loofah noodles sponge gourd


For this week’s Luntiang Lunes (Meatless Monday) recipe, I chose to cook soup, something quick and simple and good to have on cold, rainy days. Patola and misua soup as an accompaniment to a meal can be prepared in less than an hour yet it completely satisfies.

This is a dish that I grew up with. My grandmother would cook it to pair with dry mains such as fried or grilled fish. It is similar to another, suam ebun, or eggdrop soup in taste and ease of cooking.

It is very versatile and can be meatless or customised for the more carnivorous. The main ingredients are not difficult to find. Patola (Luffa acutangula (L.) Roxb.) is a common vegetable found in most wet markets and groceries. Camalungge (malunggay – Moringa oleifera) and talinum (Talinum fruticosum) thrive even in the barest of backyards.

The strength of this soup is its subtlety. It can be paired with almost any main dish or salad without clashing flavours.

Patola with Misua Soup

1 medium patola, peeled and sliced into 1-inch cubes
4 tablespoons hibe (dried shrimps), soaked in warm water
2 cups moringa leaves
2 cups talinum leaves
a handful of misua
1 egg
1 small garlic bulb, crushed
2 small onions, finely sliced
1/2 teaspoon cooking oil
4-5 cups water
salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a pot, heat oil and fry garlic till soft. Do not wait for it to turn golden brown. Note: Not too much oil needed, just enough to coat the garlic and onions.
  2. Put in the onions and fry till translucent.
  3. Add the shrimps, reserving the soaking liquid, stir thoroughly and cover the pot for around two minutes.
  4. Put in the patola and 1/2 teaspoon salt, cover and sweat for two minutes. Pour in the soaking liquid of the shrimp and two cups of water and let boil.
  5. Place the moringa leaves into the pot and let boil. Then add the talinum leaves. Let boil.
  6. Put in the misua and stir continuously to keep the misua from sticking together. Boil for just a minute, then turn off heat.
  7. Beat the egg and dribble into the pot.
  8. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Variation: If you do not wish to go meatless, add half a cup of minced pork or chicken after the onions turn translucent. Crushed chicharon can be added too.

Makes around five bowls of soup.

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