Special thanks to Mommy Dylebing 🙂 for being my teacher
Marrying into a Filipino-Chinese family was a life-changer to me. Since childhood, I enjoyed learning about different cultures in Asia and now that I am older, food culture really catches my interest. One thing me and my husband promised to one another is that after getting married, we will continue one special Filipino-Chinese tradition he grew up with. That is, having a yearly traditional chinese birthday noodles called “misua.”
From day one of marriage we have always made this soup to traditionally serve first thing in the morning for our birthday celebrant in the family.
What does having misua soup or cha misua mean to the Chinese? From what I read and what I learned from my mother-in-law, having this soup symbolizes several things – The long noodles symbolizes longevity. It is said that for a traditional Chinese birthday, serving long noodles represent many more years to live. It is a Chinese superstition that breaking or cutting the noodle will bring bad luck so every time we make this soup, the utmost care is observed to make sure the noodles are cooked well without breaking them.
Chicken to Chinese represents happiness, prosperity and if served whole, it means family reunion or togetherness of the family. Eggs symbolizes fertility or fruitfulness. And so on and so forth…
Now, I want to teach my viewers how to make this traditional Chinese birthday noodles. I made two types of birthday noodles. First is the Misua birthday soup and the next is the Cha/Tsa Misua or the stir-fried noodles which my husband always calls “tuyong misua” (dry misua) in Filipino.
MISUA SOUP INGREDIENTS:
1 whole chicken, boiled for 30-45 minutes (no salt)
Hard boiled eggs (one per person), peeled and served whole
Minced garlic, browned in oil with a little salt
Chopped Green onions, for garnishing
Shred shards of chicken (himay in Tagalog or pull by hand) then set aside. Reboil the chicken stock used to boil the chicken making sure to skim off any foam. Upon boiling, add the shredded chicken meat and misua. No need to put salt as the misua noodles are already salted. Cook for 3-5 minutes depending on how you want your noodles done. Serve in a bowl and top with one whole hard-boiled egg, sautéed brown garlic and chopped green onions.
INGREDIENTS FOR TSA/CHA MISUA
1 whole Chicken Breast, sliced thinly
5-10 pieces of medium-sized Shrimp, deveined and sliced in half
1/2 cup of good quality fish balls or scallops, sliced
Small piece of Pork, tenderloin or any tender part (boiled and sliced thinly)
Chinese long-life birthday noodles
4 large Eggs
1 bunch of sliced green onions, for garnishing
5-10 pieces dried Shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated with warm water for 1-2 hours
1/2 cup shredded Cabbage
1/2 cup sliced Crimini mushrooms
1/2 cup julliened Carrots
1/2 cup threaded and sliced Sugar snap peas
3/4 cup raw Peanuts with skin
1 bunch of fresh Cilantro, washed and roughly chopped for garnishing
Lots of Shallots, for garnishing
Rice cooking wine
Salt and pepper to taste
First thing I do is I always roast the peanuts on a hot frying pan. It is done when the aroma of freshly roasted nuts, about 3-5 minutes of medium heat is fragrant in the kitchen. With the same pan, using 2 beaten eggs, make a very thin omelet for garnishing later. The other two eggs needs to be cooked in boiling water until hard-boiled, about 12 minutes.
In another shallow cooking pan, boil water and cook the long life noodles according to package instructions. This will always depend on the kind of noodles you have available in your area. Mine took 2-4 minutes to cook in boiling water. After boiling, strain the noodles and quickly wash with cold water. Before setting aside, put a little bit of sesame oil and mix the noodles well to prevent it from sticking.
In a large wok, heat olive oil to medium heat. Cook the shallots until translucent then season with salt to taste. Set this aside for garnishing. I make lots of shallots because this makes the misua taste so good.
In the same wok, heat more olive oil to medium high heat. Cook the drained shiitake mushroom until brown and fragrant. Add the garlic, chicken, shrimp, pork and fish balls. Cook until everything is more than half done. Season with a little salt and pepper then stir fry with some rice cooking wine. Next, add the rest of the ingredients – carrots, cabbage, sugar snap peas and crimini mushrooms. Mix in 1 tbps of oyster sauce then cook and mix everything well.
To serve, put the noodles on a serving platter/bowl. Top with the meat and vegetable mixture. Garnish with sliced omelet, sliced hard-boiled eggs, roasted peanuts, chopped cilantro leaves and green onions. Each person who eats will mix in their own fried shallots according to their preference.
VOILA!!!! All done!
I love cooking this for my family. Even our children had their first misua soup on their first birthdays and still does every year as their birthdays are celebrated. As for me, my family makes it for me when it’s my birthday and that what makes our celebration very special. It’s not the gifts, the cakes, balloons or ice cream – it’s our birthday misua soup that we enjoy as a family together first thing in the morning on our special days.