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Musings. Family. Food. Stories. Cooking. Recipes. Eating. A recipe journal. From simple Filipino dishes to challenging recipes and exciting gastronomical failures. This is for my girls to look back on for comfort, memories, laughs, love and lots of food!

Monday, September 03, 2012

Almondigas - Filipino meat ball soup with sponge gourd (loofa sponge)

Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie. - Jim Davis 

Let me introduce you to a Filipino dish called 'almondigas' in Tagalog.  Translated it is simply meatball soup, cooked with some vegetables and flour vermicelli noodles.  This is just one of the many dishes influenced by the Spanish occupation in the Philippines. This is very similar to the Spanish/Mexican 'albondigas' which is of the base ingredients - meatballs in soup.  Like most Filipino dishes, this dish is honest and very pedestrian. It is home-cooking-comfort-food-in-a-bowl.

Compared to the Spanish/Mexican 'albondigas', the use of the vegetable sponge gourd (patola) in the Filipino version can be attributed to the abundance of this warm climate vine plant.  They are fast growing and can grow fruit for a long period.  These green zucchini like vegetables are a usual fare in local farmer's markets around the country.  The use of other vegetables can make this dish shine. like its Spanish/Mexican counterpart (here's one from Simply Recipes, and another with chipotle from the Food Network and another version with the addition of rice).   But as it strikes close to home, we make this dish the way we knew it - with good old patola

This is my first post for the Kulinary Cooking Club - a group started by Filipino foodies who are eager and passionate about Filipino culture and the colourful cuisine. Supposedly for August (with the theme Pang Habang Buhay) but late.  But I'm posting this anyway as it is a true Filipino dish that's easy to make.  And healthy too.  


 250g pork mince

2 medium sized onion, finely diced (separate each diced onion in a small bowl)

2 cloves garlic, finely diced

1 egg

1 tablespoon flour

salt and pepper to season

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 piece sponge gourd, washed peeled and cut

5 cups water or vegetable stock

100g of amoy flour vermicelli noodles (I've used 1/3 of this pack)

3 tablespoons fish sauce

spring onions, chopped for garnish

These are available from any of your local Asian grocery

In a large bowl, combine the minced pork, 1 finely diced onion, garlic, egg and flour. Mix to combine.  Form into golf-ball sized meat balls (bigger if you prefer, totally up to you). Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Heat a medium sized pot, add vegetable oil then saute the remaining onion until soft.

Add the water or stock, and bring to a boil.

Add the the meatballs into the stock/broth, bring to a boil then turn heat down to medium and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Add the sponge gourd pieces and cook for 5 minutes.  They will become soft.

Add in the flour vermicelli noodles and cook while stirring for another 2 minutes.  As these are made of flour, this will somehow thicken the sauce a little bit.

Add the fish sauce to suit your taste.

Turn off heat. Serve in bowls and garnish with spring onions.  You can also add some toasted garlic or shallots to add some texture.


Now this is a true pedestrian Filipino dish. Simple. No fancy-schmancy going on here.  Just good comfort food you'd want to eat anytime of the day, any season.  It warms you up inside and out.  And did I tell you the health benefits of the sponge gourd?  You'd be amazed.  Check it out here.  Well I was, anyway.  

1 comment:

  1. Yumm. I love comforting home made soups like this one although I don't think I ever tried almondigas when I was younger - my Mum was more of a sinigang kind of lady. Will have to give it a try! x



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