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08 October 2012

Sponge Gourd Soup with Misua, Shrimp & Saffron

I can sometimes be mistaken as the autumn party pooper because of my reluctance to enter the season.  There is one thing that I absolutely hate about it.  It's the beginning without end of sicknesses at home.  With both kids in school, not only do they take home homeworks or dirty table linens that they use for snacking, but they also take home something that I'd rather interfere with using a big red stoplight before it steps inside our house.  If only I could

We are officially entering our third week of continued illnesses at home from the time it piggybacked on my son to shove us down on our beds.  My son has finally surpassed his fever, cold and cough fit but not without passing it on to his sister who in turn passed it to my husband and now, being the only remaining person at home, I had no choice but to catch it too.  And you know what?  Round two is already starting with my daughter.  You know how it is.  It's an endless chain. And it's not even that cold yet.  We passed all the cold seasons running to the pharmacies, hospitals and doctors' clinics that I am already anxious about this coming season. 

Being sick doesn't give me nor my husband the excuse to stay in bed the whole week and take up that rest that usually accompanies the medicines in sending away what we are down with.  We take turns with home and kid duties, no rules, just whoever is feeling better.  To give us a punch of power, I usually prepare some hot soup to accompany us in bed with some warm covers.  It's comforting like a soft, fuzzy blanket enveloping us with its warmth.  I usually prepare the Italian remedy soup (which I will be sharing soon) that is quite imperative on one's bed tray when someone is feeling sick.  Since I chanced upon a sponge gourd one day and I had long been craving for a bowl of sponge gourd soup after I saw Wok with Ray's picture of it, there was no better time to prepare something soothing and warm that I am familiar with that I used to have in my parents' house.

This soup comes in different versions in every home.  You can add diced pork, small meatballs made with pork & minced shrimp, shredded chicken and a whole lot of other ingredients you feel like mixing.  The important thing is, you like it.  I grew up with a different version from this one I made.  This recipe has a new home now and I adapted it to how I would like it to be.

It's a new week again.  Have a good one!

Sponge Gourd Soup with Misua, Shrimp & Saffron

Serves 2
  • 1 medium sponge gourd, peeled and make round slices
  • 6 - 8 pcs. medium shrimp, shelled and deveined but leaving the heads on
  • 50 g. or just a handful of misua (also called miswa or Chinese wheat flour vermicelli)
  • 1 small onion - diced small
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 4 small tomatoes, quartered 
  • chives 
  • pinch of saffron threads (optional)
  • salt & pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups water
  1. Warm up extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan with tall sides.  When the oil is hot, saute' garlic, onion and tomatoes for about 3 minutes.  Discard garlic when it turns golden. 
  2. Add shrimp.  Toast for a minute.  
  3. Add  water, noodles, saffron threads and sponge gourd.
  4. Let the water boil.  You can also adjust the amount of water.
  5. Season with salt and pepper. 
  6. Discard shrimp heads or leave a couple for garnishing.
  7. Serve hot.


    1. Perfect for soothing a cold. Hope your household feels better soon!

      1. Thanks Michelle! Still dealing with my daughter's fever but everything's great!

    2. I hope your family is feeling better! Loved the pictures you shared today of them visiting with the animals - so cute! This soup is a beautiful way to soothe the colds of the season.

      1. There's still something going around the family but with proper rest & medicines, I hope things will get better. The animal farm was a nice break for them. Thanks!

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    4. I've never heard of sponge gourd but have seen it around food bloggers' site! Love misua!!! I should make this at home, too!

      I totally know what you are talking about re: sickness! We've been playing merry-go-round with the flu as well! Argh! I HATE being sick coz I feel like I have to work extra extra hard just to get up from the bed. I'm feeling much better now, but 2 weeks ago - for about 10 days - I felt horrible. Just horrible! I don't like this season for that reason! I thought it was only here in Canada that this happens because of the severe weather changes, but apparently, you guys in Italy get it too! Hope you feel guys feel better soon, all of you!

      1. Our merry-go-round sickness seems to be coming to a halt for the meantime. It is awful, isn't it? Especially when we have to stand up and go back to normal chores with a temp that's making us weak. Oh well. It's quite normal here. We just have to be strong. Hope you're feeling well!

    5. Love sponge gourd and how it absorbs the essence of the soup, in this case soup with super shrimp flavors.

      Hope everyone gets better soon with such warm tasty soups.

      1. I don't use sponge gourd so much and I just realized how good it is with this soup. There is another kind of gourd I am accustomed to for soups. Thanks, we are all up finally!

    6. I usually cook sponge gourd in a tomato-base soup and love it lots.

      Hope everyone gets better with this dish that stands beautifully as a meal. too.

    7. Poor thing. Are you alright? I'm just crossing my fingers not to get sick again. Once someone in the family gets sick, it takes nearly a month for everyone to get better. It's just ridiculous. At least it seems like you are eating very well with good nutritions (thanks to a wonderful chef = you). Take good rest while you can. Moms know we cannot drop everything and stay in bed... take good care!

      1. As of writing, we are all in good health. My daughter just finished with her fever & cold and it seems that no one caught it again. I'm crossing my fingers you don't get sick too Nami. Thanks!


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