When I was just starting in my job, pancit puti used to be a craze in the office. All birthdays were celebrated with bilao upon bilao of this pale noodle concoction, delivered by LSS Foods.
The fad has passed, but every Thursday an enterprising officemate includes a small plastic bag of pancit puti in her weekly menu. Her pancit is not faithful to that of LSS's, but I like hers better because she uses minced chicken instead of the original pork slices - that's pork with skin and the sliver of fat. And, because hers is more like the pancit puti that I cook at home.
Being a lover of all things noodles I was ecstatic to add pancit puti to my pancit repertoire when I was first introduced to it. It is simplicity personified, but it can be very tasty, with the blending of several flavors. It is a good companion to any other dish you would want to serve, but it can also stand on its own. It is also a fresh alternative to the usual soy-drenched pancit.
So during parties at home, especially when I have visitors coming from out of the city who I am sure haven't tried it, I serve pancit puti.
I thought it fitting to continue my posts in this blog after a long hiatus with pancit puti because this serves as the starting point - of a new direction that resulted from several developments in my life, and which will surely affect my writing and the course that this blog will be taking.
First is that I have successfully finished my training, which unexpectedly stretched to more than a year. Thank you very much for the good wishes - I am now in an assignment that would probably take me around the country more often (yehey!).
Second is that Cavite has become more than a weekend thing for me - it is now my permanent home, at least for the next five years or so. During a much-needed vacation after the training I had the opportunity to settle all our things and the family down, got to know the wet market intimately, and have started to sample the local food scene with the viewpoint of a resident and not just of a weekend visitor.
So this blog will now be dotted with the Cavite foodscape. Pangasinan food will continue to be the main theme, and as before my blogs will be interspersed with my favorites and discoveries in other places, with the food scene in my place of work, and now Cavite, being regular threads.
Before I came back to work I made sure to have our place blessed, throwing a party for all the neighbors and new acquaintances afterwards. Of course, it was the perfect way to introduce pancit puti, especially since the community is made up of a hodge-podge of immigrants from all the country's islands.
5 whole cloves garlic
oil for frying
1 1/2 kgs chicken soup pack or chicken bones
minced garlic and finely chopped onions for sauteeing
1/2 kg bihon or stick noodles
patis or salted fish sauce
ground white pepper
spring onion leaves
- Peel the 5 cloves of garlic and finely pound in a mortar.
- Heat over medium fire enough oil for deep frying. Fry the garlic until golden brown, turning occasionally to keep from burning.
- Drain well of excess oil. Set aside. This keeps in a tightly sealed container for weeks.
- Saute chicken in garlic and onions. Add a dash of patis and pepper. Cover and let simmer.
- When the chicken juices have come out transfer to a pot full of boiling water. Cover and let boil over medium heat for about 30 minutes.
- Ladle out the chicken on a plate to cool, then pick out all the chicken meat.
- The chicken broth can also be made in advance, storing it and the chicken meat in the refrigerator, or freezer if not to be used for several days.
- Bring the chicken stock again to a boil. While waiting for the stock to heat, soak the noodles in tap water, for about 10 minutes.
- Add the noodles to the boiling broth, stirring once in a while to keep from sticking to the bottom. The noodles are cooked when they have turned transparent and are soft to the bite. If there is excess stock, drain.
- Mix into the noodles the chicken meat, about half of the fried garlic, sesame oil and patis, adding small quantities at a time to ensure that the pancit does not get too salty. Mix well to distribute the flavors evenly.
- Garnish with finely chopped green onion leaves. Serve on the side more of the chopped green onion leaves, the rest of the fried garlic, sliced calamansi, patis and ground pepper. Notes:
- 1 kg chicken thighs or quarters can be substituted for the soup pack.
- You can use previously made/commercially bought chicken stock instead of water or use chicken bouillon to add more flavor.
- Before adding the minced chicken to the cooked noodles, you can also saute them again in garlic and onions.
- Ground black pepper can also be used instead of white pepper - this is just in keeping with the white theme and black pepper actually stands out more if you like your food ma-paminta, although I've read somewhere that black pepper has more toxins than white.
- The amount of garlic, sesame oil and patis will depend on how you want each of their flavors to stand out in the pancit.
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