This chicken soup with bottle gourd is a delicious, colorful, chunky and inexpensive dish that, served with bread or rice, can be the main entree in a meal. A vegetable brought to the Americas by Asian nomads, bottle gourd is also known as calabash and lauki. The chicken meat comes from packs of “chicken soup bones” — the bone-y backs of the chicken that are sold cheaply in groceries.
If, however, you have chicken bone broth (see tips for homemade chicken bone broth), you can use it and chicken fillets to make this soup. Just skip the first three items in the instructions section of the recipe.
- 1 kilo of chicken soup bones
- ½ head of garlic
- 1 whole onion
- 1 tbsp. of peppercorns
- 1 whole upo (bottle gourd), peeled, seeds scraped off then cut into 1-1/2-inch cubes
- ½ head of garlic, minced
- 1 onion, finely sliced
- 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 3 to 4 tbsps. of cooking oil
- patis (fish sauce)
- freshly ground pepper
- cilantro, to garnish
- Place the chicken pieces in a large pot, cover with water and bring to the boil. Remove scum as it rises. Add the garlic, onion and peppercorns (it is easier to remove scum when no peppercorns float in the liquid). Lower the heat, cover and simmer for an hour.
- Scoop out the chicken, cool and separate the meat from the bones.
- Strain the broth.
- Heat the cooking oil in a large pot. Saute the garlic, onion and tomatoes until they start to turn soft. Add the chicken meat and upo cubes. Pour in the broth. Season with patis and add a generous amount of freshly ground pepper. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the upo is done.
- Garnish with snipped cilantro (optional but highly recommended) and serve at once.