Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Pancit (Filipino Noodles)

As you may know by now, I’m half Filipino; my ‘Pino Mama is an amazing cook and she taught me my love for cooking, food, and all things delicious.  She also taught me how food should be enjoyed.  Some of my happiest childhood memories are our family dinners; and we sat down every single night as a family…does that happen much anymore?  You know how in those random questionnaires, there’s always that question that asks, “What would you have if it was your last meal?  Hands down, some of my Mom’s Filipino dishes like lumpia, adobo, fried rice and pancit (pronounced Pon Sit)! 
Mom’s been in the US now for almost 39 years so she’s much more Americanized in her cooking than she used to be.  She says that I’m a way better cook than she is but I think Moms are supposed to tell their children thinks like that, aren’t they?  Anyway, when she goes home to the Philippines she gets to eat some things from her own childhood that she doesn’t make here…they are definitely much more cultural to her and I think she probably didn’t think her family would be keen on eating strange (to us, anyway…let’s not call them strange, we’ll go with hmmm…foreign) things so she kept ingredients and recipes pretty tame so the dishes above are our little repertoire of ‘Pino food.  I think they are a good representation.
One time I was experimenting with her pancit recipe and it turned out pretty well.  I actually made it for her and she literally said, “This is the best pancit I’ve ever had – you make it better than I do!”  And now when she makes it, she makes it that way.  A compliment on my ‘Pino food from a true ‘Pino??!
This time I tried to make it even healthier by using lower sodium ingredients and here it is for you!  You can also make this a veggie only dish; just leave out the chicken.
8oz Vermicelli Rice Noodles (they need to be made of rice & I’ve seen these come really thin up to the thickness of linguine)
1 tsp sesame oil
10oz boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced or diced (I used tenders, then chopped after cooking)
1tsp minced garlic
1 cup sliced carrots
6oz mung beans or bean sprouts
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cups green cabbage, chopped
1 cup leaf spinach (I used frozen so if you use fresh, I’d use one whole bag)
1 cup sliced mushrooms
3 cups fat free reduced sodium chicken broth
2T low sodium Worcestershire sauce
2T low sodium soy sauce
And now, for my no-longer-secret ingredient:  2T Lipton Onion Soup Mix (dry)

This is what the rice noodles look like.  I prefer the very thin vermicelli kind but this is what I had:

In a wok or large skillet with higher sides, heat sesame oil and garlic until nice and hot – sizzly, if you will.
Place the chicken in and brown it on both sides until it’s no longer pink.  Remove and set aside.

In the still hot pan, add carrots, onion and mushrooms (I stir-fried my mushrooms and spinach up separately since Hubs doesn’t like them…the things you do for love…) and sautรฉ for about 6 minutes until onions are about cooked and carrots are beginning to tender
Add the chicken back into the carrot mix and stir together.

the spinach, cabbage and mung beans and incorporate everything together…heating through…you don’t want to cook the cabbage too much; it should be a little bit crunchy.  Then, remove everything from the pan.

In the still hot pan (see a trend?  Keep that pan nice and HOT!) add the chicken broth, Worcestershire, soy sauce and dry soup mix.  Heat through.
Add the dry noodles to the pan and let the liquid get absorbed.  It will happen, just wait for it…wait for it…see?  It happens pretty quickly. 
As soon as the noodles have almost absorbed all of the liquid and they are easily stirrable (pretty sure that’s a word), add the veggies and chicken back in and mix everything together; heating through.  It’s easier at this point to use tongs to mix.

That’s it!  I like to add hot chili paste to mine afterwards.  YUM!!
This makes a lot of Pancit – I’m estimating about 6 servings.

Calories 258 / Carbs 44g / Fat 2g / Protein 15g / Fiber 4g / Sodium 758mg


  1. This looks amazing!! You are more than welcome to come live with me ;)

    1. Thanks, Ann!! I'd love to have someone else to cook for, lol! Hubs is not always a fan since he's a meat & potatoes kind of guy...he's trying, though!!

  2. awesome recipe! I personally love pancit however I was wondering if you could inform me as to how does this recipe compare to the typical one as far as in nutrional value, calories, fat percentage etc. I am doing a project on Filipino cuisine and need to offer 2 kinds of dishes, one with healthier alternatives and the original recipe which could be typically higher in fat, and sodium.
    I would really appreciate this !
    Thank you :)

    1. judging by her recipe and remember what my mom does, the difference is the meat. we typically use pork, shes using chicken, the amount of noodles and the sodium content. shes choosing to use lower sodium ingredients. typically we use regular soysauce and oyster sauce, both combined are high in sodium. but we never did sesame or worstshire in ours...so i wonder how does it compare to oyster.

  3. Thank you for this! I work with seniors, many of whom are Pilipino, and we're starting a cooking group emphasizing healthier alternatives to favorite receipes. This will be our first recipe!

  4. Try it with Spaghetti squash instead of rice noodles. Prepare your mom to be wowed.

  5. I'm giving this recipe to my american friends when I give them pinoy cooking lessons tomorrow. I love how you made the steps so easy. Thank you!!!!

  6. Wow...all detailed....love Filipino food๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘


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