Sotanghon at Bola-Bola Soup Full Recipe Steps

Sotanghon at bola-bola soup made of juicy meatballs, cellophane noodles, cabbage, and celery. This Filipino-style noodle soup is hearty and delicious on its own or as a side dish.

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 have the filling handy and ready in the freezer to use 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.

Meatball ingredients

  • The meat mixture is made of ground chicken but ground pork, beef, or turkey are also great options. Minced shrimp can also be added to boost flavor.
  • It also includes chopped green onions for color and chopped water chestnuts and shredded carrots for texture. Try adding or substituting chopped shitake mushrooms, parsley or cilantro.
  • Season soy sauce for umami flavor, and salt and pepper to balance overall taste.

Cooking tips

  • 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

  • Serve the soup on its own or with puto or pandesal for 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,  serve 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 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.

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