Sopa de Lima: A Mayan Delight
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A robust soup that has been eaten since Mayan times. It has a secret ingredient that makes the soup as delicious as it is. Easy to prepare, healthy, and downright delicious.
Recipe type: soup, appetizer, main, entree
Cuisine: Yucatecan, Mayan, Mexican
Serves: 4-6 servings
  • !Broth Ingredients:
  • 2 large skinless bone-inn chicken breast (OR one turkey breast)
  • chicken wings and tips that I save (you can use any other bone-in meat pieces)
  • 2 litres or 8.5 cups of water
  • halve a small purple onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and bruised
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • a large pinch of freshly ground black peppercorns
  • half a teaspoon of dried Mexican oregano
  • !Soup Ingredients:
  • 6-8 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips
  • 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 Mexican limas, three juiced and one sliced (or substitute with Mexican limes)*
  • 2-3 Xcatic chiles**, seeds and veins removed and finely chopped (or substitute with banana, or wax, or hungarian yellow pepper)
  • half a small purple onion, finely diced
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and cubed
  • half a teaspoon of fine sea salt, adjust to taste
  • large pinch of ground black pepper
  • large pinch of Mexican oregano
  • about five sprigs of fresh cilantro
  • chicken broth from step 1
  • shredded chicken breast
  • grilled habanero chilies, to serve and optional
  1. Place the water, chicken meat and rest of "Broth Ingredients" into a large pot. Over medium heat, leave to simmer until the chicken breasts are cooked through and fall apart easily. While the broth is simmering cook the tortilla strips. Either place them on a baking sheet and bake in the oven until golden brown and crispy; Or you could also fry them in a little bit of oil until golden and crispy.
  2. Once the chicken is cooked through we need to separate it from the broth -- but we'll save the broth! Place a colander in a new pot (about the same size as you used for boiling) and drain the broth into the new pot. Set the broth aside, then carefully separate the chicken meat from the other ingredients and set it aside to cool.
  3. While we wait for the chicken to cool prepare the vegetables and ingredients from the “Soup Ingredients” list. Then in a clean and large pot heat the olive oil; Once hot add the chopped chile and diced onion and sauté until they begin to soften. Next add the tomatoes and sauté until they are soft. Add a pinch of sea salt, black pepper, oregano, cilantro, and gently pour in the broth. Cover and allow the soup to simmer.
  4. While the soup is simmering juice 3 limas or limas and slice the fourth into thin rounds, set aside. Now shred the chicken breasts and remove any meat from the wings or any other bone-in meat pieces you used. Pour the lime juice into the pot, then add the shredded chicken, cover and continue to simmer for another ten minutes. Give the soup a taste and if needed adjust the salt or lime juice, if necessary.
To Serve:
  1. This soup must be served straightaway after plating because the tortilla strips will become soggy. Place a little bit of the tortilla strips into the centre of a bowl, ladle some soup into the bowl, top with more tortilla strips, slices of lime, and if desired the grilled habanero. Enjoy!
I recommend that you make your own broth. You could use store-bought broth, but you’ll still have to have the cooked chicken meat for the soup.

*The limas are sweet with a tiny sourness. If you can’t find them simply use limes.

** Xcatic chiles are unlikely that you’ll find outside of the Yucatan Peninsula. You can substitute with any of the suggested chiles in the recipe.

Some recipes will tell you to use canned tomatoes, but since we don’t use canned tomatoes in Mexico, and also because they will give the soup a different flavour, I suggest you stick with fresh red tomatoes.
Recipe by Spicie Foodie ™ at