Filipinos surely love soup either on rainy days or even during hot seasons. Soup is almost as staple as rice that carinderias always offer it as free to attract customers. For this reason, let us learn how to cook the best Almondigas (meatballs) that surely you'll love.
Through this article, we will all be reading up about almondigas. Assuming that not all of you are familiar with the name of the recipe itself, let us allow ourselves to hear more about this dish, where it came from, also how to cook Almondigas with given tips and trivia to appreciate this recipe more.
More so, this recipe is a low-cost dish. The good thing about this is that it can be cooked using different cooking devices for more comfortable procedures and has a broad scope of varieties you can choose from, which improves the dish even more. Let's not waste some time and get it started now!
What is Albondigas
To begin with, what is Almondigas exactly?
Almondigas is a Filipino soup dish that contains meatballs and misua ( fine rice noodles ) as it's main ingredients. It is commonly known and called as "bola-bola" in the Philippines.
This meatball and noodle soup recipe does not have an exact origin where it came from and originated. But one thing is for sure: it could be an adaptation of a Mexican meatball dish called Albondigas that means "meatballs" in Spanish.
Despite the name confusion, the Filipino Almondigas is different from the Mexican Albondigas.
The latter uses tomatoes and other vegetables, which are not included in the former. Additionally, this Mexican Albondigas soup does not have noodles in its soup, making it a lot different from our Filipino Almondigas.
Moreover, as said earlier, it's not identified where this recipe came from because of the ingredients used in making this soup.
First is the meatballs, where it is called Albondigas in Spanish, and where they got the name Filipino Almondigas. Second is the rice noodle used, which is the misua. Misua is an excellent rice noodle that originated in China. Therefore, making it an incredible and unique combination from two different nations.
Though it is an adaptation of the Mexican Albondigas, it is entirely different from the dish itself. The broth of our Almondigas is clear, unlike that with the Mexican one, because it does not include tomatoes in the recipe's ingredients. Likewise, this recipe that we will be making is the simplest one you could ever find without the use of other vegetables but still has that delicious comfort food taste.
Ways to cook Almondigas
Cooking Almondigas soup follows two main processes: forming the meatballs and then making the soup with the rice noodles. You might think that it will cost you a lot of time to prepare this, but it's the opposite.
There are plenty of ways you can choose from when making your Almondigas that can do your cooking easily. We are glad to share these ways to choose from and be comfortable while cooking your future loved soup.
Instant pot Albondigas
Using the instant pot method of cooking soups is one of the best choices you can make. Rather than using stovetop cooking, the primary purpose of using this method is to infuse the flavors of the recipe and also allows the nutrients to stay in there for a long time.
Make sure that all the ingredients you will be using are all set and ready to make your cooking a bit faster.
The first thing to do is to set the tool in the saute' mode then put oil when it is already hot. Saute' sliced onion and garlic, then add water, salt, and pepper to taste while letting it boil.
Second, using a spoon or any scooping tool you have, scoop out one meatball at a time, and gently add them to the simmering soup. It is your choice whether you want the meatballs to be small or large. After that, turn off the saute' setting then press for the high option.
Lastly, when the cook cycle has finished, turn on the steam release but make sure that no soup spurts out the steam. Open the lid gently and stir the soup. When everything is done ready, you can now serve them while putting it in a bowl.
It is a useful tool when creating low-cost meals with lesser preparations for you and your family when using a crockpot. In cooking this recipe, you must use the slow cooker.
To cook using a crockpot, put the broth or water, seasoning it with some black pepper and salt. Add meatballs in the soup. If you want a healthy and enhanced flavor from the food, it is advised and better to cook slowly and longer. With this, the taste will be a lot better, and the soup will be flavorful than ever.
Garnish it with thinly sliced onion leeks to add flavor and color to the dish as well. Then it is ready to serve!
Slow cooker Albondigas
The slow cooker is the tool used in cooking the crockpot method.
