I have had my bouts with difficult and time-consuming recipes, and recipes that I just could not figure out on my own. But no matter how much I get my ass kicked in the kitchen, I always feel rejuvenated in between recipes.
Sorry, that might’ve gone over some of your heads. What I’m trying to say is that the more Filipino food I make, the more confidence I gain in my Pinoy Prowess in the kitchen. And, as I’m slowly discovering, Filipino cooking can be incredibly easy (with a little bit of practice, of course).
With that said, there are usually three dishes one first learns to make when embarking on a journey of Filipino cuisine: Lumpia, Adobo, and Pancit (The Big 3). These three dishes are, generally speaking, easy to prepare. So that’s probably why the Filipino cook learns them first. Not coincidentally, these are also the first dishes that are usually fed to non-Filipinos with which they can dip their toes and test the waters of Filipino yumminess. Yeah, yumminess.
If you’re keeping score at home, my cracks at the Big 3 are as follows:
Pancit (pronounced pahn-sit) is a Filipino dish of noodles that comes in as many forms as there have been varying iPod versions. And as you can see from my Big 3 list above, I’ve only dabbled once in the Pancit department when I made sotanghon (another type of Pancit).
Why haven’t I made more Pancit recipes? Well, even though I’ve made Sotanghon before, I still have this stigma in my brain that Pancit is a difficult dish to prepare, and I’m lazy. Difficulty + Laziness = Beer.
Pat is currently in the process of writing a cookbook entitled “The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook” that will feature all types of Asian recipes she’s collected from well, Asian grandmas–along with some recipes from mothers and aunties too. It’s a brilliant idea. One of those ideas that makes me want to smack myself in the head and wonder why I couldn’t come up with it. Kinda like when I found out Tex Winter created the triangle offense:
“Damn you Tex Winter! I could have totally come up with a space-based triple post scheme on my own! Damn you straight to hell old man!”
Alright, so maybe I’m just not that brilliant, but this Pancit recipe is, so pays some attention!
Although there are dozens of different noodles that can be used for different types of Pancit, this particular recipe uses two types: Vermicelli (rice) and Canton (egg) noodles. I’ve never had Pancit with two types of noodles before, it’s always been one or the other for me, so I was very interested to see how the two noods would play with each other.
The thick yellow noodles in the front are the Canton noodles, and the thin white noodles in the back are the Vermicelli noodles. You first must soak the Vermicelli in hot water for 10-15 minutes until they are soft, and you must also soak the Canton noodles in boiling water for 1 minute until they are soft. The noodles can then be drained and set aside.
After precooking the noodles, saute some garlic and onions in a large saute pan or wok (preferably a wok), and then some chicken can be added to the hot pan and cooked through. I used boneless and skinless chicken thighs that I cut into bite-sized pieces.
When the chicken is cooked through, deglaze the pan with some soy sauce and toyomansi (a sauce made from soy and kalamansi juice that can be found at Asian markets), then add some shredded carrots and cabbage. When the cabbage has wilted a bit, add the pre-cooked noodles to the pan and toss until everything is well coated and heated.
Serve the pancit with some lime or lemon or kalamansi on the side (whatever you have), garnish with some green onions, and you’re done.
Easy right? I must admit though, I cheated just a little bit and bought
some pre-shredded carrots and pre-shredded cabbage from the store and
that made things much easier for me. I’m always very dubious of my own cooking when I try something for the first time, but this pancit turned out wonderfully with lots of flavor from the soy and toyomansi, and I really loved the different textures of the noodles. If you’ve never made pancit, or have never eaten pancit, this is a very good recipe with which to start.
You can find the exact recipe for this Pancit at The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook.