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.