Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sopa de bolita de chipilin

Chipilin dumpling soup
My grandmother used to make this delicious soup with soft gnocchi-like "bolitas" flavored with chipilin. She would cook the "bolitas" in black bean soup, here I'm making them in a clear vegetable broth. This recipe comes from Tapachula, in the southern region of Chiapas. This dish is not spicy, yet chipilin has a very strong distinct flavor. It is widely available in Chiapas and Central America but hard to find here in the US. I recently discovered frozen chipilin in a market that carries products from Guatemala. Frozen products are an alternative for creating Central American dishes...although I would certainly prefer eating them fresh! You'll need the following ingredients:

  • One bag of frozen chipilin
  • One cup of instant masa harina (corn flour used to make tortillas and tamales)
  • A cup of vegetables of your choice
  • Quarter of an onion
  • One clove of garlic
  • One tablespoon of olive oil
  • Sea salt or kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
Start by creating your soup base - boil your clean vegetables in water until they are tender. The chipilin is very flavorful, so I recommend not using something too strong that will compete with the flavor of the chipilin. Here I'm just using carrots, onion, garic, celery and chayote. I didn't even bother to chop the vegetables, I just boiled them for about ten minutes until they were tender. Remove the vegetables and save them for later.

Soak half a bag of the frozen chipilin it in a large bowl of water. The chipilin is very strong so you don't need a lot. After a few minutes start separating the thawed leaves and move to a different container, leaving grit, dirt and the tough dry grass-like stems behind. You should end up with just the clean tender green leaves, discard everything else.

Create the dumplings by combining half a cup of the warm broth and one cup of masa harina. Mix until the flour becomes crumbly, add a little bit of olive oil and start kneading by hand. Incorporate the thawed chipilin leaves, adding more liquid as necessary.With wet hands form several bite size balls (about the size of a ping-pong ball) and set aside.

Bring your broth to a soft rolling boil. Add your "bolitas" one by one, until all of them are completely covered in broth. Cook them gently until they start floating (about 8 to 10 minutes). Chop the cooked vegetables and add them back to the soup. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.


  1. Where can I buychipilin in the New Orleans Metro area

    1. I've only been to New Orleans once. I don't know if Chipilin is available there, sorry.

      What I would do: Ask your own local network of Latino friends if there is a grocery store that carries products from Latin America in NOLA.

      Also, try googling something like "Latin American Products my mail", you may be able to buy chipilin on-line.

      Good luck.