Saturday, March 28, 2015

Misua Soup with Meatballs, California style


Blogger’s Note: Apologies for the long absence. I’ve been meaning to write this for a while now but my intermediate hula classes, some travel, and life was taking up most of my time. However, I am determined… yes, determined to write my soup post before the weather become warmer. So here goes…

Misua soup serving
I finally found a blog-worthy recipe and had time to write! Hooray! It was about time since the weather is getting warmer and I still want to write about soup. I feel that my year needs a soup post or two.

I was finally able to make a successful Maddification of one of my favorite soups. I actually saved this one for last because I thought this would be the easiest (and I obviously overestimated my cooking abilities). I really should have started with this.

I found a really good base in PinoyCookingRecipes.com for Misua Soup with Meatballs. Misua are very delicate wheat noodles used in the Philippines mostly for soup. You can find these in Asian grocery stores. There really is no good substitute for misua in our regular grocery stores, unless you find one with an extensive Asian section. You may be able to substitute pho noodles, but its not quite the same.

The soup contains pork-based meatballs and noodles: fairly straight forward. However, part of my goals was to make misua soup healthier. The base recipe has very little veggies and of course, I wanted to add nice veggies in it. The misua that my grandmother used to make usually has patola but I could not find it here in California (in spite of the huge Filipino community). I could not even find it in the Filipino store. Also, when I lookup what patola is, the translation is zucchini. I don’t think that is correct… the consistency is not the same. Even though it’s back in season, I refuse to add zucchini. I feel that it is a cop out.

meatball mixBecause of my dilemma, I decided to healtify the meatballs instead. Mushrooms were the most obvious choice to add because since they have a consistency similar to meat. It's filled with Vitamin D and we can always use more of that. I chose some nice portabella mushrooms to add to the pork.

Looking at the fridge, I was inspired to add kale. It would give the meatballs an additional nutritional boost and texture. It would not be made in California without kale, right?

The last unintended upgrade was to use shallots instead of onions. We thought we had onions, but did not find it. By using shallots, we have more antioxidants. iron and potassium. They also have a milder flavor than onions.

Here’s what I have. As always, let me know what you think.


Misua soup with Meatballs, California-style

Ingredients

Meatballs:
  • 3/4 lb of ground pork
  • About 1 cup of kale, minced
  • 1/4 cup portabella mushrooms, minced
  • 1/4 cup scallions, minced
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • flour for dredging
  • cooking oil for frying 

Noodles, broth and garnish:
  • 3 cups of water
  • 100 grams misua noodles (Half the package)
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce
  • green onions, sliced for garnish


Directions: 
  1. Combine pork, kale and mushrooms, and 1/8 cup of the shallots and eggs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Shape into 2" balls and roll in flour.
  3. Fry until brown. Set aside the meatballs. 
  4. Remove excess oil from the pan. Leave at least 1 Tbsp of cooking oil.
  5. Saute garlic and remaining onion. 
  6. Add the water and let it boil.
  7. Add the fried meatballs, fish sauce and misua noodles.
  8. Cook for until noodles are soft (about 5 minutes). 
  9. Serve hot and garnish with green onions, and enjoy! 


Verdict

I really love this soup. Even with the Maddifications, the original flavor, I think, was not really sacrificed. It still reminded me of the misua soup that my grandmother made. The fact that it is healthier is a big bonus! Maybe I can add zucchini next time… in the meatballs.

The green onions also added a good layer of flavor. But perhaps because of my exposure to Vietnamese soups, I added some lime and yes, Sriracha. That took it up another notch!

One tip though: Because misua is extremely delicate, I would suggest only cooking the noodles that you will be enjoying. When stored, the noodles do not maintain the same consistency and can be a bit (ahem) unappetizing. I think this explains why my grandma kept the broth and meatballs in the refrigerator... and why some of the meatballs disappeared (Hey, I also had several cousins living with us).


Hope you try this and enjoy.


P.S. I did the meaty part of the writing in the Philippines while I was visiting my Dad. I had more time then, because we spent a lot of time just hanging out at home. Perhaps, I was inspired... even though I was just writing on my smart phone.