Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Sopa de Lima

I made sopa de lima on May 14, 2015. This was my first attempt at the dish. Sopa de lima means lime soup in Spanish. This is a dish from the Yucatan region of Mexico. It is a chicken and lime soup traditionally garnished with fried tortilla strips or chips.

I was introduced to this dish back around 1995 or 1996 when I used to frequent a restaurant in Tualatin, Oregon called Cocina del Sol. It was a restaurant that served Latin, Caribbean, Southeast Asian cuisines, and a mix thereof. I was introduced to many dishes there from various cultures I never had before. I liked this soup so much I ordered it every time. It and the Mexican Chocolate cheesecake were only items I ate more than once there. I usually went with the specials not knowing when they would return on the menu.

With those memories, I decided to start with this dish when I returned to cooking from scratch. Cocina del Sol went out of business in 1998 or 1999.  I had not seen this on another restaurant’s menu since. When I made it the first time in May 2015, I enjoyed the broth pre lime. After the limes were added, it had too much of a lime flavor. I mean that I felt the lime overpowered the other flavors in the soup. The tortilla strips were baked not fried. I baked them with olive oil and lightly salted on them.

I made it again in September of 2015. I lowered the amount of lime juice and it had the right amount of lime flavor to other seasonings. I garnished the soup with cilantro, the tortilla strips or chips, and sometimes some cheese. Once I was able to get the lime flavor in the right window I was very happy with this dish. I also used bone-in and skin-on thighs instead of boneless skinless chicken breasts on the second try. The broth was more flavorful with the thighs.

This was one of my first major culinary experiments since coming backing to cooking from scratch. I was trying to recreate a memorable dish from my past. The first attempt was good, however the second I got it just right. This also re-enforced the idea that chicken thighs were a better choice, based on flavor and cost. 

(Author's Note: please excuse the low quality of these pictures they were taken on an old phone)

Here is a Link to the recipe I used as my base:

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