Pancit Bihon – Do you have the patience of Job?

I grew up eating pancit, adobo, sinigang, lumpia, etc.  Lumpia is the only Filipino dish I had figured out how to make until about a month ago when the light came on for me on how to make pancit properly! Even though I know how to make it, I still prefer my mom’s pancit, and her adobo (and my dad’s too!), and anything else she will cook for me.  Her pandesal is delicious!  Anyone else’s pandesal is too salty or too sweet. Hers is perfect.

The secret to making good pancit for me is to use a seasoning mix!  Yes, it’s that easy. Well, the cooking part is anyway.  The prep work is the difficult part. I cheat when I make my lumpia and use a bag of frozen mixed vegetables. I can’t use frozen veggies in pancit, so this means I have to take the hard route of slicing all the veggies myself. And as my husband will tell you, I am VERY SLOW when it comes to cooking or baking. I also make a huge mess!

My usual mix of veggies for pancit: green beans, carrots, and celery. I don’t like cabbage very much so I don’t put that in.

French-cut green beans or as close as I could get them to French-cut.
French-cut green beans or as close as I could get them to French-cut.  These green beans are from our garden.  I used about 1/4 pound I think, probably less.

Four carrots, two orange and two yellow. I happened to have heirloom ones in the fridge from Sprouts.
Four carrots, two orange and two yellow. I happened to have heirloom ones in the fridge from Sprouts.

Cut into 1 and half to 2 inch sections to be julienned.
Cut into 1 and a half to 2 inch sections to be julienned.

Look at those colors! Julienned carrots cook faster and the thinner they are the better!
Look at those colors! Julienned carrots cook faster and the thinner they are the better! I always put in more carrots than green beans since that is what my kids like.

The celery is the easiest to slice.
The celery is the easiest to slice. I used three stalks of celery.

All the veggies into one bowl, ready to be sauteed.
All the veggies into one bowl, ready to be sauteed.

One Chinese sausage, thinly sliced.
One Chinese sausage, thinly sliced.  You don’t want to use too much of this or the sausage overwhelms the dish. Also, you can use cooked chicken or pork instead if you have that on hand. The nice thing about pancit is you can put pretty much whatever you like best in it.

Ready to use the wok!
Ready to use the wok! So far, the Super Q brand of noodles is what I like using best.

Sausage goes in first along with some garlic.
Sausage goes in first along with some garlic.

Then the veggies!
Then the veggies!

Put the veggies back into the bowl once they are tender.
Put the veggies back into the bowl once they are tender.

Don't be fooled! These two sheets make lots of noodles!
Don’t be fooled! These two sheets make lots of noodles! This is 8 ounces of bihon noodles.

Bring the liquid to a boil.
Bring two cups of liquid to a boil in the wok. This is where I had to stray from my plan. I looked in my drawer of seasoning mixes and I didn’t have any pancit seasoning! Horrors!  So I had to make it myself. I will put the recipe I used at the end of this post.

Put those two sheets of noodles in there and let them soften.
The two sheets of noodles go into the wok once the liquid is boiling. They will take a few minutes to soften. I ended up adding another two cups of water after I added the vegetables to keep the pancit from drying out.

The noodles are almost cooked!
The noodles are almost cooked!

The finished dish!
The finished dish! If I were serving this to guests, I would probably have some boiled egg and sliced green onion to garnish it with. Someday, I will figure out food photography but today is not that day!  I was just trying to get the dish done cooking!
Here is the recipe!  Sometime soon I need to figure out how to make this section into a printable.  I’m sure there must be a way to do it. I just haven’t found it yet!

