Try this delicious and hearty Sopas (Filipino Chicken Noodle Soup) recipe that will surely keep you warm and fit during the cold and rainy days!
The Philippines has only two seasons, the dry and rainy season. So just imagine, half of the year it is almost always raining. During this season and the colder months, people seek the warmth of hot soups. One of the all-time favorite is Sopas. It ticks all the boxes : warm, hearty, healthy and deliciously creamy. A sure thing to give you that warm soup belly feels anytime!
What is Sopas?
Sopas is a Filipino noodle soup that is cooked in a creamy broth with milk. It normally cooked with a medley of vegetables like carrots, bell pepper, celery, and cabbage. This is just basic, potatoes, green peas, and other vegetables can also be added. Another distinctive thing about it is the addition of slices of hotdog or Vienna sausage.
The meat used to flavor the broth is usually chicken. However, it is not uncommon to see others use ground pork or beef as an alternative. Others also add chicken gizzard and liver. As for the noodles, elbow macaroni is the popular choice but shell or small tube pasta like ziti are also normally used.
Sopas is truly comfort food. It keeps you warm during bad weather and also very nourishing when you are sick or even when you are feeling down, a good warm bowl of Sopas will just do you wonders.
How to cook Filipino Sopas?
There are different ways people prepare this hearty soup. This Sopas recipe was taught to me by my Mama and I've known some people do it the same way.
- Boil the chicken in water with a little salt until cooked. Shred or cut into chunks. Set stock aside.
- Heat oil or butter and saute onions and garlic.
- Add the noodle and shredded chicken. Let it cook until slightly browned. Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Add the carrots, celery, and bell pepper.
- Once the noodle is cooked, add the milk and sausage slices. Add more salt and pepper as needed.
- Add cabbage before turning off the stove and cover.
Additional Tips in cooking great Sopas
I usually cook the noodles in butter by adding it after sauteing the garlic and onions. I learned this from my mama. She said it is done (to make sure) they do not break when boiled overtime. Yes, you would like the noodles to be really soft as it also makes the soup extra thick and creamy. This is not like one of those watery soup.
I use chicken breasts sometimes because they are easy to shred. But they may be lacking in flavor compared to the boney parts. I prefer to use the legs because they are more flavorful. To add more flavor to the meat, what I do is I also cook it in butter with the garlic, onions, and noodles. This lets the meat seep the buttery flavor.
Others skip the part of boiling the chicken first and add it directly to the saute while still raw. I would not recommend it. You need the stock to make a flavorful sopas. Sure you can add chicken cubes but nothing beats the taste of the natural chicken stock.
I know others fry their hotdogs first before adding it to the soup at the end. I don't do this. Hotdogs and Vienna sausages are already cooked. Frying the hotdog also intensifies its flavor which could be overpowering the other flavors in the soup. I personally prefer Vienna sausage over hotdog.
As the noodles cook it will absorb some of the liquids so you may have to add more until it is cooked. The noodle will keep on absorbing the liquids even after cooking. If there are leftovers, just add water or milk and season then bring to simmer to warm.
If you can, use evaporated milk. It makes the soup richer and thicker than using fresh milk.
Cut your carrots, bell pepper and celery in small even size so they can cook evenly. You may also add them to the butter with the rest of the ingredients cooked at low heat to bring out more flavors.
Other hearty soups to try:
Chicken noodle soup (Sopas)
- 1 pound chicken breast or legs
- 6 cups water
- 2 cups macaroni - elbow, shell or straight
- 2 tablespoons butter - or margarine
- 1 medium onion - chopped
- 2 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 big bell pepper - diced
- 1 medium carrot - diced
- 1 stalk celery (optional) - chopped
- 12 fluid ounces (1 can) evaporated milk
- 1 cup Vienna sausage - sliced
- 2 cups cabbage - chopped
- salt or more
- Boil chicken breast in water with a little salt and pepper. Once cooked, remove from the stock and shred meat into smaller pieces using two forks.
- In a pot, sauté garlic and onion in butter until tender. Add the chicken meat and noodles and cook for 5 minutes stirring from time to time to avoid burning the noodles.
- Add the chicken stock to the pot and cover. Once it starts to boil add carrots, bell pepper, and celery and cover again.
- Once the noodle is cooked al dente, add the milk and sausages. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Let it simmer for a few more minutes until the noodles are completely cooked and soup starts to thicken. Add water or milk if soup becomes too thick.
- Add cabbage before turning off the stove and cover. Let the cabbage cook for at least 5 minutes from the residual heat. Transfer to serving bowls.
This article was originally published on March 14, 2014. It was updated on June 2017 to include new photos.