Have you ever had Filipino Pancit before? According to Wikipidea, Pancit means noodles. Its like a lighter or airy version of Lo mein. I would imagine if Lo mein noodles and ramen got married, it would be Pancit. It is a simple and tasty. It reminds me of the Filipino version of the Italian Garlic and Olive Oil Spaghetti, except it uses soy sauce, lemon, oil and garlic. How would you describe Pancit to others who’s never had it?
Being with my husband for almost 17 years now (yes, we were high school sweethearts), I definitely had my share. The first time I had it was at my mother in law’s house, as a 15 year old! Since then, I had it often during family gatherings. After we have gotten married, we moved out and I often craved the dish. I was never really that inspired to recreate this dish (and just happily waited for family parties), than when I was told I had pre-hypertension; meaning if I didn’t control my diet and salt intake, it can develop into high blood pressure, in which I wold have to take medication for. I was terrified; I am only 31 years old with young children and a family to take care of. I had to start monitoring my salt and fat intake; and drastically increase veggies in my diet and healthier grains to improve my health. You can read more about my high blood pressure scare in my How to Relax post here.
This Pancit is the healthiest version of Pancit I had ever made with less oil, less sodium and more veggies. I used whatever veggies I had around the house. I usually used snow peas (sliced into strips) and shredded carrots (how my mother in law makes). I chose to blanch the veggies than the usually adding on of it to the onion and garlic aromatics. Frying does impart a different texture and flavor to broccoli, making it smell amazing and taste grilled; the carrot when fried, get a little golden brown around the edges as it begins to caramelize adding a different layer of flavor, than just plain boiled carrots. By choosing to boil or blanch the veggies, I feel I am essentially creating a vegetable stock with the carrots and broccoli.
Feel free to fry it another day to see the difference between fried and balanced veggies in these noodles. Either way, its yummy and hey, at least you are still eating lots of delicious veggies! I usually had the clear rice stick noodes to my pancit in addition to these thicker Pancit Canton; but its what I had at home; and I was a little short on time, so I made it simpler. The clear noodle pancit can be purchased where you buy the Pancit Canton, called Rice Stick Bihon at the Asian supermarket (These days you can even buy this at Walmart).
Here is a quick picture walk of the cooking process, just to get you inspired! Scroll down more for the ingredients and recipe.
2.5-3 cups of water (for blanching the broccoli and carrots-or replace with chicken or vegetable stock)
1 package of FIRM Tofu cut in to your desired size ( I cut mine into little rectangles)
1-2 cups of broccoli
1-2 cups of carrots
2 tbsp soy sauce (more on the side to drizzle upon serving)
1tbsp fish sauce (replace with soy sauce if you want to make it vegan)
1 tsp black pepper and more to taste
5-8 garlic cloves minced
1 small or 1/2 large onion
2 whole limes or 1 whole lemon (to squeeze)
1 package of Pancit Canton noodles
2 tbsp oil
1- Boil 2.5-3 cups of water (or replace with with chicken or vegetable stock).
2- Throw in the broccoli to blanch until your desire of tenderness. Take out and set to the side.
3- Throw in the carrots to blanch until your desire of tenderness. Take out and set to the side.
4- Preheat oven 424 F and bake the cut up tofu on a baking rack (preferably to get the tofu crispy) for about 15-20 minutes. Set aside.
5- Heat up 2 tbsp of oil on a cooking pan or wok and throw in the onions. Cook for 3-5 minutes.
6- Throw in the minced garlic and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.
7- Add the seasoning: soy sauce, fish sauce, lemon or lime juice squeezed and 2.5 cups of the blanching water from broccoli and carrots.
8- Add in the Pancit Canton noodles. Toss the noodle around until all the noodles are softened evenly.
9-Cook for about 5-7 minutes, tossing as you go. Since we didn’t add any additional oil, mix frequently to prevent noodles from sticking to the bottom. Add the other 1/2 cup of remaining blanching water as needed, as well.
COMBINING ALL THE PARTS
10- Toss in the broccoli, carrots and tofu and toss it around for 3-5 minutes.
11- You can add a small drizzle of soy sauce upon serving or have it as it is. Sometimes, I squeeze more lemon or lime juice on top too (depending on how lemony you want your noodles).
Mix thoroughly and enjoy!
Use a large pan or wok: I used a smaller pan and almost tossed out half my ingredients (just kidding! but I’m sure some of you can relate haha). I was very slow and careful tossing and mixing the ingredients, so it turned out fine. Try to use a large enough pan to hold all the ingredients together.
Baking tray for tofu-If you don’t have a baking rack for the tofu, a regular baking tray is fine too. The tofu won’t be as crispy, but as long as its edible, its fine. The purpose of baking it is to get some moisture out of the tofu for when we add it to the noodles.
Water first-This time I forgot add the blanched water and seasonings and dumped in the noodles first right after I sautéed the onions and garlic and the proceeded to add in the water and it came out fine anyway. Usually, I put the water in first for the noodles to absorb, so that it will be easier to turn as the noodles soften.
Non-vegan version- My favorite pancit is with shrimp, hands down! Its the best. With the juices from the shrimp after you quickly pan fry it and its ssavory and lemony flavor; and how it deglazes on the pan and how the noodles absorb all of that goodness. Yum!!
Bola Bola Filipino Meatball Mungbean Noodle Soup reminds me of the soup version, more or less of Pancit. It has similar ingredients and makes a very satisfying meal that is especially perfect for Spring because of the bright pop of colors from the green and orange veggies. You can find my recipe for it here.
Have you ever had Pancit before? Everyone has their version they make at home. What are some of your classic combinations from your family?