Almondigas or “bola-bola” soup is classic Filipino comfort food. It is a dish made of meatballs and misua with patola (sponge gourd) added most of the time.
This soup reminds me of our childhood. Mama would cook this soup every now and then. Especially when we just had meatballs and there are some leftovers. Not enough on their own for another meal, so this is the best way to reuse them to make a completely new dish. At that time, I thought she invented it herself! We just call it “Miswa-Bola-Bola” at home. Later on, I found out our neighbors do the same. But it is only recently that I learned it has a proper name, Almondigas.
This is also one of the first soup dishes I’ve learned to make when I was still a kid because it is so easy to cook and done in just a few minutes.
What is Almondigas Soup?
Filipinos love to eat almondigas soup, especially on rainy seasons, since it is very simple, economical and easy to make. You can cook it for less than 30 minutes, including the preparation time. Cooking almondigas soup follows two main processes: firstly, forming the meatballs, and then making the broth with misua. Others would cook the meatballs in the boiling water directly, while some, like myself, prefer to fry them first.
The meatballs, traditionally, are made with pork, but ground beef or chicken also works as good.
Misua is a Chinese thin, salted noodle made from wheat flour. It is high in fiber and other nutrients because of its wheat component. You can substitute misua with Japanese somen noodles since they are alike in texture and made of the same thing.
Patola, also known as ridge gourd, Chinese Okra or Luffa, is also rich in various nutrients such as calcium, iron, and potassium, which are good for your body.
So you see, Almondigas is a nutritious and hearty soup.
Almondigas vs. Albondigas?
Although there is no exact source which tells the origin of this soup, it is believed to be an adaptation of a Mexican meatball dish called “Albondigas” which means “meatballs” in Spanish.
The difference between Filipino Almondigas and Mexican Albondigas soup is that the latter uses tomatoes and other vegetables in addition to the meatballs and no noodles. While we Filipinos eat it with rice (what else!), they usually add the rice on the meatballs itself or in the soup.
Other Noodle Soups to Try:
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 egg
- 1/2 big yellow onion - chopped finely
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- oil - for frying
- 2 cloves garlic - minced
- 1/2 big yellow onion - chopped
- 6 cups water
- 1 medium patola - peeled and cut into slices
- 100 grams misua noodles
- 3 tablespoon fish sauce
- In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the meatballs and mix well. Scoop a spoonful and form a ball using the palm of your hands. Place the balls on a plate.
- In a pan, heat enough oil over medium heat and fry the meatballs until golden brown. remove the meatballs from the pan and transfer to a plate. Set aside.
- Take about 2 tablespoons of the oil and heat over medium heat in a pot. Saute garlic and onions until aromatic and limp.
- Pour in the water and bring to a boil. Add the patola slices and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the misua noodles and cook for another 2 minutes. Season with fish sauce. Add salt if needed.
- Transfer to a soup dish or bowl and serve while still hot.