Filipino Pancit Recipe (Stir-fried Bihon noodles)2014-04-24
- Yield : Lg Platter
- Servings : 4-8
- Prep Time : 15m
- Cook Time : 15m
- Ready In : 30m
The Filipino Pancit recipe I’ve enjoyed the most has been made with thin rice noodles called Bihon. It’s really Chinese rice vermicelli and you can find many varieties of it inside every Asian market. The packaging will usually have a S, M, L or even XL somewhere on it. This is to let you know the width of the noodles. For Pancit I typically use the small noodles or as they’re sometimes called “Rice sticks.”
Better Than Birthday Cake?
According to tradition, every birthday should be celebrated by eating noodles. They serve as a symbol of long life and for this reason; you should never cut up your noodles, as you can imagine what that does to your long life. In the Philippines it’s the custom to serve Pancit at a birthday celebration, or really, any celebration. In fact, it’s served at any gathering… even a gathering of just a few. It’s that delicious.
Just like so many traditional local foods, there are a lot of Pancit recipes in the world. I’m going to give you just a few and then I’ll share with you the recipe I grew up with in San Diego. It’s very easy to make and it’s a fantastic dish for parties or potlucks. Not only does it reheat well, it’s delicious hot, cold or even at room temperature. It’s just delicious period!
Different Types of Pancit
Pancit Canton is very popular in the Philippines and really all over the world now. The Chinese originally introduced Pancit itself to the people of the Philippines. Canton province of China is in the most southeast part of the country, closest to the Philippines, so you can imagine, Cantonese flavors have made their way into some of the Filipino cuisine. The most notable difference between what I’m going to show you and Pancit Canton are the noodles. Pancit Canton is made with wheat egg noodles, more like you would find in a Chinese Lo Mein dish.
Pancit Malabon comes from Malabon City, a place with rich seafood resources, which obviously shows up in this version of Pancit. The sauce is made with fish sauce and shrimp paste and then topped with lots of local seafood including squid, oysters and boiled shrimp. It’s typically garnished with boiled duck eggs, but regular chicken eggs would work as well. The noodles used in Pancit Malabon are a thicker rice noodle than the Pancit Bihon I’m going to share with you below.
The other varieties of Pancit you’ll find served in the Philippines include Palabok or Luglog, Habhab (served on a banana leaf and slurped up without utensils), Sotanghon and more. As I mentioned, Pancit is kind of a broad term for Filipino noodles, so you have many varieties. It’s kind of like asking how to make a hamburger or a pizza, it depends on what you like on yours and how you like it prepared.
My Favorite Pancit Recipe
As I mentioned earlier, my favorite Filipino Pancit recipe is called Pancit Bihon and it’s made with Bihon rice noodles, sometimes called “Rice Sticks.” It’s a very thin vermicelli noodle made from finely ground rice, just as you would use flour, a ground wheat. This gives them a very light and fresh taste and texture.
With this recipe, I’m giving you the basics, but please realize, Pancit is a wonderful opportunity to experiment with extra ingredients. Try adding in some different vegetables or meats and seafood. Snow or snap peas, bean sprouts, celery, crabmeat, or whatever else you may have in the fridge and you figure would taste good in an Asian dish.
If you have a favorite Pancit recipe or you have a variation on this, which you think would make it better, please share it below in the comments so others can give it a try.
- 1 Package (8-12 oz) Rice Noodles; Labeled "Pancit Bihon" or just "Bihon"
- 1 teaspoon Vegetable oil
- 1 Onion; Finely sliced
- 4 cloves Garlic; minced
- 1 cup boneless chicken breasts; diced
- 1 cup Pork; diced
- 1/2 cup Shrimp; Bay or salad shrimp
- 8 cups Cabbage; Shredded (approx.1 sm head)
- 4 Carrots; Julienned
- 1/4 cup Soy Sauce; Light (Silver Swan brand is from the Philippines)
- 1/4 cup Chicken Broth; Optional - Depending on how soft you like it
- 1 Egg; Hard Boiled and sliced for garnish
Take the dry noodles and submerge them in warm water and set them aside while you prepare everything else (but not for too long).
Boil your egg if it's not already.
Place a large skillet or wok on the stove over a medium heat and pour the vegetable oil in the skillet or wok.
Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are soft.
Add the chicken and pork and cook until done.
Add the shrimp along with the soy sauce and cook for 1 minute.
Add the cabbage and carrots and cook until the cabbage is soft.
If you prefer a more moist Pancit, add in the chicken broth (you may want to try it without first).
Remove the noodles from the water and drain just until they're no longer dripping and add to the skillet or wok and toss over a medium heat until well mixed.
Place on a large platter or bowl and garnish with sliced or quartered egg.