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
- 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.
- Add ground turkey meat and fish sauce. Continue to stir fry for another 3 minutes.
- 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).
- 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.