Pancit is an all time Filipino classic and there are many versions of it; Canton, Palabok, Bihon, but the trick was to make it gluten free. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make a gluten free version, yet still have the taste I remember from childhood. Come to find out, Pancit bihon noodles are made from rice flour and cornstarch, so that was a score for gluten free noodles. Now all I had to do was pour over many recipes to see where I could make substitutions. The best solution was pairing down the liquid to chicken broth, gluten free soy sauce, and gluten free oyster sauce and making sure my rice noodles didn’t have any hidden flour filler.
The veggies are simple, just your average mirepiox (carrots, celery and onion), snow peas, garlic and lots of shredded cabbage. Some people put pork in their pancit. I prefer chicken with shrimp, but you can use whichever proteins you like in a stir fry. Lastly, it needs some acid so I use lemon. There is a Filipino citrus called calamansi which is more traditionally used as the acid, but its not always easy to find. It has a tart yet sweet taste to it.
A pro tip I learned from my mom to add more flavor to my pancit is to use shrimp shell stock. You can make shrimp shell stock by mashing up the shells and heads with a cup of water. Of course this is completely optional and to make life easy you can buy deveined shell less frozen shrimp.
Lastly, pancit is a stir fry noodle dish so get out those woks or large saute pans with high walls. There’s going to be lots of noodles flying around so it will help keep it all contained. Start by sauteing the meat and shrimp and set aside. Then saute your vegetables and set aside. Add all of your liquid into the wok, bring to boil then add entire package of noodles. Move around the noodle brick to soak up the broth one corner at a time. Flip over the brick so the dry noodles can spend some time in the liquid.
When all of the liquid is absorbed, add back the veggies and meat and stir fry for a few more minutes. Viola! You have a delicious meal that will delight everyone. Add a little bit of fresh squeezed lemon on top right before eating for an even tastier treat!