Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Taste of the Philippines

Sorry it's been a while. It's funny what life throws at you when you least expect it. After many changes at work, I have had no energy to come home and slave over the stove. It just was not at the top of my list.

Although I've been out of the kitchen, I performed quite a feat last week. I took a stab at a traditional Filipino noodle dish called Pancit (pronounced pun-sit.) The term Pancit is derived from the Hookien pian i sit which means "something conveniently cooked fast." You may be wondering why I am telling you this... my reason: NOTHING about this was convenient OR fast!!! (haha!) The end result was delicious, but once you see all of the ingredients that must be chopped before cooking, you will totally understand! (Another tricky thing about this dish are the noodles. The best to use are Pancit Bihon rice sticks, which aren't sold at any typical grocery store; you'll have to go to an Asian market. BUT lucky for you, the recipe comes right on the bag.)

1/4 cup cooking oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, minced
1 small cabbage, shredded
1 large carrot, in slices
1 bunch of Chinese leeks or fresh green beans
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
1 bundle of bijon rice sticks
1 tsp salt
2 pieces of Chorizo, sliced
2 chicken breasts, chopped small
1 1/2 cup of shrimp

1) Prepare vegetables as instructed above. (This will take some time, but once combined, they look beautiful together. See image above.)
2) Soak rice sticks in cold water for 8 to 10 minutes; strain immediately then set aside.
3) Saute garlic in cooking oil, add onions, carrot and cabbage. Season with soy sauce and fry for 2 minutes.
4) Add broth and simmer. When vegetables are cooked, mix in rice sticks then season
with salt.
5) Garnish with Chorizo, chicken and shrimp and serve.

This doesn't sound difficult, right? It's really not. Aside from time spent chopping and mincing, the only time I ran into trouble was when it came time to mix the rice sticks in with the broth and veggies. There wasn't enough broth to fully cover the rice sticks so even after mixing, stirring, folding and anything else I could think of doing to combine the ingredients, I was still left with dry rice sticks. To make my life a little easier, I just removed any uncovered sticks and set them aside for later use.

If you're ever feeling adventurous, you should give this "convenient to cook" dish a try! ;)

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