My Lola’s Almondigas

I have childhood memories of Sunday lunches after church services at both my paternal and maternal grandparents house. We would alternate Sundays between those two houses since both live in the same town. I would always get excited when my maternal Lola (Grandmother) would serve her almondigas. Filipino almodigas is just meatball soup with miswa. My Lola however adds minced shrimp in her meatballs which she says adds more flavor. She doesn’t stop there, she uses the shrimp heads and shells to make stock for the soup.

Almondigas is a favorite of my girls, but I would always omit the shrimp in my recipe even if my lola and mom would insists it’s not the same. I guess I was just being lazy and refuse to do the the extra steps. Last night, I made the dish exactly how my Lola and mom makes it and the shrimps indeed make a lot of difference.

This recipe serves two. For the meatballs, place the following in a bowl: 1/2 lb. ground pork, 1/4 lb. shrimp, 1/2 tsp. salt. 1/2 tsp. pepper, 1 egg. Mix well until well combined and form into balls, set aside.

For the stock, saute in a little bit of oil the shrimp heads and shells until it turns pink. Then add 2 cups water and let this boil for a couple of minutes. You can add aromatics and vegetables but I find this unnecessary. Strain and set aside. What my lola would do is just place the heads and shells in a blender add some water and let this whiz for a few seconds. She would then strain this and pour the shrimp juice straight to the pot.

To make, get a medium sized pot and sauté in a little oil 2 cloves finely minced garlic and 1 small chopped onion. Let this cook until aromatic and onions are soft and transluscent. Add your shrimp stock and let this come to a boil (you can add more water if needed). Then gently place your meatballs one at a time in the pot. Add one piece cubed sayote (Chayote) cover and lower heat. Cook until veggies are done and the meatballs float to the top. Skim your stock for impurities or scum. Finally, add some diced medium firm tofu, let this cook until just heated through then add one bundle miswa. Stir for a few seconds then remove from heat. Ladle into bowls and serve hot.

P.S. you can totally omit the tofu and sayote, I just added it for texture and as my own spin on almondigas.

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