, I find myself eating the same three foods in rotation, when my loving sister decides to FaceTime me and show me her homemade dinner knowing full well I’m on my third instant ramen of the week. She shows me her dish — sopes — and my mouth begins to water. Just as I’m admiring the plate, she turns the phone and laughs in my face, besmirching my dinner and everything I stand for. 

Just as I’m about to give up and settle for what will be my fourth instant ramen, I remember I know how to cook! And better yet, I know it doesn’t take that much energy. I love comfort food, especially when it’s super easy to make. Sopes are fried, bowl-like tortillas topped with cream, beans, chicken and, classically, lettuce, radish, cheese and salsa. This delightful meal doesn’t take too long to make, yet reaps the highest reward: a fulfilling, delightful meal. Sopes are served best with an agua fresca, in my case, a delicious jamaica — a refreshing iced hibiscus tea. 

YIELD: 10 servings

TIME:  45 minutes


  • 1 package of 10 sope bowls
  • 1 15-ounce can of refried beans 
  • Sour cream, queso ranchero, sliced radishes and sliced iceberg lettuce to your liking for topping

For the chicken

  • 2 lbs pounds of chicken breast 
  • 1 white onion, cut in quarters 
  • 5 bay leaves 
  • 2 whole garlic cloves
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 8-ounce can of tomato sauce 
  • A pinch of pepper
  • Salt to taste 
  • Cumin to taste
  1. Start by boiling water over medium-high heat. Add in ½ an onion cut into quarters, a garlic clove, ½ teaspoon salt and a few bay leaves. You can also add carrots, celery and potatoes for added flavor.
  2. Bring the pot to a boil, making sure to scoop out the white foam on top of the pot as it cooks. Often “impurities that form on the surface of some stocks and soups are rogue proteins which coagulate when heated,” yet this is nothing to worry about. I remove the foam by scooping it up with a spoon and tilting it to the side to drain the excess broth. 
  3. While the chicken boils, slice your toppings (in my case, lettuce and radishes).
  4. Once the chicken has boiled for 26-30 minutes, shred it with a fork and start warming up oil in a separate pan. 
  5. Slice the remainder of the onion. 
  6. Once the oil is heated, add in the sliced onion until lightly browned, followed by the chicken. 
  7. Add the canned tomato sauce and spices as preferred (Me? I like it spicy). I used pepper, salt, cumin and chicken bouillon to the chicken mixture and let everything cook for about 10 minutes.
  8. At same time, start adding the sopes into the pan, flipping until both sides are crispy and golden brown.
  9. While the sopes are frying, start warming up the canned beans in a lightly oiled pan or in the microwave covered by a damp paper towel so they don’t dry out. 
  10. Once the sopes are done and beans are warmed, it’s time for assembly! 
  11. To assemble the sopes, spread sour cream on the sope followed by beans, chicken and toppings as preferred — lettuce, radish, queso fresco and salsa of choice; I used salsa verde. 
  12. I also prepared some jamaica, by boiling hibiscus leaves in water, draining them and  adding water and sugar as preferred.
  13. Pour yourself a tall glass of jamaica and enjoy your sopes!

This is such an easy dish to make, and it always reminds me of when my sister and I would grow closer as we ate these delicious sopes. We’d top these off with salsa and compete over who could handle the hottest, which I, for one, have never lost. Simple dishes like this feel just like home.