Pancit Canton – A Festive Treat For Any Day
Pancit is among the favorite Filipino dishes inspired by the Chinese. It is an ubiquitous dish in this country of ours – may it be in homes, karinderia, or restaurants, this is one Filipino food that won’t be out of the menu.
Pancit Canton is among our family’s favorite because of the flavorful noodles used in this dish are already seasoned before dried. You will often see the noodles’ packaging with an image of a huge prawn, simply stating that the noodles are flavored with prawn or it is seafood-flavored. Nevertheless, the humble Canton noodles work their magic once cooked with pork or chicken and lots of veggies. Truly, a sumptuous fiesta whenever this is served in our home.
Here’s our version of Pinoy Pancit Canton.
Pancit canton noodles
Chicharon baboy/crunchy pork rind
Pork or chicken meat cut into cubes
Chinese cabbage cut into bite-sized shreds
Carrots cut into sticks, but bigger than julienne
Sugar snow peas or sitsaro or tsitsaro in Tagalog [can be sliced into three or whole if smaller]
Kintsay [looks like Italian flat leaf parsley] or celery sliced thinly – use stalks and leaves for their flavor
If you’re going to use lechon kawali instead of chicken, you should first boil the pork belly [liempo] in salt and water until tender [depends on how soft you like it – some like the off-the-bone soft]. Then fry the pork in hot oil, ensuring the skin gets crispy. You will need the broth or some of it for the pancit.
If you’ll use chicken, you just need to cut the raw fillets and liver in cubes since these will sauteed.
In a hot wok [or pan, or kawali], fry in some oil the sliced chorizo de Bilbao. Once the pieces are a bit golden brown, remove them from the pan and set aside. Fry in the same hot oil some sliced squid balls until brownish. Remove from the pan and set aside with the chorizo.
Saute some chopped garlic until the aroma comes out. You can also set aside golden brown garlic for topping. Add the chopped onions and saute until translucent. Add the chicken and liver and cook until brown. Add soy sauce and stir-fry the contents until the liquid bubbles. Add some water if chicken is used. Add broth to the soy sauce in sauteed garlic and onions and bring to a boil. Add the carrots since they take longer to cook.
Add the ground chicharon [pork rind/crackling]. Add the canton noodles about a minute or two after adding the carrots, and make sure to mix everything well. Once the noodles are almost cooked or already al dente, add the cabbage, snow peas, and kintsay or celery [whichever you prefer to use]. Add the fried chorizo and squid balls as well. Continue to mix the noodles and veggies until well incorporated, but be careful not to break the noodles.
If you worry about the amount of soy sauce, it is best to add a ladle-full first while sauteing Taste the broth and soy mixture before adding the rest of the ingredients. Adjust the soy sauce or broth/water when needed. You can add oyster sauce if you wish – this makes the pancit canton more flavorful and delicious. But it is not mandatory.
You can also set aside some veggies, but you would need to saute all of them before adding any liquid. This is usually done for pancit bihon or if you want to use them as topping for the pancit.
If you’d like to use some prawns on top, it is best to poach the prawns in boiling water with little salt. It only takes minutes to cook, so be careful not to overcook it; otherwise, the prawns will harden or become rubbery.
Once the noodles are done and the veggies are cooked but not soggy, it is time to turn off the heat. Top the pancit canton with the poached prawns and serve hot.