Bottle Gourd and Flour Vermicelli Soup (Upo sa Miswa)


After I posted that I seldom cook Filipino foods, the owner of the only Asian store in South Lake Tahoe (Art of The Asian Store)  told me that I won their monthly raffle.  I actually won months ago but I wasn’t in town so he couldn’t give me my prize. And it was really nice of him to give it to me now. What did I get? A basketful of fresh produce and other ingredients! I got bottle gourd (upo), chili pepper leaves, green papaya, flour vermicelli (miswa), a big jar of salabat (ginger brew), ube jam, ginger, okra, string beans, squash, bittermelon and a jar of shrimp paste (bagoong).  I had to put these wonderful produce to good use so I will be posting Filipino dishes/recipes (tweaked, of course!) in the next few days.  Wow! I feel like an Iron Chef tasked to come up with amazing dishes with these mystery ingredients!

I had to make something my husband can eat so I will start with a simple soup recipe using bottle gourd and flour vermicelli.  Bottle gourd or UPO is a very common ingredient in the Philippines and like its cousin spounge gourd or PATOLA, is usually sauteed with meat or seafood or made into a soupy dish by adding flour vermicelli.

Here is my version, spiked with chili pepper and using ground turkey meat.


  • 1 bottle gourd or UPO, peeled and diced into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup ground turkey meat
  • 2 tbs oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tbs fish sauce
  • 3 pieces Thai bird chilis, sliced
  • 1/2 cup flour vermicelli (miswa), crushed
  • 2 cups chicken broth or water
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a medium hot wok or sauce pan, saute onions and garlic in oil until onions are soft.  Add tomatoes and thai bird chilis. Continue cooking for 3 minutes.
  2. Add ground turkey meat and fish sauce. Continue to stir fry for another 3 minutes.
  3. Add bottle gourd and saute for 2 minutes. Add chicken broth or water. Cook until boiling then add crushed vermicelli. Reduce heat to low then simmer  until bottle gourd is cooked (soft but not mushy).
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve hot by itself or with steamed rice.

Notes: Flour vermicelli will reduce the liquid significantly so add water or broth as needed until you get a soupy consistency.


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» Elyse said: { Mar 15, 2009 - 08:03 }

Congrats on your win! Those ingredients sound fabulous, as does this soup. Love the way you spruced it up!

» Tita Beng said: { Mar 16, 2009 - 05:03 }

Congrats! Nice, useful prizes huh!

» lisaiscooking said: { Mar 19, 2009 - 10:03 }

How fun to win so much great stuff! Your soup looks fantastic!

» Tangled Noodle said: { Mar 22, 2009 - 10:03 }

What a great prize and this dish made with those some of those winnings is wonderful! I

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