Most people recognize patola in its fully ripened form. When it is fully developed, the fruit is the source of the loofah scrubbing sponge. But, in it’s young stage and while it is still green, the fruit is cultivated and eaten as a vegetable and used in many dishes. You can find patola at most Asian markets. It may be called differently in some stores: Chinese okra, mướp hương or gambas. But, Filipinos refer to the fruit as patola. And, it you’re looking for a fast and easy way to prepare the fruit, try patola and glass noodle soup. It’s a light, great tasting soup — especially on cold nights. And, for me, it’s another one of those comfort soups. If the weather was cold and I told my mom I was coming home to visit, she would sometimes have this soup ready for me to eat once I got there.
1 bundle of bean thread noodles
1 medium-sized patola, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup pork, sliced thinly
1/2 cup small shrimp, shelled and deveined
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
fish sauce or salt and ground pepper to taste
4 cups chicken broth
In a bowl, soak noodles in warm water until soft then cut into desired length. Set aside. In a pot, heat oil and saute garlic. Add onion and cook until clear. Add pork and cook until tender. Add shrimp and cook until shrimp turns pink. Add patola and cook until patola is tender. Season with fish sauce and ground pepper to taste. Add chicken broth and noodles. Simmer until soup is hot. Serve immediately.