Sat Nam, Everybody!
Years ago, my husband's neighbors, Bernice and Louis Martinez, introduced him to a vegetarian, Native American rice recipe. It's called Sopa Seca, which means 'dry soup'. It's also known simply as Sopa. It's a real family favorite, so much so that Yogi Bhajan even insisted that it be prepared for him when we hosted him at our Florida residence in the early days of 3HO, back in the late 60s. What follows will make at least 12 garlic and onion lovers very happy. Also see Native American Fry Bread.
Utensils and Ingredients for making Sopa
Stainless steel pot (aluminum
pots pose a health risk)
several cups of basmati rice covering 1 to 1.5 inches of pot
*IMPORTANT: 1) Always crush your garlic and onions using a molcajete bowl or use a food processor in the absence of a molcajete bowl. Just finely chopping the garlic and onions will result in noticeably less flavor. The individual garlic and onion cells must be opened in order to release their Chi or Prana (essence). This can happen only if they are crushed. 2) Use caution if you want to add more garlic. Always err on the side of less garlic. While extra garlic may be desired, you can cross the line whereby a bitter taste results.
Large chunks of garlic, onions and tomatoes for more body and color can be added, if preferred.
First, use a stainless steel pot (not aluminum). Add several cups of basmati rice, i.e., cover the bottom of the pot with 1.5 to 2 inches of rice (we use uncooked basmati rice). Add just enough high quality cooking oil to ever so lightly cover the rice. Place the pot on low heat while you process the garlic, onions and tomatoes.* Caution: Watch this mixture closely to avoid sticking or burning of the rice - temperature settings can vary greatly from stove-to-stove. *Note: Low heat will minimize unhealthy chemical changes in the oil and help to sustain Chi. If the rice becomes light brown in color before you are ready to proceed to step 2, remove the pot from the heat. Note: The rice is partially cooked, initially, in the oil, and then it cooks to tender with the water from the tomatoes. If more water is needed, be careful not to add too much. Sopa seca is meant to be relatively dry, not soupy, when done.
When the rice is a light gold to light brown color, not dark brown, turn up the heat to a medium setting. Add the crushed garlic and onions, stir well and saute them for 1 to 2 minutes. Then add the crushed tomatoes. Add an extra small can of crushed tomatoes or tomato paste later for extra tomato flavor, if desired. Add salt and stir. Cover the pot and cook the rice until it's tender. Stir frequently.
Be Alert! When the rice begins to stick to the bottom of the pot turn down the heat. Again, stir frequently to avoid sticking and burning the rice. When the rice is tender, turn heat off and partially uncover the rice. Leave the pot on the stove and let the pot cool to room temperature.
and onion flavors improve after Sopa sits for a day.
Add Sopa to tortillas or taco shells, then add your favorite salsa and some ghee, if desired.
Serve Sopa Seca along with some refried beans, shredded cheddar cheese and some salad and-or guacamole. At least 12 garlic and onion lovers will feel as if they've died and gone to heaven. (Never mind their garlic breath!)
The best way to make Sopa is to crush the garlic, onions and tomatoes using a molcajete (mohl-kah-HEH-teh) bowl and pestle. Of course, a household food processor or finely chopping them by hand are also acceptable, but only if you can't get a molcajete and pestle, which is an age-old Native American-Aztec 'food processor' made of genuine lava rock.
'Molcajete y Tejolote' is the Aztec term for a 'mortar and pestle', molcajete meaning the mortar, tejolote the pestle. The grey-black, rough texture of both pieces is because they are made of natural basalt, i.e., volcanic rock. These are used in the traditional Native American manner for grinding spices, herbs, roots and other edibles.
Crushing the garlic and onions in a molcajete bowl is preferred over other methods because processing in this manner adds Chi (life-force).
the 'Fullscreen' button in the
The word molcajete (mortar) derives from Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs: molli (seasoning or sauce), and caxitl (bowl). The word tejolote (pestle) also derives from Nahuatl: tetl (stone), and xolotl (doll).
Foods traditionally prepared in the molcajete include salsas and mole's (mohl-LAY), as in 'guaca-mole'. It is also used for grinding chilies, garlic, onions, tomatoes or other herbs and spices for many native recipes.
best quality molcajetes are made from basalt-lava stone with
the lowest possible sand content. This stone can have a very
fine-grain, smooth feel or a very rough-texture. The coarser
textured stone, like the example above,
is hard and makes a good grinding surface. See
Curing procedure for a newly acquired Molcajete: With the pestle in hand, grind the molcajete bowl using water as a lubricant. Flush both utensils with water frequently until all surfaces are smooth and free of any gritty residue. The bowl and pestle will retain flavors and aromas of anything crushed with them. The more they are used, the more life-force (Chi) they acquire, so use water only to clean them.
CAUTION: Use WATER ONLY to cure and-or clean your molcajete and pestle after each use. Never use soaps or detergents. The accumulated Chi of the herbs and spices will strengthen with time, which will make for increased health benefits.
of us these days are aware of calorific content and nutrition
when we prepare our food, but how many of us stop to consider
the quality of the Chi or Prana
we are getting from our meals?
Points To Ponder
your food be your medicine,
will benefit human health and increase the
each and every environment, good
*Consultation with a health care professional should occur before applying adjustments or treatments to the body, consuming certain foods, medications or nutritional supplements, and before dieting, fasting or exercising. None of these activities are herein presented as substitutes for competent medical treatment.