Pancit Palabok - Traditional
For my first recipe, I wanted to tackle what I thought was a difficult dish. It was a dish my mom really didn't make because as it turns out, it's not one of her faves. This entire time I thought it was because it was a challenging, secret, next level type of dish. My aunt, or Tita Emily as you all will become familiar with, perfects this dish. She owned a small filipino restaurant in Southern Maryland for nearly two decades before she retired and would make this dish often for her catering clients.
On a day that was designated to take an all-girls family picture with my Mom, Tita, cousin Jen and her two beautiful daughters at the local lavender farm, we ended up making (AND filming) ourselves cooking Pancit Palabok! It's a rare occasion for all of us to be together, so with no prior preparation or script, we ended up with this:
A disclaimer if you are not familiar with Filipino cooking: it's very hard to follow an exact recipe as a lot of dishes are made by feel. What I'm going to provide you with is a loose guideline of what you should use, but please feel free to alter this recipe to your own liking and taste. The magic ingredient to any and all dishes is LOVE. So, make sure you are in a good mood, have good music playing, and have loved ones around to taste your masterpiece!
- Palabok or Rice Noodles - 1 pack (link above)
- Shrimp (head and shell on) - 1 1/2 lbs
- Eggs - 5
- Annatto Seeds
- Green Onions - 3 bunches
- Chicharron - 1 small bag
- Tinapa, smoked - 4 -5 or 1 pack
- Calamansi - handful, fresh or a few frozen packets
- Lemon - 2 (if calamansi isn't available)
- Patis (fish sauce)
If you are making this by yourself, it may be a good idea to follow these steps ...
- Soak palabok noodles in warm water. Set aside
- Boil whole shrimp in medium stock pot. Try not to over cook the shrimp. Take shrimp out and peel. Save the broth. Put shells and head back in broth, add water if needed and simmer on low heat.
- Boil eggs - the eggs in our video were a bit over done for my taste, I like a medium boil. Again, to each their own. Personalize your palabok.
- Finely chop the green onion and set aside.
- Soak annatto seeds in warm water in a small bowl (about 1 cup). This will be added to the shrimp broth later to add color.
- Crush chicharron into small pieces and HIDE it! If you're like me, you wont have any left when assembling the palabok.
- Shred the defrosted tinapa and discard the bones and heads. Set aside.
- Strain the broth and discard of shells/heads. Pour 1/4 of the broth in a measuring cup and add cornstarch and follow the directions on the cornstarch packets. Pour the mixture back into the pot and stir over low heat. Strain the annatto liquid and pour into broth. Flavor broth with patis, salt and pepper to taste. Continue until you reach desired thickness (refer to video)
- In a larger pot, boil water. Drop palabok noodles into boiling water for a few minutes and then strain. Place into large serving platter. The fun is about to begin.
- Start assembling! Pour sauce over the noodles. Then add the tinapa, eggs, shrimp, chicharron, and green onions.
- Top off with calamansi halves or sliced lemons.