In Filipino culture, it’s tradition to eat noodles on one’s birthday. The long noodles represent long life. A classic Filipino noodle dish is pancit bihon that uses Chinese rice noodles. It’s got a soy-citrus taste with some kind of meat for more flavor. In general, I usually only eat pancit during family parties, but I must admit the Filipino store in my town has a pretty tasty recipe. I made an attempt this past weekend to replicate it. Most of the recipes I looked up used more or less the same techniques and ingredients.
I decided to take an impromptu drive up to Massachusetts to visit my tita and her family. Appropriately, it was her birthday yesterday, so I greeted her at the door with a traditional serving of ‘long life.’
When prepping and cooking, I was surprised at how simple the ingredients were, yet they created a distinct flavor. Despite how much my little cousins ate up the pancit, raving about how good it tasted, next time I cook this dish, I plan to add more garlic and season the chicken (or whatever meat I use) more liberally. Here is the recipe. If you attempt it at home, please share your feedback and experiences with me! 🙂
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
3 tbsp. cooking oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
2.5 lbs. chicken breast, cut into small strips
2 sticks carrots, julienned
1 head green cabbage, shredded
2-3 tbsp. soy sauce
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
2 cups chicken broth
patis, to taste
1 cup water
1 lb. Chinese rice noodles (1 package)
lemon or kalimansi juice, to taste
In a deep frying pan or wok, saute garlic and onions in oil for 1 minute. Before color change, add chicken and soy sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Cover pan until juices from chicken come out, about 10-15 minutes. Add chicken broth, carrots, cabbage. Cover and bring to a boil. Add patis. Simmer for 2 minutes. With a slotted spoon, sift out veggies and chicken, and put aside. Add water & noodles. Cook noodles for 3-5 minutes. Remove noodles and transfer to a serving dish. Toss with lemon juice and if desired, season with more patis and pepper. Pour chicken and veggies on top. Garnish with lemon slices.
– You can buy shredded cabbage in packages, or shred it yourself at home. I found this link helpful: http://theshiksa.com/2013/01/29/how-to-shred-cabbage/
– Try a different meat or use other types of meat in addition to the chicken, like shrimp, pork slices, etc.
– Refrigerate any leftovers in airtight container to preserve freshness.
*I did refer to two Filipino cookbooks for this recipe, which I will list here when I get back home from Massachusetts.