What are cellophane noodles? Do you know what they are? It is a type of noodle made out of mung bean starch and is also known as mung bean threads, glass noodles, or mung bean vermicelli among other names. Filipinos call it sotanghon. These are one of my favorite noodles and my mom would often cook with sotanghon more than bihon (rice vermicelli). I guess I was jonesing for some sotanghon soup. It’s the Filipino version of chicken noodle soup, though there are multiple variations on chicken noodle soup in Filipino cuisine. Just replace the sotanghon with elbow macaroni and you have sopas! Or take out some of the veggies, use homemade pasta and you have miki nilad-dit, which is my dad’s specialty. Today is sotanghon day and even though the weather has gotten a bit warmer, I’m still wanting some soup. How about you? Heck, I don’t mind eating this in the heat of summer either! 😀 It’s just a comforting dish. I’ve added some turkey meatballs to make a two bird soup of Chicken Sotanghon Soup with Turkey Meatballs.
Here’s a close up of the noodles. They are fun to eat. Go ahead, slurp it if you desire!
For the meatballs (called bola-bola in Tagalog), I’ve just baked them (recipe at the bottom). It’s convenient that way. While you are cooking the soup, you can have these in the oven or make them ahead of time. Use turkey or any other ground meat. Bison or buffalo would be really good too! Or, replace the meatballs and chicken with tofu for a meatless version.
The soup starts with onion and garlic. Make sure to get the garlic a bit brown for flavor. Toasting garlic is something characteristic of Filipino cuisine. Then goes in the seasonings and cooked chicken. Throw in the shiitake mushrooms at this time too. Then add the broth + other seasonings. If you can’t find annatto (achiote), you can leave it out. It’s mostly for coloring. A seed that colors things with a lovely orange-reddish color. It has adds only a very slight peppery and nutty flavor to the dish. I like using annatto powder, though you can use the seeds if you want. Start with 1/2 teaspoon powder and increase the amount from there to the desired color.
Waiting to boil.
I just submerse the dry noodles into the liquid rather than pre-soaking them as in traditional recipes. They get softened in the hot liquid just as well. Let them soften. It will take only a few minutes.
After the noodles are softened, it’s time to add the meatballs to cook for a few minutes. Then add the veggies. You want the veggies to have a little crunch to them so don’t cook them long, just a minute or two.
Garnish with green onion and some toasted garlic. I didn’t top it with toasted garlic this time, but it does add a really good flavor to the dish. Try adding it sometime. You will notice a difference. I like my sotanghon soup packed with veggies, but you can use less if you want. Yum!
Chicken Sotanghon Soup with Turkey Meatballs
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 bouillon cube (chicken, vegetable, or beef is fine)
- 1-2 pounds cooked chicken, shredded or cut into bite-sized cubes
- 1-2 cups shiitake mushrooms (can use wood ear mushrooms or your favorite mushroom)
- 6-8 cups chicken stock (or vegetable/beef/pork stock)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons fish sauce/patis (optional)
- 1/2-1 teaspoon annatto (achiote) powder
- ~5 ounces sotanghon (mung bean noodles)
- Turkey meatballs (recipe follows)
- 1 cup celery, chopped
- 1 cup carrots, julienned
- 1 leek, julienned
- 1 cup cabbage, shredded
- 2 green onions, sliced + more for garnish
- toasted garlic, for garnish
In a large pot, sauté the onion and garlic on medium heat until softened and fragrant. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Keep stirring so that the garlic does not burn. It should be lightly browned. Mix in the bouillon and cooked chicken. Sauté for a couple of minutes and then add the mushrooms. Add the chicken stock, fish sauce, and annatto powder. Let it come to a boil.
Turn the heat to low and add the sotanghon, immersing it in the hot liquid. Let it cook until softened. Then add the meatballs, celery, carrots, and leeks. Cook for about a minute then add the cabbage and green onion. Turn off the heat and stir until all the veggies and meat are combined. Season with salt & pepper if needed. Serve with green onion and toasted garlic. Enjoy!
- 1 tablespoon butter or oil
- 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup plain bread crumbs (or gluten-free bread crumbs)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon tamari (or soy sauce)
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce (patis) or 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons mint, finely chopped
1 pound ground turkey
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a skillet, heat the butter on medium until melted. Add the chopped onions and garlic and cook until soft, about 3-5 minutes. Set aside and let it cool. In a large bowl, eggs, breadcrumbs, pepper, soy sauce, and fish sauce. Using your hands, mix in the ground turkey and mint. Make sure that it is thoroughly combined. Shape into meatballs slightly smaller than a ping pong ball. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes until browned.
- Chicken / Noodle Soup (chefsopinion.org)
- 3 Brilliant Ways to Dress up Chicken Noodle Soup (everydayfamily.com)
- Gluten Free Chicken Noodle Soup (glutenfreerecipebox.com)
- Chicken Noodle Soup is for Suckas! (gogingerbaby.wordpress.com)
- Ginger Chicken Meatballs with Mandarin Orange Sauce (foodforays.com)
- Turkey Meatball Soup (mexicraverecipes.com)