A meatball and noodle soup, it is quite probable that the Filipino almondigas is an adaptation of the Mexican meatball soup called albondigas.
In Spanish, albondigas means meatballs. The meatballs is made with ground meat and rice. The broth is reddish because of the addition of tomatoes or tomato sauce.
The meatballs in Filipino almondigas contain no rice. Surprisingly, rice is present in the soup albeit in another form. Misua, fine rice noodles that originated in China, is added to the soup toward the end of cooking. Unlike Mexican albondigas, the broth of Filipino almondigas is clear because tomatoes are not included in 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
- Mix together all the ingredients for the meat balls, except the flour. Form into balls about 2 inches in diameter.
- Heat a wok or skillet. Pour in the cooking oil until it starts to smoke. Roll each meat ball in flour and fry 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 large saucepan or casserole. Transfer 1 tbsp. of cooking oil from the skillet or wok.
- Saute the garlic and onion until the onion is soft.
- Pour in the broth. Bring to a boil.
- Add the meat balls. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Adjust seasonings, as needed. Turn off the heat.
- Add the misua and cover for another 5 minutes.
- Transfer to a soup tureen and top with sliced scallions. Serve hot.
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