Sotanghon at bola-bola soup is made of juicy meatballs, cellophane noodles, cabbage, and celery for a hearty and filling main or side dish. This Filipino-style noodle soup is a delicious way to warm up in cold weather and sure to be a family favorite.
When I make lumpiang shanghai, I usually make twice the meat filling. These Filipino-style spring rolls freeze well and are perfect for days when I am too pressed to prepare anything elaborate for lunch or when guests drop by impromptu.
But mostly, I keep the filling handy and ready in the freezer for other meal ideas. This sotanghon at bola-bola soup is only a matter of defrosting the meat mixture, shaping it into balls, and a quick twenty minutes on the stove. I get a delicious and satisfying meal to enjoy in no time.
- Ground chicken– ground pork, beef, or turkey are also good options. You can also add minced shrimp to boost flavor.
- Green onions, water chestnuts, and shredded carrots– adds color, texture, and extra nutrition. You can add or substitut chopped shitake mushrooms, parsley, or cilantro.
- Soy sauce– adds umami flavor
- Salt and pepper– season to taste
- The recipe uses napa cabbage and kinchay (Chinese celery), but you can also add other vegetables in season such as patola, upo or chicharo (snow peas).
- Make sure the water is boiling before adding the meatballs to keep from falling apart.
- You use atsuete /annatto to add color. Soak about 1 tablespoon atsuete seeds in about 1 cup warm water go extract color and then strain in a fine-mesh sieve. Discard seeds and add annatto water to the soup.
How to serve and store
- Serve the soup on its own or with puto or pandesal for a midday snack. It’s also delicious for lunch or dinner as a main or side dish with steamed rice and fried fish or meat.
- For best results, enjoy the soup freshly cooked as the sotanghon tends to absorb liquid and soften as it stands.
- To store leftovers, allow to cool completely and transfer in a container with a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate for up to 3 days. This noodle dish does not freeze well.
- To reheat, place in a saucepan, add more water and adjust seasonings as needed. Heat to an internal temperature of 165 F.
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 2 shallots, peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 6 cups water (or chicken broth)
- 4 ounces (about 2 coils) Sotanghon noodles
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups napa cabbage, chopped
- 1 cup kinchay (Chinese celery), finely chopped
For the Chicken Balls
- 1/4 pound ground chicken
- 1/4 cup green onions, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup water chestnuts, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
- 1/4 cup carrots, shredded
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Prepare the meatballs. In a bowl, combine ground chicken, green onions, water chestnuts, garlic, carrots, soy sauce, salt, and pepper. Stir until well distributed.
- Using a small scoop, portion meat mixture and shape into 1-inch balls. Set aside.
- In a pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add shallots and garlic and cook unitl softened.
- Add water and bring to a boil.
- Gently drop meatballs into boiling water and cook, skimming scum that floats on top, for about 3 to 5 minutes or until meat changes color.
- Lower heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until meat is fully cooked.
- Add noodles and stir to loosen. Cook for about 2 to 4 minutes or until translucent and softened.
- Add napa cabbage and kinchay and continue to cook for about 2 to 3 minutes or until cabbage is tender yet crisp.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.
“This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.”