It was my first time making a Filipino Palabok or Shrimp Rice Noodles. I usually only have this during Filipino gatherings or when we ordered it at restaurants. Essentially, it is rice noodles topped with shrimp gravy (often made by using the inside of shrimp heads, which helps yield the ridiculously flavorful sauce)), topped with crispy garlic, crushed chicharron, sliced boiled eggs, chopped up scallions and lemon to taste. I’ve only had it with Shrimp and sometimes with ground pork mixed into the sauce. It may not be the healthiest but it is very satisfying with the brilliant combination of flavors and textures, fragrant Crispy garlic, the the unami the crunchy and salty chicharron and sweet and juicy shrimp when they are combined together — it is so delicious and worth the splurge in calories from time to time. It is my Filipino husband’s favorite noodle dish.
I read that many Palabok uses Tinapa flakes or fried fish to use as a topping–surprisingly I never heard of it until I did some reading earlier today- my husband had no idea what it was either. I’ll look for it next time because I’m curious.
Fortunately, I had a packet of rice noodles that can go with the Palabok sauce packets . I usually have thicker rice noodles with Palabok, but was pleasantly surprised how perfect this Bihon thinner rice noodles worked flawlessly too. It was my first time having Palabok with these thinner noodles and I’m glad I did.
I used to stray from making this because I thought the only way to make it was to cook down shrimp heads– but I’m glad I got brave and tried this short cut way– perhaps I’ll be brave enough to try it the other way next time.
I am proud to say my first Palabok was successful and as good, if not better than what I’ve had in restaurants. My husband agreed! Scroll down for the recipe!
Fiesta Premium Bihon noodles (I was planning to use spaghetti if I didn’t have rice flour noodles– affiliate link below is of the thicker version)
*Note: I’ve had many other rice flour noodles in my life and this is the first time I bought the Filipino brand and I’m so glad I did– I will never buy the other brands for Filipino noodles again because I’m not sure if it’s the ratio of flour or water or the process of how these rice noodles are made, but they don’t clump you as badly as other rice noodle brands– they appear to be a little more slippery, glossy and gives a tad of a jelly like bounce such as what tapioca starch gives off when added to recipes)
Mama Sita brand Palabok seasoning (I used two packs)
1 bag of frozen (thawed) or fresh shrimp (mine came with 26-49 pcs)
1- 2 heads of garlic (minced and fried until crispy with a pinch of salt) )
3-4 scallions chopped up
Boiled eggs sliced (I boiled 6 eggs)
Note* I love Tito Al’s- it’s a Filipino brand– it doesn’t seem as soft as what you snack on when you buy a pack in supermarkets, but it’s e worded that crunch that maintains its crispiness well enough to remain a little crunchy while still absorbing some of that sauce
Oil to fry the garlic
*Note: I had pork belly infused grape seed oil from the pork belly I fried the other day, but canola should be fine too
Black pepper to taste
1- Prepare your noodles according to the packet instructions (it said to boil for 4 minutes- I didn’t have to submerge in water and it still didn’t clump together)
2- Fry all that garlic to your desired level on crispiness and add a small lunch of salt and use a slimmer or spoon to set the garlic aside for later to assemble.
3- Add oil to same garlic pan and fry your shrimp until nine are pink and set aside ( 1/4 of my shrimp was a still frozen, it it cooked quickly and fine)– leave the residual juice from the shrimp if any to help flavor the sauce.
4- Prep the sauce packet (follow directions in the packet to see how much water to add) in a mixing bowl and please make sure you mix well before adding it into pan with the residual shrimp juice and keep mixing until the sauce thickens. See note below.
*Note: The packet contains cornstarch so if you add it directly into the hot residual juice without mixing first, it will get clumpy . Once you pour the sauce packet mixture in, don’t stop mixing- and just follow packet instructions (I added an extra 1/2 cup of water because ilI preferred it to not be too salty)
5- Once your sauce is down it’s time to assemble your Palabok:
A- Put down a layer of noodles (I cut mine a little to make it easier to scoop and serve later)
B- Lay your shrimp on top.
C- Scatter on top some of the crispy garlic you fried earlier.
D- Crush and crumble the chicharron as you did with the garlic.
E- Scoop or pour some of that sauce on top (depends how wet you like your noodles- kind of like how everyone has their preference with spaghetti )!
F- Put some sliced eggs on top of all of that.
G- Sprinkle a generous lager of cut up scallions and serve with lemon wedges and black pepper to taste. We served ours with steamed broccoli on the side as well.
How you ever made Pabanok before? Would love tips for from scratch Palabok recipes if you have!
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