Are you ready for the next installment of Filipino Food Month? I know I am.
This is a Filipino dish called Pancit. There are many versions of this dish in the Philippines, with the main two that I ever came across being Pancit Bihon and Pancit Canton. Bihon is made with thin rice noodles, and canton is made with more of a lo-mein kind of noodle. In our house, we’re split as to which we prefer, with myself vastly preferring bihon and Hubs vastly preferring canton. Since it’s my birthday month and I’m doing the cooking, I win this time. 😉
This dish comes together quickly, with most of the work being involved in chopping vegetables, but I even cut that step short by cheating and buying a bag of julienned carrots.
You’ll need a package (6-8 oz or so) of thin rice noodles. Cover these in hot tap water to soften while you prepare everything else.
You’ll need to chop up 1/2 a head of green cabbage. Once I thought it would be really pretty to make pancit with red cabbage, but I obviously didn’t think it through and it turned the whole dish purple. I like to put some green beans in this, and I find that frozen french cut beans work really well. I happened to have a bunch of frozen whole beans in my freezer so I thawed them and (very sloppily) french cut them. I used a 12 oz. bag.
You’ll also want 3-4 cloves garlic, minced, and 4-5 scallions, cut in 1/2 inch pieces or so.
Here are my cheater carrots. If you don’t have access to these or don’t want to spend the little bit of extra money, you can grate carrots as well. I used about 2/3 of this bag. 1 1/2 cups is probably about right, but this recipe isn’t fussy. Use however much you want, pretty much.
So let’s talk about meat. It’s common to see chopped chicken, pork, shrimp, or sausage sliced in thin strips in this dish, and often a combination of meats. I used shrimp this time, which is certainly the fastest route. However, I also really like chicken here.
Sautee the garlic and carrots together in 1 tbsp hot oil in a large pot or wok until the garlic is translucent. If you are using chicken or pork, brown it in the oil first before adding garlic & carrots. If you’re using sliced sausage, you can add it with the carrots & garlic as you’re just looking to brown it a little.
Add the beans and cabbage and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender but still bright.
Add 1 can of baby corn,
along with the drained, softened noodles & scallions. If you’re using shrimp (thawed if frozen,) put it in at this point as well and heat it through until the shrimp is opaque. Shrimp overcooks easily, so only cook it until it’s no longer translucent.
Then add 1/3- 1/2 cup soy sauce. And then, if you can get your hands on it, add the good stuff.
And by that I mean calamansi juice. I think that this is what really makes the dish. Calamansi is a citrus fruit that is related to the lime, but I don’t think I’ve ever had another citrus fruit that tasted very similar. I love calamansi. It makes an amazing lemonade-type drink. And it adds a perfect brightness to the dish. If you can’t get a hold of calamansi in your area, squeeze some lemon juice on top. I found this package at my local Filipino food store in the frozen section. This bag is filled with 1/2 oz. packets. 1 package ended up being just the right amount.
Serve it up on its own or with rice. This dish is so easy but tastes like you slaved over it all day. You can easily omit some of the vegetables here if you like. It seems every pancit recipe I’ve seen has a different combination of vegetables and meats. And hey, it’s easy to skip the meat all together if you’re vegetarian.
It turns out that I am now outnumbered. Little Man is not a fan of the bihon noodles either. So I guess I’ll be making pancit canton forever. Sigh.