Monday, August 17, 2009

Pancit Malabon

So what is Pancit Malabon? For those of you who have never heard of this dish, it is a delicacy from Malabon, Rizal in the Philippines. It is similar to another delicacy called Pancit Luglug from Pampanga, or the Pancit Palabok.

What's the difference between Pancit Malabon and Pancit Palabok? And what is Pancit Luglug? All these dishes look similar, in the sense that, they are all rice noodles topped or mixed with a red sauce with different garnishing. Only rice noodle and not the egg noodle is used in this dish. For the Pancit Malabon, I used the Poolee Rice Noodle that's made in Taiwan. They have the thin version and the regular version. It's written on the cellophane packaging that the thin version is for the Luglug. I tried both for making Pancit Malabon and they both turned out okay.

Now, for the Pancit Luglug and the Pancit Palabok, I will use the thinner kind of rice noodle or the "Bihon" noodle. The sauce is not mix with the noodle, but just poured on top.You also do not have to cut the noodles before you pour the sauce.

My advise is, when you use the Poolee noodle for the Pancit Malabon, you have to soak and rinse the noodles more than two or three minutes in boiling water, as what's written on the packaging. In my experience, some of the noodles were not cooked, after soaking them in boiling water for 3 minutes. I did mine for about 8 to 10 minutes. Also, one tip I can give you is to cut the noodles sparingly before you mix the red sauce with the noodle.

The red sauce is made out of the juice of Annatto seeds thicken with cornstarch. I prefer using the Annatto seeds against using instant mixes because I get the color and flavor I am looking for. Plus, there's no MSG.

Prepare the garnishing first
Before I started cooking the sauce, I prepared the garnishing s in advance, because you need the shrimp water to use for the sauce. The garnishing are what you put on top of the noodle after mixing with the red sauce. Here are the ingredients for the garnishing according to my layering: ground Chicharon (pork cracklings), toasted flaked Tinapa (smoked fish), blanched sliced Pechay Baguio (Chinese cabbage), boiled mussels without shell, sliced Adobong Pusit (Squid Adobo), cooked oysters, chopped green onion, quartered hard-boiled duck eggs (chicken eggs will do).

How to cook the sauce
Saute the garlic and onions until transparent. Then add the ground pork and saute until cooked or for 5 minutes, followed by the diced firm tofu. Season with fish sauce. Add Annatto water and the shrimp water. Add the cornstarch mixed with water. If it's too thick, add water. 

To extract red coloring from Annatto seeds
Toasted the seeds in a saucepan over medium heat in oil. Put a tablespoon of canola or vegetable oil and move them around with a wooden spatula (I keep one just for mixing Annatto seeds) until color is released from the seeds. You will notice the seeds will turn dark when the color is released. Add 1/2 cup water (or more) and boil for 3 or more minutes. Strain.

2 pounds ground pork
4 to 6 cups firm tofu - cut into 1/3" cubes
4 to 6 tablespoons garlic, minced
4 cups yellow onions, chopped
3 ounces Annatto seeds, toasted and boiled until color is released, then add 1 or two canola or vegetable oil, add water and boil until color mixes with water
3/4 cup or more cornstarch, dissolved in water before adding to make thick sauce
4 to 6 cups shrimp water, pound shrimp heads, add water, squeeze and strain juice out
Extra water if needed, when you have mixed the sauce with the noodles, the liquid evaporates or the noodles soaks it all up. Add more water. You do not want your noodles dry. There must be just a little sauce oozing out when you plate them.
1/2 cup or more pork fat or lard to saute  the sauce
9 or more tablespoons Patis or fish sauce - this is if you are cooking the 20 ounces Poolee Rice Noodles. If you are not, lessen the fish sauce, or adjust to your taste

2 pounds boiled mussels
1 pound medium-sized shrimps - remove head and set aside to pound well for the juice before boiling; slit the shells in the back to devein, then boil ; remove shell and slice each shrimp into two lengthwise after boiling (for garnishing)
1 pound squid - separate the head from the body; remove tough round part on mouth; remove long cellophane-like inside the body and the sac where food eaten was stored; leave black coloring or squid's ink inside; sliced into 1/2" and make into Adobo (for garnishing)
4 to 6 hard-boiled eggs - quartered (for garnishing)
2 cups Mung bean sprouts - (optional for garnishing)
1/2 head blanched Chinese cabbage or Pechay Baguio, sliced into 1/3" (for garnishing)
2 cups fish Tinapa, flaked and toasted in pan (for garnishing)
3 cups pounded pork Chicharon (for garnishing)
1 cup green onion, chopped
lemons or Calamansi, for garnishing and seasoning
dashes of ground pepper

* This recipe was shared by China de la Pena and her dad, the relatives of my step-daughter's husband, who were originally from Malabon, Rizal, Philippines. My research led to my modifying the recipe by adding more garnishing on top of the noodles.

Crabs and Lobsters

6 Dungeness crabs - about 2 1/2 pounds each
3 Maine lobsters - about 3 1/2 pounds each
4 lemons
1 cup butter
dash of salt & pepper
1 tablespoon grated garlic


In a metal steamer, fill the bottom part with 6 cups of water and bring to a rapid boil.
On the top part with big holes, put about 2 or 3 crabs depending on how big your steamer is. Steam for 15 to 20 minutes or until shell becomes red and cooked. Do the same thing with the rest including the lobsters. 

Lemon butter sauce
In a saucepan, slowly melt 1 cup of unsalted butter that was cut into small pieces under medium low heat. Add the juice of one lemon and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix well with a spoon. Put in a serving bowl and use as a dip.

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