Sunday, December 11, 2011

Pancit Sotanghon

This is a recipe I culled partly from my memory and partly from what's out there on Filipino recipe sites; liked a little here, a little there, etc. Put it all together and you have my take on one of the staple noodle dishes of my culture.

Several things to note:  Honestly, this recipe is NOT difficult.  It is, however, very time-consuming.  It takes time to boil the chicken, cool, shred, cut up all the veggies ahead of time, soak the noodles, etc.  So as long as you stick close to the steps, you should be OK.  As with any Asian stir-fry dish, the key is to have everything cut up ahead of time so you don't have to think about it as you're stirring away...all you have to do is dump in the ingredients as you go.  Also, 99% of these ingredients can likely be found in your local grocery store (yes, even the fish sauce nowadays); I have not always seen bean thread noodles there, and especially not the Chinese sausage, so for these items you will probably need to go to a specialty Asian market.  Rice sticks or thin rice noodles can be substituted, but growing up my mom always used bean thread noodles, also known as lungkow, so that's what I use because I like to carry on many of her traditions.  :)

Bean thread noodles, aka "lungkow"

Veggies can be interchanged, depending on your taste.  Other vegetable ideas include but are not limited to: sliced white button mushrooms, julienned red & green peppers, zucchini (not a personal favorite), pea pods, bean sprouts, etc.  Also, I take a shortcut by buying pre-packaged shredded carrots instead of doing them myself.  It's neater, faster, and heck, why not?

One last thing worth mentioning: Calamansi (cah-lah-mahn-SEE) is a small citrus fruit native to Southeast Asia, and definitely prevalent in Filipino cooking.  Usually they are halved and then squeezed over things like fish & pork so that the citrus juice accentuates whatever dish it's being added to.  If you don't live in an area that normally has access to calamansi (such as where I live in Colorado), small limes or even lime juice can be substituted and used instead.

Good luck...and if you make this dish, please write back and let me know how it turned out for you!  :)

Boiled Chicken -
1 half split chicken breast, boneless & skinless
2 chicken thighs, boneless & skinless
2 Tbsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp granulated chicken bouillon (or chicken broth and add kosher salt to taste)
6-8 C water

Noodle Mix - 
6 oz (½ a package, or 4-5 individual links) sliced Chinese sausage
6 oz chopped onions
3 cloves garlic, finely diced
½ head cabbage, roughly shredded (meaning not as finely shredded as for cole slaw or sauerkraut)
1-2 (about 5-6 oz) shredded carrots
1-2 C sliced green beans
2-3 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
8-10 oz bean thread noodles (1 package, or several smaller packages, depending on the brand)

Sauce -
1 C chicken broth
1/3 C dark soy sauce (not low sodium)
2 Tbsp fish sauce

Garnish - 
2-3 stalks of green onions, thinly sliced
5-6 calamansi halves OR 3-4 small limes, sliced into segments

Bring water with garlic powder and bouillon to a rolling boil.  Add chicken.  When water comes back to a boil, bring down heat to high simmer.  Skim off any chicken "foam" as necessary.  Cook 15 minutes or until all pieces are cooked thoroughly. Set aside and cool.  (This step can be done well ahead of time.  I sometimes boil large batches of chicken, freeze them in sets, and thaw them out as needed.) When chicken has cooled, roughly shread (pull apart) meat.  Not as finely as for things like BBQ sandwiches or tacos, but don't leave overly-large chunks.

Mix broth, soy sauce and fish sauce in a bowl or large measuring cup; set aside.

Chop up all the vegetables and sausage, striving for even, uniform pieces as much as possible.

Before you start cooking, soak bean thread noodles in warm water and set aside.  Heat up a wok or other large, high-sided pan to as high of heat as possible; add vegetable oil. Start by sautéeing onions, then add Chinese sausage and garlic. When onions have started to take on translucency, add cabbage and carrots.  While cabbage & carrots have started to cook, set soaked noodles in a colander to drain.  Stir veggies & sausage in the pan vigorously until cabbage has also started to become translucent and wilt; add the green beans.  Keep stirring constantly so that nothing sticks to the side or bottom of the pan.

Place drained noodles into pan, then pour broth over noodles, covering as evenly as possible.  Using 2 utensils (spaghetti ladle and/or flat spatula), toss noodle mixture well, like a salad, in order to evenly distribute veggies and sauce within the noodles.

Garnish with finely sliced green onions and serve with calamansi or lime wedges.

How the pancit looks when placed into a serving tray...

...and how it looks, ready for a potluck presentation. :)

Serves about 10 people


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