I’ll admit it, I wasn’t a big fan of pancit when I was younger.
I was a surprisingly picky kid, the kind of kid that picked each individual pea out of her fried rice. Mac and cheese spoke more to me than a pile of noodles dotted with vegetables and chicken breast. It’s just wasn’t my jam (hated jam too), but pancit is a Filipino staple.
Pancit ‘PAHN-SIT,’ in its most basic form, means noodles. It can be any kind: lo mein, vermicelli, egg noodles, rice noodles, whatever. ‘Pancit bihon’ means rice noodles. ‘Pancit canton’ means egg noodles. Just like adobo, there are countless versions of pancit, every family makes it differently. This version uses both rice and egg noodles and is mixed with tender pieces of thinly sliced chicken, cabbage, carrots, and green beans, then topped with lemon juice, scallions, and hard-boiled eggs. See my Filipino essentials list for the specific brand of canton noodles my family buys. Here’s everything you’ll need:
2 Tbsp oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots or 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 chicken breasts, sliced thin
2 carrots, julienned
1/4 small green cabbage, sliced thin
1lb green beans, sliced thin (optional)
3 cups chicken broth
1lb shrimp (optional)
1 pack rice vermicelli noodles
1 pack canton noodles
3 Tbsp soy sauce
scallions, chopped for garnish
hard-boiled eggs, sliced in half for garnish
lemon wedges for garnish
TIP You can use chicken bouillon and water in place of the chicken broth (my mom does), just be wary of the additional salt if any.
Step One: Heat a wok or large pot on medium-high heat. Add oil, garlic, and shallots and fry until softened.
Step Two: Add the chicken and let it brown, then add your vegetables and broth. Bring everything to a boil, cover, and let it simmer until the chicken is cooked and the vegetables are to your liking. Cook it longer if you prefer softer vegetables.
If using shrimp, add them towards the end when the chicken and vegetables are just about done. Don’t overcook your shrimp!
Step Three: Remove the chicken and vegetables from the pot and set them aside, leaving the broth in the pan. