Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pancit Sotanghon

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen Blogs
Pancit is a very popular dish that is a staple in every Filipino celebration. Any birthday, fiesta, baptism, wedding or even a trip to the beach almost always warrants the presence of pancit. The term is actually a generic name to all things noodle-based and it would take me some time to realize that there are different variations depending on which part of the country you come from. Growing up, my family always made pancit bihon using bean thread noodles with pork or chicken and a slew of vegetables. Another simple dish commonly served for dinner at our house is sotanghon (cellophane noodles) usually cooked with canned sardines, a favorite of my Dad's.

Moving to Manila, I was able to experience pancit canton, luglug and palabok. Canton is made with dried egg noodles while luglog and palabok are made with thick rice noodles although they vary in the sauce used. A favorite of mine is pancit sotanghon cooked with chicken strips (or shrimps), wood ear mushrooms, green onions, roasted chopped garlic and seasoned with calamansi juice (a much more intense citrus similar to a key lime but not as bitter). In most cases, they also serve this with slices of hard boiled eggs. This has definitely become a must for most office parties due to the fact that it is much easier to package and deliver compared to the other variety. Also, for somebody trying out their culinary skills, this is definitely a good place to start. 

Tania, my Danish penpal of 26 years (yeah, penpals still do exist although we have updated the snail mail writing with Facebook) caters to groups of people and she requested that I send her a recipe of this dish when she saw it posted on my Facebook page. That was last year and at that time, I didn't really keep a written recipe of dishes that I know by heart. It is only now that I finally decided to write this one for her. I always felt bad that instead of writing down the recipe for her, I gave her the link to one of my go-to sites when it comes to cooking Visayan (the generic term of the province where I grew up) food, Manong Ken's Carinderia. I sure hope that this somewhat detailed summary of making this dish will make up for my shortcomings to a wonderful and loyal friend. 

Pancit Sotanghon (Dan's version) 

2 lbs dried cellophane noodles (or rice vermicelli noodles as long as they are of the clear variety)
4 cups shredded cooked chicken meat (white or dark)
1 cup wood ear mushrooms (only if available, otherwise, use shitake or just omit)
1 onion, peeled and sliced thinly
4 - 6 cups chicken broth
2 tbsp canola oil
salt and pepper to taste
sesame oil
1 to 2 tbsp of fish sauce (optional)


1/2 cup green onions, sliced thinly
1 bulb of garlic, (cloves peeled and chopped finely)
6 hard boiled eggs, peeled, cooled and sliced into wedges
lime, lemon, key limes or calamansi (depending on your preference or availability), sliced into wedges

1. Take 2-3 lbs of chicken and cook in a large pot with 6 cups of hot
    water. Add an onion, a few stalks of celery and a carrot sliced in  
    large chunks and flavor the broth with salt and pepper. Make sure  
    you get the bone-in chicken pieces as this makes a much more  
    flavorful broth. I also prefer dark meat but a combination of  
    both white and dark meat will work. Adjust the flavor of the broth so 
    that you get more flavor in both the meat and the broth. Once  
    the chicken is cooked, remove from the broth and cool. Skin and     shred the meat. Set aside. 

2. Over low heat in a large non-stick skillet or wok, toast the garlic in   
    the oil until golden brown. Remove garlic from the skillet and lay flat  
    in a paper towel and set aside. Add the onions to the garlic infused  
    oil and saute until transluscent. Add the chicken meat and mix until  
    the chicken is coated with the oil. Add 4 cups of broth and let it     simmer.

3. Add the dry noodles and mix well. Lower the heat to give the  
    noodles enough time to absorb the broth. Add more broth if  
    necessary until the noodles are fully cooked. You can also add hot  
    water if you run out of broth but check for flavor and adjust     accordingly.

4. Adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and fish sauce (if using) and  
    drizzle in the sesame oil (a few passes will do as the flavor is quite  
    intense). Some prefer to use white pepper instead of black pepper  
    so do be cautious at is it easy to overdo the spiciness with the  
    white pepper. This is definitely not a spicy dish.

5. To serve, arrange the noodles on a tray then gather the chicken  
    pieces at the center and arrange the greens onions and the boiled  
    eggs decoratively around the chicken pieces. Top with the  
    roasted garlic and place the wedges of citrus on the edges. Have     one citrus wedge for each serving.

6. To eat, spritz a few squirts of the citrus into the noodles and enjoy!  
    Best served warm.

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen Blogs
I hope this semi-quantified recipe of sotanghon will inspire aspiring cooks to try out their culinary wings. It is an easy enough dish to make and very forgiving to a novice chef. 

1 comment:

  1. ... mmmmmmm... this is one of my favorites, too... :-D