Family, Homecooking

Cha Misua | Chinese Birthday Misua Recipe

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Making Chinese Birthday Misua

My father-in-law recently celebrated his __th birthday and like an annual rite, Mama once again prepared cha misua or Chinese birthday misua for Papa, the family, and Papa’s siblings. And since Chinese New Year is also coming, I thought I would write about it and also include a recipe. It’s also high time that I immortalize this little family tradition that Mama does for Papa and the family.

cha misua - chinese birthday misua - chinese birthday misua recipe - chinese new year - bacolod mommy blogger - homecooking - angkong birthday
Every year during AngKong’s birthday, Mama would prepare birthday misua for him and the family.

Cha Misua: A Chinese Birthday Tradition

“Do not dismiss the dish saying that it is just, simply food. The blessed thing is an entire civilization in itself.” ~Abdulhak Sinasi

The Chinese birthday misua originated from China. It is prepared early in the morning because traditionally, it’s supposed to be the first food of the one celebrating his birthday. The brown noodles, which are made of wheat flour, symbolize long life so intentionally cutting up the noodles to fit your pan is just unthinkable. The longer the noodles, the better.

cha misua - chinese birthday misua - chinese birthday misua recipe - chinese new year - bacolod mommy blogger - homecooking
A tray of Chinese birthday misua.

Meanwhile, the eggs speak of fertility and a different preparation was done for couples or during childbirth. In our modern times, Mama would boil eggs based on the number of children and their spouses in the immediate family. We would each get a boiled egg along with our share of the misua.

Giving Chinese Birthday Misua to Family Members

The Chinese family is very filial and respectful. Children have ceremonies to respect elders as well as siblings. It kinda gets lost because of mixed marriages and the embracing of the modern culture, however, my husband and I try to at least keep some of them alive in our own little family.

I am a descendant of Chinese great grandparents, but with the assimilation into the Filipino culture, the language and practices got lost in my side of the family.

cha misua - chinese birthday misua - chinese birthday misua recipe - chinese new year - bacolod mommy blogger - homecooking
One of the Chinese birthday traditions is to wear red. You won’t have too many reds in your wardrobe. But in my case, I couldn’t find any casual one during the time of Papa’s birthday. Boo to me. 🙁

Going back, Mama would also prepare several containers of birthday misua that will be distributed to Papa’s siblings who are living here in Bacolod City. The containers vary in sizes, based on the number of people in that family.

Additionally, each container is topped with the number of eggs according to the members of the family. For example, an uncle who has two children gets a birthday misua that can be shared for four and topped with four boiled eggs. If the second generation already has children, the portion of the birthday msisua for that family becomes bigger, but usually the third generation doesn’t get whole eggs. Hihi

cha misua - chinese birthday misua - chinese birthday misua recipe - chinese new year - bacolod mommy blogger - homecooking
A container of birthday misua. The number of eggs correspond to the number of grown ups in the family.

Remember, Chinese families are normally large, so if you have an egg for everyone, then you will have to boil trays of eggs! It’s homecooking at a grand scale!

The empty container of birthday misua is sent back along with some raw eggs lined with a red marker. Or you will find a red ribbon under the raw eggs. The number of raw eggs returned correspond to the number of boiled eggs you gave.

cha misua - chinese birthday misua - chinese birthday misua recipe - chinese new year - bacolod mommy blogger - homecooking - raw eggs
An aunt returned the container with four raw eggs and a red ribbon.

The Birthday Eve

Since the Chinese birthday misua is cooked early in the morning, most of the preparations happen the day before. This is when you boil eggs, slice, blanch, shred, and peel whatever you need to do.

Refrigerate what you have prepared in covered containers and take them out early the next day.

In logic, I know how to prepare the birthday misua and since last year, I have been meaning to cook this for hubby’s birthday. But the thought of slicing and preparing all the ingredients beforehand turns me off. But hopefully, I will have more time to cook for his birthday this year and my work schedule will allow me to.

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Papa and Mama this month during Papa’s birthday.

So for those who are interested and would like to cook this, here’s the recipe. I did not include measurements, the quantity can be up to you. In our family, Mama had to cook 1 ¼ kilos of misua.

Check out the video montage below.

Watch how Mama cooked the birthday misua for Papa. Watching it, the entire process doesn’t look so bad. haha

Chinese Birthday Misua Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Cooking oil
  • Chopped garlic
  • Chopped onions
  • Pork slices (optional)
  • Chicken breasts, blanched and shredded
  • Carrots, julienned
  • Chinese pechay, sliced thinly, stems separated
  • Dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked and sliced
  • Chorizo, sliced and fried
  • Shrimps, cooked and peeled
  • Little oysters, blanched (optional)
  • Squid or fish balls (optional)
  • Brown Chinese Misua
  • Chicken stock

Toppings

  • Boiled eggs
  • Spring onion leaves, sliced thinly
  • Sliced garlic, fried and toasted
  • Chinese chorizo, sliced and fried
  • Shrimps, cooked and peeled
  • Scrambled eggs, fried
  • Salted peanuts
  • Salt, pepper, and soy sauce
cha misua - chinese birthday misua - chinese birthday misua recipe - chinese new year - bacolod mommy blogger - homecooking -toppings
Prepare the toppings. They are easy but tedious.

