Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Recipe: Filipino Shrimp & Pork Pancit

When beetles fight these battles in a bottle with their paddles and the bottle's on a poodle and the poodle's eating noodles... they call this a muddle puddle tweetle poodle beetle noodle bottle paddle battle. – Dr. Seuss, Fox in Socks

Say that quote five times fast. It's actually a little applicable to the my home life. We call Henry, our Bouvier, "poodle" as a term of endearment. And the evening I made this poodle certainly had his fill of unused rice noodles. He loves them.

If you read yesterday's post you know that I made Italian pork steaks. The situation arose where I had a small piece of meat left over. So I had to deal with it.

I do hate to waste uncooked food. Cooked food seems to last in my refrigerator until it becomes science experiments... But enough about that.

When cooking shrimp with a sauce never cook them the whole
way through. They will finish cooking in the sauce to just
the right doneness. There's a substantial difference. Overcooked
shrimp become tough.
Many Asian dishes have pork as a "secondary" ingredient, usually with shrimp. So I thought that would be a good place to start searching. When I typed in my search ingredients into Google up popped many recipes for something called pancit – a Filipino dish.

It's funny because it had never registered before to me and I thought I knew (a little) about Asian cooking. Just a little.

Pancit (or pansit) is the word for noodles in Filipino cooking. It derives from the Chinese pain i sit, which means "something cooked fast." That's a good definition, because this is a quick dish.

There are many, many versions of pancit, including ingredients such as clams, chicken, pork, shrimp, cabbage, bok choy and tropical fruits. This just scratches the surface. It was a bit difficult to pare something down that I thought would go together (and fit what was in my pantry).

Since pancit can have so many variations it could be classified as an Asian home-style comfort food. Each kitchen has their own particular spin on this dish, based on the whims of the cook and the region of the Philippines where they live. 

There are specific recipes, but I suspect home cooks don't follow a strict set of directions except those in their head.

Like the majority of Asian dishes, most of the time is in preparing the ingredients. Cooking them takes no time at all. Remember that as your counter space quickly fills with ingredients ready to be added as the dish cooks. It'll help you remember you actually are making progress toward dinner!

Cooking takes just a few minutes. It's the preparation
that takes the most time in Asian dishes.
Chicken & Pork Pancit
Prep: 15 Min | Cook: 10 Min  |  Serves  4
275 g flat rice noodles
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 lb shrimp, peeled
1/4 lb pork, sliced
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 medium onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped
2 thai red chillies, minced
5 cups bok choy, green and white chopped
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp fish sauce
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp brown sugar
1  bunch green onions, sliced

Bring water to a boil in a pot. Add the rice noodles and remove from the heat. Let them soak in the hot water for 20 minutes. Drain. 

Prepare the rest of the dish while the noodles are soaking.

Slice the pork and coat with the cornstarch. Shake off the excess.

Heat the oil in a wok over high heat. Add the pork slices and fry until just no longer pink – no longer, about 4 minutes. Remove to a bowl.

Mix together the chicken stock, oyster sauce, fish sauce and brown sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.

Chop the onion, garlic, ginger and thai chillies and add to the oil in the wok. Fry for about 1 minute. Then add the shrimp and fry until almost pink, but not cooked through, about 2 minutes.

Add the pork and bok choy and toss well. Then add the sauce, bring to a simmer and sauté until the bok choy has wilted.

Add the noodles and green onions and toss well. Serve immediately.


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