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.
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!
- 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
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:
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!