Pancit Bihon

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces bihon rice noodles
  • 1/4 pound or less green beans
  • 4 carrots
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 2 teaspoons garlic
  • 1 Chinese sausage OR cooked chicken or pork (great way to use up any kind of leftovers of these!)
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon oil (olive or vegetable)

Ingredients for Sauce (or do this the easy way and buy a package of seasoning mix!):

  • 1 teaspoon annato powder mixed into 4 teaspoons of water (my mom said that it would be okay to leave this out, the soy sauce is enough to season the pancit)
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 cups of water

Method:

French cut the green beans and place into a medium bowl. Julienne cut the carrots and place into the bowl with the green beans. Slice the celery stalks as thin as possible. Place into the bowl. Slice the sausage as thin as possible.  If using cooked chicken or pork instead, shred the meat or cut into pieces.

Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil (I used olive oil) over medium high heat in a large wok. I used a nonstick wok, it is so much easier to clean! Saute the garlic and Chinese sausage in the oil. It won’t take long for the garlic to become fragrant, maybe 3-5 minutes. If you are using cooked chicken or pork for your meat, then you don’t have to put that in until the last step.

Next, saute all the veggies in the oil with the garlic and sausage. Don’t cook them all the way. They will cook more during the last step when you are cooking them with the noodles. I usually try a carrot to make sure it is tender but not overcooked or too crisp. This will take at least 5 – 10 minutes. It could be longer depending on how thinly cut the veggies are.  Once the veggies are done, dump them back into the bowl that you had them in before (yay for less dirty dishes!).

Now, it’s time to cook the noodles. Some packages of noodles say to soak them or rinse them first. I don’t do that with this brand. They soften enough during cooking. Just make sure to add more water if needed.

Boil the sauce (follow the instructions on the seasoning mix package if using that) in the wok. Once it is boiling, add the noodles and let them soak up the sauce and begin to soften. Make sure you have two wooden spoons out because you will be using both of them!  Once the noodles soften, begin pulling them apart using the wooden spoons. This helps to soften them all the way. I would have taken a picture of this part but I wasn’t sure how to do that and use the camera at the same time! Add more water as needed, usually 1/2 cup to 1 cup at a time. I ended up using 4 cups of water total to cook my pancit.

Add the veggies back to the wok and cook them with the noodles. Also, add another tablespoon or two of soy sauce, a teaspoon of salt, and one or two grinds of pepper.  Add a small amount of water if your noodles seem to be drying out. This is where you will get some arm exercise in! You will also probably get noodles everywhere. Use the wooden spoons to lift the noodles up, a section at a time. It is almost like you are folding dough except you are using two utensils instead of one. You are trying to cook all the noodles and fold the veggies into the noodles so they are mixed in uniformly. After a few minutes of doing this, I usually taste the noodles.  And usually I end up adding more soy sauce or more salt! Every time you add more soy sauce or salt, mix the noodles well to incorporate it. Once you are satisfied with the taste and texture of the noodles, you are done!

Place the noodles in a serving dish and garnish with sliced boiled egg, sliced green onion, and lemon wedges (or kalamansi if you have access to them!).

The recipe certainly reads as a lot of work but once you’ve done it a few times (or someone teaches you how to do it like my mom with me!), it becomes a lot easier! This is probably true of any recipe though!

Some of the extras:

This is the seasoning mix I usually use.
This is the seasoning mix I usually use.

I also added some of this to give the pancit a little more garlicky flavor! It must have worked because Matthias told me the pancit tasted good!
I also added some of this to give the pancit a little more garlicky flavor! It must have worked because Matthias told me the pancit tasted good!
Lastly, 8 ounces of bihon will fill an 8 x 8 serving dish, which will feed maybe 6-8 people as a side dish. If you double the recipe, you will fill a 10 x 13 serving dish and have the perfect amount for a party! You can also vary the amounts of veggies and meat that you put in depending on your taste or what you have on hand. You just can’t vary the amount of noodles.

I am going to try and make a post in the next few days about making eggrolls (lumpia) the easy way, which still isn’t that easy since it usually takes me about two days to make them. They aren’t really authentic but they taste really good!

One thought on “Pancit Bihon – Do you have the patience of Job?

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