In a bowl, combine all ingredients including sliced onion, garlic, egg and salt, and pepper to taste. Scoop meatballs and place it inside the slow cooker. Pour in water or broth, then cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours.
Note that the crock pots and slow cookers all heat differently depending on what type or brand you are using. Adjust cooking time and temperature based on guidelines and testing made by the model of slow cooker you are using.
After the long wait is over, your soup is now ready to eat. Just garnish it with thinly sliced onion leeks on top, then serve.
Pressure cooker Albondigas
This pressure cooker method of cooking is not that difficult as you may think it is.
To cook Almondigas using a pressure cooker, heat the oil in the pressure cooker over medium heat then saute' sliced onions and garlic until soft. Add water or broth in the mixture, then let it boil. Next is to drop the scooped meatballs into the boiling mixture.
Set it now to high pressure making sure that the cooker is closed and sealed. Stabilize the tool and cook for 10 minutes. Check the soup if it's ready then quick release.
Variations of Almondigas
Are you looking for something to consider even though you are on a strict diet? Worry not because this recipe has different variations you can choose from if you are the health-conscious type.
Keto Albondigas (low carb)
This keto Almondigas soup is so good you won't think of eating a healthier version of this recipe. Plus, it's pretty simple to prepare just like the traditional soup.
Instead of using ground pork, you can just use ground beef with beef broth to match and enhance the taste of the meat. Our soup has no potatoes and rice, making it lower in carbs than other Almondigas versions and recipes.
Another one is aside from using the traditional rice noodles, don't be hesitant to use other substitutes. You can replace it with shirataki noodles or zucchini noodles.
Shirataki noodles are Japanese noodles that are keto-friendly. These noodles are made from plant-based ingredients making it super low in carbs that contain no wheat and even gluten.
On the other hand, zucchini noodles are a delicious option made by low carbs strands of veggies. These are paleo and keto-friendly, which you can use in your next recipe.
Moreover, if you happen to have difficulties finding these kinds of noodles, you can make the recipe keto by removing the noodles in the list of ingredients.
You might not think of making this soup recipe a vegan one. But yes, it is possible! This version of our soup recipe is a lot different from the original. Simply because of the added vegetables in the list of the ingredients.
In making vegan Albondigas, ready your meatballs first. Unlike the original recipe, this has cooked white rice added when making the meatballs together with the ground beef, onion, spices, cilantro, garlic, bread crumbs, and vegan egg replacer. Mix all of the ingredients, then form and roll the mixture into small balls.
To help the meatballs hold their shape when placed in the broth, you can later freeze it for about 20 to 30 minutes. While waiting for your meatballs to chill for a couple of minutes, you can now prepare the broth. In a large pot, saute' sliced onions with the minced garlic in olive oil. Season them with oregano and cumin to add flavor then wait until it boils.
Once boiling, gently submerge your ready-made meatballs into the simmering broth for 15 minutes. Next is to add crushed tomatoes and chopped potatoes into the mixture then simmer for another 10 minutes. Add carrots, zucchini, cilantro, and sliced jalapeno (if you want to spice it up a bit), then season it with additional salt and pepper to taste.
Finally, when everything is complete, and the vegetables are all well, it is now ready to serve. Garnish it with cilantro and a squeeze of lemon.
The key for a gluten-free Almondigas recipe is in the meatballs. To keep meatballs gluten-free, you have to omit the use of flour or breadcrumbs. But if you still want your meatballs to be mushy, you can just replace it with a few gluten-free flour or gluten-free breadcrumbs. Just make sure anything you add is considered and labeled as gluten-free.
It's okay to make mistakes because it will lead us to gain knowledge and improve in different ways. You don't have to worry because we got you covered in these remedies that might help you when you happen to fail in cooking this recipe.
- If your soup tastes bland and lacks flavor, you can add pork cubes to the soup to enhance the soup's outcome more.
- Add more water if the soup becomes too salty. Make sure to taste your soup before you finish cooking to adjust everything that you think is wrong with it.
Almondigas soup initially has no vegetable added to it. But some add veggies to make it more delicious and nutritious both at the same time. Patola ( also known as luffa or the Chinese okra) can be added alongside the meatballs and noodles to make it a healthier option because of its numerous nutritional content, which is good for the body.
Additionally, the Filipino Almondigas is a lot different from the Mexican Albondigas. Did you know that in the Mexican version, they add rice into the meatball mixture? While in our rendition, there is no rice on it, instead, we Filipinos eat the soup with rice.
To improve your cooking of this wonderful soupy dish, try these noteworthy suggestions.
- If you want to make your meatballs steady and firm when you put it in the boiling broth mixture, you can freeze it first for some minutes to make it intact. Freezing can prevent your meatballs from breaking apart when dipped in the soup later on.
- Some also fry first the meatballs before putting it in the boiling soup. Frying first will also let your meatballs all firm and stable even when cooked in the hot soup.
- For a richer flavor, you can use bone broth instead of the regular pork broth.
- You are the main chef in doing this recipe. If you want added color, flavor, and texture in your dish, simply add grated carrots to the meatballs mixture. Carrots will bring your soup a more vibrant flavor too.
- If you want to level up your meatball flavor, add spearmint. It adds a bright flavor that is delicious to the meatballs.
Best Served With
The soup makes us feel like we're home. It just brings us comfort and makes our meal even brighter by allowing us to enjoy more of it. Here are some recommendations we think can be best served with our Albondigas soup.
- Fried fish - Almondigas with fried fish make it a balanced meal and a perfect combination. Taking a slurp of soup will give extra flavors and life to your food.
- Corn Bread- thinking of your next snack or merienda? Almondigas soup with any kind of bun will make you full and, at the same time, all satisfied.
- Fried Chicken- this dish is a favorite, most notably for children. Pairing it with the soup will let them enjoy the recipe a lot more because the crunchy chicken skin and flavorful goodness will make the right combination with our Almondigas soup. Try this combo the next time if your cousins or younger nieces and nephews come over for lunch.
- Breaded pork chops- anything done by frying is perfect for serving with a soup on the side. Breaded pork chops are also an excellent choice to complement the soup.
- Grilled liempo- this juicy, flavorful, and tasty grilled pork will be your next favorite match to our Almondigas soup.
- Rice - this soup recipe will still be the best even when pairing it with a hot bowl of rice. The meatballs in the soup will serve as your main meal, and the soup will make you feel better as you slurp and indulge with its goodness.
Generally speaking, this soup recipe is a simple yet delicious recipe with a lot of variations. Aside from these variations, there are many ways to learn how to cook Almondigas, where you can explore and find what's best for you and will let you live a hassle-free cooking experience.
With this, go and make your loved ones feel special and comforted with your homemade Almondigas soup. Make sure to enjoy the whole process to show in the outcome of your Almondigas soup. Happy eating!
For more delicious recipe, visit Eat Like Pinoy!
Best Albondigas (Ground Pork) Recipe
- 1 lb Ground Pork
- ½ teaspoon Salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 pc Fresh egg
- 2 pcs Onions medium size, chopped
- 1 tablespoon Cooking Oil
- ½ cup Misua
- 2 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon Flour
- 2 pcs Long Baguio Leek cut into ½-inch
- 5 cups Water
- In a bowl, combine ground pork and half of the chopped onions.
- Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon black pepper and ¼ teaspoon salt then add the egg. Stir well.
- Add the flour on the mixture. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a pot. Sauté garlic and onions until brown, then add 5 cups water.
- Add another ¼ teaspoon black pepper and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Get the ground pork mixture, scoop a small amount, and mold into a small ball.
- After molding, put the meatballs on the pan of boiling water, then add the misua over low heat. Cook for another 5 minutes.
- Then, add the baguio leeks and wait until cook.
- Serve while hot!