Sopa de Lima: Just the Thing for a Nasty Cold

A variation on “Sopa de Lima”, a Yucatecan recipe from my battered copy of “The Cuisines of Mexico”, by Diana Kennedy. (I added avocados and used coconut oil instead of lard, which gave the soup a pleasant tinge of the Caribbean.) In addition to fried tortillas, the bowl is loaded with fortifying ingredients: chicken, chiles, onion, and ten cloves of roasted garlic, all floating in a clear and spicy chicken broth. Top it with lime juice and you have a perfect cure for the common cold. Unfortunately, I have the impression that the cold I’m suffering from is the puta madre of all common colds…Perhaps another dose in order!

5 Responses to “Sopa de Lima: Just the Thing for a Nasty Cold”

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  1. -El Codo- says:

    In Chiapas I was gently but firmly urged by a friend’s aunt to treat “la gripe” by the following regimen.

    4 large bulbs of garlic. Not cloves. Bulbs.

    1 Tomato

    1 heaping teaspoon of maggi or other chicken broth powder

    2 limones


    Mince the garlic (It’s a lot of work!)
    Slice the tomato into wedges
    Put about 2 liters of water into a pot. Add the garlic. All of it! Then the tomato, Add the maggi.
    Boil it for 20 minutes
    Then and only then squeeze the juice of 2 limones into the soup


    Run a hot bath. Pretty danged warm, and be prepared to add hot water to keep it warm.
    Sip as much of the hot soup as you can hold. A liter is a lot but I try remember this is medicine!
    Ease into the hot bath. Up to your neck if possible.
    Xavier’s tia said to remain in the warm water until fingertips start to pucker. You are supposed to start sweating. Dripping sopping sweating of your had.
    Emerge, towel off, and go jump in bed under a lot of blankets.
    More sweating. La tia swore up and down that was part of the secret cure.
    My opinion: That mega dose of garlic permeates lymph glands, every nanometer of the sinus system and inner ear. Every pore in the body. It flushes the intestines, even tear ducts! When you wake up, sip the now room temperature garlic flush from a glass on bedside night table.

    CARAMBA! It works! Nothing else has ever touched one of my infamous “colds”. They laugh at teaspoons of vitamin C, zinc lozenges, even sweat baths. But the fully opened pores and mega garlic seems to overwhelm the dirty nasty little virus @#$%^&!

    A downside is you won’t be too popular socially for a day or so.

  2. Maybemayhem says:

    If I fail at being an starving architect and have to resort to my backup plan of becoming a rich, obnoxious rock star, I am totally hiring you as my personal chef. -Spaz

    • churpa says:

      SWEET! I will devise fabulous concoctions and serve them to you poolside as you recline in a spangled outfit. Then of course, I will eat half. Thanks for commenting, by the way.

  3. Zeke says:


    I’m SO hungry now!

    We make a variant of this, but add cheese (yes, chedder – don’t shoot! Tillamook sharp, when we could get it, which you can’t here in Berlin), which makes the soup even richer.

    Our version is essentially:

    * chicken – white or dark, or both. You’ll have trouble getting the right flavor unless you use some dark, and you’re better off starting with chicken on the bone.
    * 1 onion, chopped
    * garlic to taste
    * 1 avocado (we use about half an avocado per serving)
    * 1-2 juicy limes. If they aren’t juicy, you might want more.
    * chili powder/chilies
    * baked/fried tortillas.

    Sautee the onion and garlic lightly. Add the chicken and water to cover. Bring to a boil, add the chilies/chili powder, then simmer on low until the broth thickens and begins to taste richer. I often add a bit of oregano here, and sometimes a bit of cumin.

    When the broth seems rich enough, remove the chicken and shred it, then return it to the soup, and simmer as long as your stomach can stand waiting.

    Chop up the avocado, squeeze the limes, and prepare serving bowls of crispy tortilla pieces, shredded cheese and chunks of avocado. Pour the soup over that, then add lime to taste. I like lots of lime, but not everyone wants their soup to bite back.