It requires masa (a dough made from corn) which can be purchased from a tortilleria or made using masa harina (a corn flour made in Mexico) and water. If you’re unable to find local cactus, you can replace it with tinned nopales which can be found in any Latin produce store.
Varieties of this dish can be found in every market place throughout Mexico City. It’s simple but full of Mexican flavours, and ours is made even more special with the use of fresh Australian nopales (cactus).
- 100 g fresh nopales (cactus)
- Olive oil, for brushing and deep-frying
- 60 g roasted, peeled and thinly sliced red capsicum
- 6 sprigs coriander, washed
- 10 g salted queso fresco
- 200 g dried black beans, soaked overnight in cold water
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- ½ leek, finely chopped
- ½ brown onion, finely chopped
- 1 stick celery, finely chopped
- 1 red capsicum, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ¼ tsp ground coriander seeds
- ¼ tsp ground cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 250 ml (1 cup) tinned crushed tomatoes
- 2 tbsp chipotle in adobe sauce
- 200 g masa harina
- Sea salt
- 270 ml hot water, approximately
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
For the refried beans, drain the beans and place in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover well. Simmer until the beans are tender, then drain and reserve the cooking liquid.
Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the leek, onion, celery, capsicum and garlic and cook until transparent but not coloured. Add the spices and cook for another 5 minutes or until fragrant. Add the tined tomatoes, chipotle and drained black beans and cook for a further 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender and process with enough of the reserved bean cooking liquid to get a thick consistency- it should stand up on the spoon but not be paste-like. Set aside and keep warm until required.
Meanwhile, peel the cactus of its outer dark green skin. Lightly brush with oil and char-grill until tender. Allow to cool, then cut into matchsticks.
To make the sope (masa disc), place the masa harina in a bowl with a pinch of salt. Add enough of the hot water to make a soft but not sticky dough. Shape the dough into 4 even balls, then press each ball flat between 2 sheets of baking paper. Press in a tortilla press or roll with a rolling into 3-4 mm thick rounds.
Heat the oil for deep-frying into a saucepan or deep-fryer to 180˚C. Deep-fry the sope until golden, then drain on paper towel.
To serve, place a sopa in the middle of each plate. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the refried beans on top. Mix the cactus, roasted capsicum and coriander together with a little olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Place on top of the refried beans and finish with a sprinkle of salted queso fresco.
• Chipotle in adobe sauce and salted queso fresco can be found in most Latin supermarkets.
This recipe is from Series 2 of The Chefs' Line airing weeknights at 6pm on SBS. Episodes will be available after broadcast via SBS On Demand. Join the conversation #TheChefsLine on Instagram @sbsfood, Facebook @SBSFood and Twitter @SBS_Food. Check out sbs.com.au/thechefsline for episode guides, cuisine lowdowns, recipes and more!