Misua (also spelled miswa or mee swa) is a thin Chinese noodle made from wheat. In Chinese and Chinese-influenced cultures, it is often cooked as a stir fry for special occasions especially on birthdays to symbolize long life. The best stir fried misua I have ever eaten was served at the birthday party of a Chinese businessman, a friend of Speedy’s. The dish was a specialty of the businessman’s mother who only prepared it for the birthdays of her three sons. On such occasions, the misua was the most-awaited dish. Not surprising because it was so very, very good. I have eaten in a lot — A LOT — of Chinese restaurants over the decades but nothing has ever come close to that homecooked stir fried misua.
In the Philippines, despite the Chinese influence that dates back to pre-Spanish colonial days, misua is a noodle associated with soup dishes. The almondigas (the spelling probably a localization of the Spanish albóndigas), for instance, is a soup that consists of meatballs and misua noodles.
This meatless misua soup which we had for dinner last night has broccoli and cauliflower to add texture, color and contrast. It is a very simple dish and, as with very simple dishes, the ingredients and the cooking process will not condone short cuts. Take your time allowing the aromatics to sweat to create a rich base for the soup. And use only the best quality broth.
Meatless misua soup with broccoli and cauliflower
- Heat the cooking oil in a pan.
- Throw in the onion and tomatoes. Stir. Cook over medium-low heat, covered, until softened.
- Add the garlic and ginger. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir. Cover and continue cooking for a few more minutes until the onion and tomato pieces are very soft.
- Pour in the broth. Bring to the boil.
- Add the broccoli and cauliflower. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Taste, adjust the seasonings, as needed.
- Drop in the misua. As soon as the broth starts to broil, count 30 seconds then turn off the heat and cover the pan. The misua will cook in the residual heat. It really isn’t a good idea to overcook misua.
- Taste the broth again as the noodles will have soaked up some of the salt. If needed, sprinkle in more salt and pepper.
- Garnish with toasted garlic bits and serve hot.