Procedure:

  1. Prepare all the ingredients and toppings.
  2. Prepare your strainer and boil water in a big shallow pan.
  3. In a wok, saute the garlic and onions in oil until onions are translucent. Add the pork slices and cook for about 5 chicken. Stir in the shredded chicken breasts and carrots. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Mix in the stems of the Chinese pechay and cook-stir for about 2 minutes. Then add the leaves, mix, and cook for another minute.
  5. Stir in the chorizo, mushrooms, shimps, and oysters. Mix well and remove from heat.

    cha misua - chinese birthday misua - chinese birthday misua recipe - chinese new year - bacolod mommy blogger - homecooking
    Cooking the meat, seafood, and vegetable mixture.
  6. When the water in the other pan has boiled, you can start blanching the misua. Put small batches in to the water and let it cook for a couple of minutes. Remove from the water using a strainer ladle and place onto the big strainer. Let the water boil again and add more misua. Repeat the process.

    cha misua - chinese birthday misua - chinese birthday misua recipe - chinese new year - bacolod mommy blogger - homecooking
    Blanched and drained misua.
  7. After all the misua has been blanched, turn on the heat in the meat mixture. Add the misua carefully and mix in with the meat. Do not overcook.

    cha misua - chinese birthday misua - chinese birthday misua recipe - chinese new year - bacolod mommy blogger - homecooking
    Meat, seafood, and vegetable mixture.
  8. In a serving dish, place some of the noodles, leaving some space on the top part. Then arrange your toppings.

    cha misua - chinese birthday misua - chinese birthday misua recipe - chinese new year - bacolod mommy blogger - homecooking
    Mama assembles the birthday misua. She’s now wearing red as we are getting ready to eat lunch.

The birthday celebrator usually gets a separate bowl with two whole hard-boiled eggs. He or she has to finish everything in that bowl, including the eggs. The eggs reportedly symbolize new life. These are eaten to signify another year passing and a new year that is to come.

cha misua - chinese birthday misua - chinese birthday misua recipe - chinese new year - bacolod mommy blogger - homecooking
Papa gets a big bowl of birthday misua with two whole eggs during his birthday.

Did you like this recipe? Let me know in the comments if you tried making this.


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42 thoughts on “Cha Misua | Chinese Birthday Misua Recipe

  1. I love learning and finding out about other cultures, especially that of the Chinese. This was an interesting read. I never knew about this, plus this birthday misua looks super delicious. If only I could eat eggs , but maybe I could substitute it with something else.

    1. Hi Joan! You don’t have to include the eggs if you cannot eat them. The boiled and scrambled eggs in the Chinese birthday misua are just toppings so you can totally exclude them and it won’t affect the taste of the noodle dish. 😀

  2. Wow, the birthday misua sounds so interesting! I have never eaten anything like this before- I definitely would love to try it soon. Not sure if I have the patience to make it though …

  3. I’ve never heard of the Chinese birthday misua before. What an interesting combination of flavors and I love reading the symbolism behind the ingredients. It’s not just food, really. I wanna try it!

  4. There is no dearth of restaurants and cafes that can serve food as we have at home. Love how your mother in law prepares the birthday misua lovingly every year for your father in law. What a nice gesture. Never knew this about the Chinese.

  5. The other time I was thrilled to read the activities of the children for the Chinese New Year. Those crafts are so much fun to make. And now, I get to read on how to celebrate a birthday! I adore this tradition! And I would like to try the Chinese birthday misua. Looks so good!

  6. The Chinese birthday is really cool. But the recipe is kinda really tedious to make. For the sake of a kitchen experiment, I think I will try to make it at home.

  7. I love traditional food and even better when in get to know the story behind it. The Chinese birthday misua stands for so many things! Even the eggs symbolize something.

  8. It really shows your love when you prepare such an elaborate dish for someone’s birthday. I like the idea of birthday tradition, it sort of brings everyone closer & makes the birthday person feel even more special. The Chinese have a lot of traditions.
    – Nandita

  9. I love learning about different cultures. I’m glad to know that you work to keep them in the family! Even just the birthday traditions are different with each culture. The Chinese birthday misua looks so appetizing!

  10. The birthday misua looks good and delicious. Sana makapag luto din ako for special occasion ng ganyan will note the procedures and ingredients 😋

  11. Chinese Birthday Misua!!! Mukha nga po masarap siya momshie.. Subrang dami lang ingredients. Na curious lang po momshie, dun po pagnagbigay sa mga siblings ng chinese birthday misua.. kailangan po ba talaga na yung boiled egg eksakto din bilang kung ilan member sa family?? Bakit po kailangan ganun?

    1. Yes moms, maraming ingredients so iba-iba flavors. Sa sobrang dami ng ingredients, gusto ko na lang bumili ng birthday misua. hahaha

      As for the eggs, I think it’s sharing prosperity to everyone in the family. Daming good meanings kasi related to the eggs in the Chinese culture. Kaya siguro ganun. Ang di ko ma gets is why we should return raw eggs of the same number sa binigay. haha I don’t have the explanation about the significance of that part.

  12. It is really nice to read about this kind of article dahil nadagdagan po ang kaalaman ko about the Chinese culture…Ang bongga po ng Chinese Misua at mukhang napakasarap nagutom akong bigla…Thank you po mommy 😊

  13. Sarap naman,very traditional po talaga ang chinese that’s why madami ang gusto kapag dumating ang time na to. I love these foods and I will cooked it too dahil alam kong very healthy talaga. Thanks madam.
    Fb nane Sesuca Stella

  14. As a christian we don’t never believe in chinese traditions but I do believe in the chinese passion in cooking delicious food and nutritious that’s why i love chinese cuisines ❤️ fb Queenie Mance

  15. Wow ang sarap naman nakakagutom. Sakto dipa ako nagaalmusal hehehe. I really love asian cuisine lalo na mga chinese food. Yummy naman ng birthday misua!

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