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 is 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- add color, texture, and extra nutrition. You can add or substitute chopped shitake mushrooms, parsley, or cilantro.
- Soy sauce- adds umami flavor.
- Salt and pepper- enhances flavor and adds zing
Vegetables for the soup
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 can use atsuete /annatto to add color, if desired. 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 to 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
- ¼ pound ground chicken
- ¼ cup green onions, finely chopped
- ¼ cup water chestnuts, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
- ¼ cup carrots, shredded
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ 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.”