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Test Kitchen: Pancit is a celebratory dish at home

By Jessica Rodrigo
Sept. 11, 2013 at 4:11 a.m.

Pancit bihon is a dish I grew up eating on special occasions. It's a quick dish and can be prepared with vegetables commonly found in the crisper bins in the refrigerator.

FILIPINO PANCIT

• 1 package of pancit bihon (or canton*)

• 1 cup carrots, sliced

• 1 cup celery, sliced

• 1 cup cabbage, sliced

• 1 cup Chinese sausage, sliced (or protein of choice)

• 2 cans of chicken broth (or vegetable broth)

• Water, hot (to be used if the noodles are still hard)

• 1/4-1/2 cup soy sauce (adjust to taste)

• 1 lemon, halved

• 1/2

Saute Chinese sausage in a large, deep pan over a medium-high heat. Once the sausage is cooked and crisp, remove sausage and set aside. In the same pan, add vegetables to sausage oil. Cook until soft and return sausage to pan. Add chicken broth, soy sauce, water and the juice of half a lemon to the pan and bring to a simmer. You can cut or break the noodles before adding them to the broth or leave them whole. Make sure that all the noodles are coated with the broth and then cover with a lid and leave over medium heat, remembering to mix occasionally to let all the noodles have a chance to soak up the broth. Once all the noodles have taken on the color of the broth, turn off heat and serve hot. A few drops of fish sauce and a quick squeeze of a lemon will add extra flavor to the noodles before devouring.

*In my experience, the bihon noodles require more liquid to cook than the canton noodles. If you use the canton noodles, start with less broth and add more if you need it.

Can't make it? go get it.

Victoria's Tru Thai/Big D's BBQ

Address: 811 Rio Grande St., Victoria

Phone: 361-572-8851

Hours: 11 a.m-9 p.m. daily

Special occasions at home used to be well-orchestrated events with spreads of food on colorful tablecloths and stacks of paper plates with bamboo plate holders. The usual lineup of dishes were marinated kebabs, Filipino egg rolls and pancit.

Now that we are older, there are far fewer dishes and just the normal dinner table will do the trick. Even though I am not home when a birthday or a holiday comes around, I can bet my paycheck that pancit will be on the table. Serve it with toasted bread and butter, and you have yourself a Filipino tradition.

It's an easy dish, and simple planning at the Asian market can set you up for a few weeks if you're looking for a quick fix. Oh, and recently, I noticed the H-E-B Plus! has built up a nice little slice of Filipino food on the international food aisle.

I've seen the noodles for pancit placed on the bottom shelf before and was elated to find even the chewing gum I spent so many years of my childhood gobbling up one box at a time.

There are two kinds of noodles for pancit that you can use. The pancit canton noodles are like lo mein noodles, which are yellow, thick and gummy; and the pancit bihon, which are often referred to as glass noodles, are white, thin and can be hard and chewy. In this recipe, you can use both or, if you want, you can also combine them, which is something I have seen my mom do.

You can leave the recipe vegetarian or use any protein you'd fancy; leftover chicken from last night, sliced pork or Wednesday's barbecued steak or scrambled eggs.

The first time I had the pancit at Victoria's Tru Thai, before the transition, it reminded me of my pop's version. The few differences were the cilantro, scallions and scrambled egg throughout. Other than that, it was nearly spot on.

Have a recipe or a dish you want me to try? Email me at jrodrigo@vicad.com or tweet me via @EatsEatsEats. I'm always hungry.

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