If you’re wondering what the connection is between the Philippines and Mexico, two words — galleon trade. From 1565 to 1815, Spanish ships linked two of its colonies — Mexico and the Philippines. Goods were imported and exported, and the two cultures rubbed elbows with each other.
Unlike Mexican albondigas, the meatballs in Filipino almondigas contain no rice. But rice is present in the soup albeit in another form. Misua, fine salted wheat noodles that originated in China, is added to the soup toward the end of cooking.
And unlike Mexican albondigas, the broth of Filipino almondigas is clear because tomatoes are not included among the ingredients.
This is an old recipe from my grandmother — with a few personal tweaks.
First, bone broth. My grandmother used plain water as a base for the soup and relied heavily on the spice base and the flavors in the meatballs that find their way into the liquid. I use bone broth for my almondigas for a richer flavor.
Second, I added grated carrot to the meatballs for more flavor, texture and color.
Apart from those two, it’s still my grandmother’s almondigas.
For the meatballs
- ½ kilo ground pork
- ¼ cup grated carrot
- ¼ cup grated onion
- 1 teaspoon grated garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 small egg lightly beaten
- Mix together all the ingredients for the meat balls. Form into balls about two inches in diameter.
- Heat the cooking oil in a frying pan.
- Fry the meatballs in hot oil, rolling the balls around in oil to brown evenly. Once lightly browned, remove from the wok or skillet and drain on paper towels.
- Heat a sauce pan or casserole. Transfer a tablespoon of cooking oil from the frying pan.
- Saute the garlic and onion until the onion is lightly browned.
- Pour in the broth. Bring to a boil.
- Add the meat balls. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for ten minutes.
- Taste and add fish sauce and pepper, as needed.
- Off the heat, add the misua and cover for another five minutes.
- Transfer to a soup tureen and top with sliced scallions. Serve hot.