In the Filipino vernacular, pancit simply refers to noodles. This version (pancit bam-i) uses both rice vermicelli (bihon) and Chinese wheat noodles (pancit canton), but you can make the dish with either type of noodle, or flat egg noodles (pancit miki) and cellophane noodles (sotanghon). Just like fried rice, you can add any combination of meat, seafood, and vegetables—everything from shrimp to Chinese sausage to mung bean sprouts.
Time: 35 minutes
Makes: 6 to 8 servings
8 ounces dried rice vermicelli
8 ounces dried Chinese wheat noodles (pancit canton)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more as needed
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (3/4 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced (1 tablespoon)
1 pound skinless boneless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bitesized
1/4 cup citrus soy sauce (Toyomansi)
1/4 cup regular soy sauce
1 small head cabbage, shredded (4 cups)
2 large carrots, peeled and shredded (2 cups)
2 stalks celery, trimmed and chopped (1 cup)
Chopped green onions for garnish
In a heatproof bowl, soak the rice vermicelli in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes until soft and pliable. Cut into 4-inch lengths, drain, and set aside.
Cook the wheat noodles in a large pot of boiling water according to package directions until al dente. Tip into a colander over the sink and rinse under cold running water. Drain and set aside. Preheat a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Swirl in the oil and heat until it becomes runny and starts to shimmer. Throw in the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is soft and translucent, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the chicken and stir and cook until no longer pink, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the citrus soy sauce and regular soy sauce and toss to coat. Toss in the cabbage, carrots, and celery and stir and cook until the cabbage wilts, 2 to 3 minutes.
Throw in the vermicelli and noodles and stir everything swiftly around the wok until well mixed and heated through (use a spatula in each hand to evenly toss the noodles if necessary), 4 to 5 minutes. Bite into a rice noodle to see if it’s tender. Adjust seasonings if necessary. If the noodles are looking a little dry, add water or chicken stock a few tablespoons at a time.
If the noodles start to stick to the wok, add more oil. Transfer the noodles to a serving platter, scatter with green onions, and serve.
Grandma Says: For an even tastier dish, soak the rice vermicelli in warm chicken stock instead of water so it absorbs all that flavor.
Recipes and photographs excerpted with permission from The Asian Grandmother's Cookbook, Home Cooking from Asian American Kitchens by Patricia Tanumihardja (Sasquatch Books, October 2009)