Watch my cooking video “Misua Soup with Meatballs and Vegetables” on my YouTube channel.
My little sister was a picky eater when she was a toddler and the only thing she would eat was Misua Noodles Soup with Meatballs and Vegetables. My mom mustered all her kitchen creativity to make sure my sister ate well as a child. I watched as my parents tried to put a positive spin to meals without reprimands even if my little sister tested their patience. Of course, we both grew up and eventually cooked and enjoyed our own meals later on.
But this situation was not unique to our family. As a parent myself, I’ve had to sneak in vegetables into main dishes or do my best to make my sons eat meals first before dessert.
So this Misua Soup was what Mom made for my sister all the time. It was my sister’s favorite. I used to hear my dad lovingly cheer at the table “Look! We have Misua!” (say ‘mees-swah’). This was a sign that my little sister was probably sulking at the table and didn’t want to look at her food.
What makes Misua Soup with Meatballs and Vegetables so appealing to children? And for that matter the rest of the family? It is a simple soup with full flavors from a good soup stock. The thick, opaque yet thin, long wheat noodles transform into silky white smooth threads that wrap around giant globules of pork meatballs. I remember my mom flavored this soup meal with garlic and onions and a tinge of patis (the Filipino fish sauce). Finally, a whole beaten egg or two would be mixed into the clear broth. This made the entire meal in a soup bowl very enticing.
Traditionally in the Philippines, we added vegetable slices of patola (sponge gourd) to this misua soup. I don’t find patola in the Asian markets at this time of winter, so I add one of these: zucchini, chayote or “upo” (bottle gourd) slices if I can find them in the markets. Mix it all up and serve this soup meal piping hot.
You can’t possibly be a picky eater after a big bowl of misua!
Misua Noodles Soup with Meatballs and Vegetables
- 1 pound ground pork butt or use ground beef
- 1 whole onion chopped, divided, half for meatballs, rest for broth
- 4 whole eggs divided, use 2 for meatballs, rest for broth eggs
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt for meatballs
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper for meatballs
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic peeled, minced
- 2 Tablespoons patis Filipino fish sauce
- 8 to 10 cups obtain rice wash from water after washing rice organic chicken or beef broth or rice wash
- 4 ounces dried misua or Chinese Vermicelli noodles about 2 cups when cooked (from Asian markets)
- 1 whole zucchini peeled, sliced, (optional in place of patola, a Chinese gourd, also called sponge gourd)
- 1 teaspoon salt for soup stock
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper for soup stock freshly ground black pepper
- Prepare the meatballs: combine in a medium bowl the ground pork, chopped onion, soy sauce, 2 eggs, bread crumbs, flour, salt and black pepper. Mix and shape into 1-inch sized meatballs. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes to firm up till ready to add to broth.
- In a large heavy stock pot, over medium heat, add the cooking oil. When hot enough in about 2 to 3 minutes, saute the garlic and rest of the onion. Cook for 2 minutes or till onions are transparent. Add the patis (fish sauce) and soup broth or rice wash. Allow the broth to come to a boil then lower heat for a slow simmer.
- As the broth is simmering, drop the pork meatballs into the stock pot. Cook the meatballs for about 25 to 30 minutes or till thoroughly cooked (no more pink portion in the meat).
- Add two beaten eggs to the soup broth while stirring the liquid. Blend the eggs completely into the broth which will become a light yellow opaque liquid.
- Add the zucchini (or vegetable) slices to the soup mix. Then add the dried misua noodles to the broth with the meatballs. Stir it around. Let the zucchini cook and noodles soften for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper powder. Serve piping hot.
- Cook's comments: use ground beef instead of pork for meatballs if preferred. The noodles will expand and thicken when cooked. If reheating the soup, add more broth or water if the noodles absorb all the liquid.
- Ingredient notes: Traditionally in the Philippines, patola (sponge gourd; luffa or Chinese/Asian okra) is added to misua soup. Patola in not in season all the time here in America and often I can't find it in the Asian food stores, especially in the winter. So I use instead zucchini, bottle gourd (upo) or chayote (sayote) slices. Feel free to add vegetable slices which are in season.
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Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
Did you like this recipe? I have more classic recipes inspired by my late mother’s cooking in my popular cookbook: My Mother’s Philippine Recipes. If you’re learning how to cook Filipino food or a fan of Philippine cuisine, buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.