There is a Filipino sub-culture in Lebanon due to the large number of people who move there with employment contracts from the Philippines. Thanks to Jessica, a Filipino lady I befriended who lived in the country for fifteen years before going back home to marry, I discovered this wonderful dish, called pancit.
It is a comforting and delicious dish of stir-fried veggies and rice noodles, with some shredded chicken and shrimp.
Pancit (the word means noodles in Tagalog) can be satisfactory or sublime; it all depends on the quality of the ingredients. The veggies for instance should be shredded very fine and not overcooked. The sauce needs to be seasoned with finesse and the chicken broth should be fresh and homemade, for best results.
Pancit can be made strictly with chicken; or with shrimp, or both. The veggies can be varied. It is a very versatile dish.
INGREDIENTS: 6 to 8 servings
- 1 package of rice sticks (8 ounces)
- 1/2 pound of large shrimps
- 1 chicken or several pieces of chicken with bones
- 2 cups each of shredded cabbage, carrots, snow peas, onion
- 1 Tablespoon of mashed garlic
- Soy sauce, sesame oil, chili oil (optional), black pepper or red hot Aleppo pepper or hot paprika or chili powder
- to use for garnish: shredded scallions, quartered limes
- For the chicken stock: a bay leaf, a sprig of thyme or other herbs, some black peppercorns, garlic cloves, a medium onion
- Make the chicken stock: (can be made one or more days ahead). Place a chicken in a large pot, douse in a couple of tablespoons of sesame oil and brown the chicken lightly on all sides. Add 6 to 8 cups of tap water to the chicken, a bay leaf, a few cloves of garlic, an onion, a few peppercorns and a sprig of thyme. Let the chicken simmer for one hour or longer in the covered pot until it is cooked. Cool, strain the stock and shred the chicken. If using a few pieces of chicken, shred them and discard the bones. Reserve 6 cups of the chicken stock for the pancit and the rest can be frozen and used for another dish.
- Shred the cabbage by hand if possible into very thin slivers. Peel and shred the carrots and any other vegetable you pick. I used some snow peas and slice them lengthwise.
- When ready to cook, gather all the ingredients; if using shrimps, peel the shrimps and reserve the peel and heads to flavor the stock. Sprinkle hot pepper on the shrimps and set aside. Place the shrimp peels (heads also) into the chicken stock and simmer for 30 minutes to flavor the stock. Strain the stock and set aside.
- Heat a mixture of canola oil and sesame oil in a non-stick pot or wok. Add the chopped onion and stir until translucent. Add the shrimps and stir until the shrimps are firm and pink, about 3 minutes. Remove the shrimps and set aside. Add the other shredded veggies, a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce, the mashed garlic, and stir the veggies for two minutes until limp.
- Remove the veggies and set aside. Add the chicken and shrimp stock and let it come to a simmer; drop the rice sticks in the stock and let the noodles soften about 4 minutes; add the veggies, shrimp and shredded chicken. Stir the noodles and veggies until they are well-mixed but still moist.
- Serve the pancit with a garnish of chopped scallions and quartered limes.
NOTE: You should have plenty of stock to cook the noodles in and some leftover to keep the dish moist and yummy. Figure on at least 5 to 6 cups of stock for 8 ounces of rice sticks.
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