Pancit Palabok

“Come over for dinner Analiza I’ll make you some Pancit Palabok” my cousin texted me, she is along with my mum one of my sources for Filipino food.

Pancit palabok is another example of Filipino’s love of noodles. This noodle dish though comes covered with a thick red shrimp-flavored sauce, and a mishmash of toppings such as fried garlic bits, boiled shrimp, smoked fish flakes, crushed pork cracklings and hard-boiled eggs.

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The first time I tried this dish was as a kid, at a Filipino party I was handed a plate with noodles slathered in red meat sauce, and thinking it was something else I took a big bite. It wasn’t something else it was this dish, my face stiffened in a probably strange grimace and I might have gaged too as little children sometimes do. Today though I like the dish, they say that if you try something 25 times you will begin to like it.

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Serves 4

1 pack (1 lb) rice noodles (bihon)

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Sauce

2 tbsp cooking oil

400 g ground pork

1 tbsp anatto powder

3 cups pork broth

1 piece shrimp cube( bullion)

3-4 tablespoons cornstarch, 1/4 cup cold water

2 tbsp fish sauce

½ tsp ground black pepper

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Toppings

2 pieces fried firm tofu (tokwa), cubed

½ cup tinapa flakes (smoked fish)

½ cup chicharon, pounded(pork rind)

2 hard boiled eggs,sliced

½ cup cooked shrimps (boiled or steamed)

¼ cup green onion or scallions, finely chopped

3 tbsp fried garlic

2 pieces lemon, sliced (or 6 to 8 pieces calamansi)

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Instructions

Soak the rice noodles in water for about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Saute the minced pork in a deep pan with oil until cooked, about 5 minutes.

Dilute the annato powder in pork broth then pour the mixture in the saucepan.

Bring to a boil (If you are using anatto seeds, soak them first in 3 tbsp water to bring-out the color)

Add the shrimp cube and stir and simmer for 3 minutes

Add the corn starch mix gradually while stirring.

Add the fish sauce and ground black pepper then simmer until sauce becomes thick. Set aside.

Meanwhile, boil enough water in a pot.

Place the soaked noodles in a strainer (use metal or bamboo strainer) then submerge the strainer in the boiling water for about a minute or until the noodles are cooked. (make sure that the noodles are still firm)

Remove the strainer from the pot and drain the liquid from the noodles.

Place the noodles on a serving plate.

Pour the sauce on top of the noodles then arrange the toppings over the sauce.

Serve with a slice of lemon or calamansi. Share and enjoy!

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