Sopapilla / Frybread / Sopaipilla

Sopapilla / Frybread / Sopaipilla

noun | part of encyclopedia/cuisine
Pronounced: \saw-pah-pee-yah\ | IPA: /ˌsɔ paˈpi yɑ/

Definition of Sopapilla / Frybread / Sopaipilla

New Mexico style sopapillas are a variant of Native American frybread, though the term can refer to several fried dough pastries found throughout Latin American, in New Mexican cuisine it is a traditional Native American puffed flatbread with a relatively simple recipe that consists of four ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, and oil or lard). Sopapillas are a bread dating back to the Long Walk of the Navajo to Bosque Redondo. Native Americans and Hispanics made the best of the meager rations afforded them by the US government, by stretching their ingredients. The fried dough has a pleasantly soft and fluffy texture, the fluffing of the dough also made from their flour rations seem more filling. They are usually served as a side bread or as a desert with honey; they can also be served as an entree called stuffed sopapillas; usually stuffed with meat, New Mexico chile (red/green), and cheese. Because the sopapilla is a traditional bread within New Mexico, it is often referred to as New Mexico’s most beloved delicacy.

see also: lexicon/new-mexican-cuisine

Examples of Sopapilla / Frybread / Sopaipilla

Origin of Sopapillas / Frybread / Sopaipilla

The sopapilla frybread, spelt sopaipilla in Spanish, is a bread that was developed during the American territorial phase of New Mexico. The bread is a puffed fried flatbread created by Native Americans and Hispanos. The bread was created out of necessity, due to the meager rations of flour, lard, and salt given by the US government to Native America reservations and old New Mexican towns after the Treaty of Guadalupe was signed.

The word sopapilla usually refers to several unique doughnut like pastries from across Latin America. The New Mexican style sopapilla is often listed among other torta fritas (Spanish for ‘fried breads’).


First Known Use: 19th century

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