How to Cook Sopas: A Creamy Filipino Macaroni Soup
Sopas is one of those Filipino dishes that can be a complete meal in itself. It has vegetables, meat, pasta, and even milk.
An Easy-to-Make Dish
Unlike most complete meals, however, sopas is relatively easy to prepare. Give or take 30 minutes, you can cook the traditional Filipino sopas without much sweat, really. Here's a quick look at the recipe (more detailed instructions follow below):
- An honest-to-goodness Filipino sopas is cooked by boiling shreds of chicken meat in water seasoned with salt and pepper. Bones from chicken, pork, beef or even turkey can also be used as substitutes or supplements.
- Once the broth is brought to a boil, then you can add in your elbow macaroni and simmer it until al dente.
- Shredded cabbage and tidbits of carrots then go into the mix.
- When the veggies are done, then milk is poured in to make the broth creamy, white, and tasty.
- Everything simmers.
- Voila! Now, your sopas is done!
When to Cook This Dish
Filipinos are generally a bunch of penny-wise people who do not want to see their hard-earned foods go to waste. Thus, many Pinoys cook up sopas when they have some leftover bones from chicken, pork, beef, or even turkey. That’s right, you can make leftovers into a whole, new, wonderful dish—sopas!
Sopas is also excellent for those cold days when you want something warm for your tummy. By and large, however, Filipinos in the Philippines—where it is incredibly hot almost all year-round—cook sopas every day. We like to have it for breakfast, usually.
I so love sopas, though, that I can eat it for breakfast with my pandesal, for lunch with my rice, for snacks after I eat my banana cue, or for my light dinner.
The ingredients for making the typical sopas prepared by Filipinos are as follows:
- 4 cups broth (broth comes from boiling and cooking shreds of meat or bones)
- 1/2 cup cabbage, shredded
- 1/2 cup carrots, chopped into tidbits
- 2 tablespoons butter or oil (you may want to make sure that you use only the oils that are good for the heart like olive oil or virgin coconut oil)
- 1 1/2 cup elbow macaroni pasta, uncooked
- fish sauce or patis in Filipino (optional)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk
- 1 medium-sized onion, minced
- 400 grams chicken shreds, cooked (OR leftover bones from chicken, beef, pork, or turkey, cooked)
- 4 cups water
- Heat oil in a pot. Sauté garlic and onions. Add in cooked shredded chicken or leftover bones and cook even more until browned. Flavor the meat with fish sauce, pepper, and salt.
- Add in carrots and sauté.
- Pour broth into the sautéed meat and vegetables.
- Add the macaroni and cook for about 10 minutes.
- Add in cabbage and cook.
- Add in more broth for a thick soup or water for a thin soup. More salt and pepper can also be sprinkled in to make the soup full of flavor.
- Remove pot from heat.
- Pour milk into the soup.
Filipinos love hot dogs so much that they put them into their Pinoy-style spaghetti, serve them in skewers for parties, and use them to make their everyday favorite sopas. Yes, hot dogs are used to make sopas colorful and even more appealing to kids!
To use hot dogs in sopas, cook hot dogs and cut them into small, round shapes. Add them in right before removing the pot from the stove or when the sopas is almost done. This stops the sopas from looking strangely reddish from the hot dogs’ juices.
Another variation is using spaghetti noodles or other kinds of pasta for sopas. Really, it doesn't matter which pasta is used as long as the same delicious flavor is there.
© 2011 kerlynb