Even in my elementary school days I feel our dear old Andy Boni got a raw deal. I do believe he should be our national hero for he started the Katipunan, he started the ball rolling to begin the revolution and break free from the colonial masters. And what did he get for all his heroism and troubles? He got salvaged (executed) for being a rival party in the election for the head honcho of the revolutionary government. Then he lost out again almost a hundred years later in being a national hero. If that's not a raw deal I don't know what is.
It's no use arguing now about his place in history but what is undeniable is his courage, heroism, and his love of his country and fellow Filipinos. To you Andres, a big lambanog toast for being a real Pinoy! Thank you for all the things you have done for us.
What I have in mind to cook for him is something that can be considered essentially Filipino and at the same practical and nutritious for a revolutionary who had to eat on the go. And I thought why not our classic pancit. It's a complete meal in itself. It's got carbs, protein from the meat, and some wholesome veggies thrown in the process. Sounds like a good idea to me. :)
For the pancit recipe itself, this is the culmination of several years of my family's sacrifice of eating pancit as soggy and undercooked or dry and a bit tough or almost tasteless (prompting lots of toyo and lemon juice heaped on it). It took me awhile to get the hang of cooking the noodles just right. There is also the case with the oil, I used to put as little oil as possible while at the same time wondering what makes my mother's pancit well separated and really nice. Well I increased the oil exponentially with each batch - et voila! The oil is crucial! (I bet my doctor's not happy about this.) Too little will make it dry (obviously) and will tend to make it clump together. I also took my mother's advice of cooking the veggies separately to prevent it getting soggy. So like most dishes, cooking pancit successfully has a lot to do with timing. One revelation as well is that the richer your stock the better tasting your pancit will be. That my friend is guaranteed. :)
Pancit Bihon Guisado
250 g thin or medium rice noodles (bihon)
3 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 medium onion - sliced
1/3 cup jullienned carrots
1/4 cup sliced celery (optional)
15 pieces mangetout (sitcharo)
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 cup sliced meat - chicken, pork, shrimp or combination of these*
1 1/2 cups rich stock
2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
freshly ground pepper
additional stock or water
- Soak the noodles in tepid water for about 20 minutes or until soft. Using scissors, cut into desired lengths. Drain and set aside.
- In a wok, heat 1 Tbsp of the oil in medium heat. Saute half of the garlic and half of the onions.
- Add the meat and stir fry a little. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add about 1/4 cup stock or water and simmer until done. You may have to add a bit more stock from time to time to keep it from drying out.
- When the meat is done, add the carrots, mangetout, and celery. Stir to combine. There should still be some liquid in the wok if not add about 2-3 Tbsp stock and then cook under cover for 2 minutes.
- Add the cabbage, stir fry for a few seconds and cook under cover for 1 minute.
- Remove from heat and transfer to a dish. Set aside.
- Using the same wok (no need to wash unless there's some burnt crust in the bottom), heat the remaining 2 Tbsp oil on medium heat.
- Saute the remaining garlic and onion until onion is translucent.
- Tip in the stock and any sauce drained from the meat and veg mixture.
- Add the soy sauce and season with black pepper.
- Bring to boil then add the noodles. Cover and bring to boil again then lower heat to medium-low.
- Once the sauce starts getting absorbed by the noodles (about 5 minutes), toss and stir the noodles (preferably with large forks for easier tossing) until all the sauce is absorbed and the noodles are fully cooked. The tossing also make sure that the strands are separated and do not clump together. Don't worry if the bottom is getting a bit crusty. At the end there should be no sauce left but the noodles should still be moist, cooked but not soggy.
- Add half of the meat/veg mixture and toss to mix.
- Dish up and transfer to a dish. Top with the rest of the meat/veg mixture. Serve with calamansi or lemon on the side.