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Bento Recipe: Sopaipillas


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Fried bread pillowsYou've likely seen these in the dessert section of Mexican restaurant menus. They're crispy little dough pillows served with honey. When I found an easy recipe I tried it immediately, and they turned out great the first time, despite the recipe containing a big error: 3/4 cup of water when 1/4 was what was needed. (Even my inexperienced eye caught that mistake - thankfully, before I dumped all that water in.)

What you'll need:

    1 cup of flour
    1 tbsp of baking powder
    1 tsp of salt
    1 tbsp shortening
    1/4 cup of water
    Oil for frying (I use canola)
    Honey or whatever else you want to serve it with

Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Then crumble in the shortening, a little bit at a time, rubbing and mushing it into the flour mixture with your fingers until it has a crumblike texture. Then add in the water, a little at a time, mixing with a fork. The dough will clump around the fork. Shape the dough into a ball, then put it onto a lightly floured working surface and knead it gently until the texture is fairly smooth. Then roll it out using a rolling pin (or reasonable facsimile) into a sheet as thin or thinner than pie crust. Cut it into 3 inch squares, or triangles half that size, or however else you may want to shape them. Finally, heat the cooking oil to 375 degrees and fry them, turning once, until they puff up and turn golden brown. Drain them on paper towels and serve with honey (my favorite!), syrup, cinnamon, powdered sugar, or whatever else strikes your fancy.

Slight variations in the oil temperature can have a drastic effect on how much the sopaipillas puff up. A few degrees less and they stay almost flat; a few degrees more and they blow up into big hollow round pastries.  In the middle and they'll have various sized bubbles. All are good, believe me.  Just don't "pop" the bubbles while the sopaipillas are still cooking or the oil will get inside them. Yuck.