Tuesday 6 June 2006

caldo tlalpeño

Last night's dinner caused me to do some research on its name to find out where it came from.

Tlalpan is a municipality of the Mexican 'Distrito Federal': an independent self-governing area, separate from the rest of Mexico. The majority of Mexico City is located within the Federal District. The main indigenous language in Tlalpan was an uto-Aztecan language called Nahuatl, from which the word "tlalli" gave rise to Tlalpan's meaning "on the land".

This ancient borough is the source of a wonderful, light and sour soup which one could almost describe as Mexico's answer to tom yum.

The soup uses chipotle chillies, which for Australians are considerably hard to come by. My supplier is Fireworks Foods, an online store selling all things spicy, including seeds for rare chilli plants. Prices are very reasonable and delivery is swift.

For the uninitiated, chipotle are smoked jalapenos. The ones used in this recipe are those coming from a can with adobo sauce, so they're sweet, smoky and moist. You only use a few chillies in this recipe, so I freeze the remainder, individually wrapped, in a big freezer bag so I can access them in small portions in future.

We cook a vegetarian version, but traditionally this soup uses a rich chicken stock and chicken meat that has been fried then shredded. You can use this method if you prefer, or even add the chicken afterwards (which is what I usually do).

We were introduced to this soup by our wonderful friends: Mexican Robot and his honorary Mexican lady, Bicky.

Caldo Tlalpeño (Chipotle, Lime & Avocado Broth)
Vicky & Roberto's delicious recipe serves 3 main, 5 entrée
Ingredients1.6 litres rich vegetable stock
½ white onion, diced finely
1 carrot, cubed
400g can mixed beans (kidney, lima, chickpeas etc)
1-2 chipotle chillies in adobo sauce, depending on your taste
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Juice of 2 limes
1 avocado, cubed
2 corn tortillas (or flour)
2 tablespoons coriander, roughly chopped
Olive oil for frying
1. In a pot with a little oil, sauté garlic and onion until transparent.
2. Add stock and carrot and cook until carrot is tender (give or take 20 minutes).
3. Meanwhile, slice tortillas into thin strips. Fry in oil until crispy.
4. Add chilli and beans then cook until warmed through and tender.
5. In serving bowls divide the lime juice and avocado cubes. Top with soup then coriander. Pass tortilla croutons separately.
Note: traditionally the soup uses chicken stock and shredded chicken poached in the broth.


  1. ooo, the soup looks good. We had Mexican last week too with mole and it was so yummy. Thanks so much for dropping by my blog.

  2. Earlier this week it was unseasonably hot in Melbourne so I decided it was time to try out this recipe. As each new ingredient was added to the pot, i became curiouser and curiouser about the flavour! Mexican Tom Yum is right; so tangy and tasty. Yummo indeed. A big thank you to Anna, Vicky & Roberto...

  3. What an interesting soup!
    I love the avocado in it!

  4. very unusual to have avocado in soup...i must give it a go one day!

  5. ah! this brings back good memories of my time in mexico. i had a friend in tlalpan ... and anything with avocado became my good friend over there - they taste just as delicious warm!

  6. Anna,

    So, I looked up this particular recipe, because I read that you are pretty much a soup connoisseur, and this is one of your favorites.

    What perplexes me is that out of all the recipes included in this wonderful blog, you do not have the recipes for your other two favorite soups. Any chance of you ever posting recipes for tom yum goong (Thai) and by pho bo (Vietnamese)? Please say "Yes!" And why haven't you done so, already?

    1. i haven't made these yet, at least not from scratch.
      i suppose i will one day, but given there are so many amazing vietnamese and thai restaurants around sydney it just seemed easier and more rewarding to buy it :)


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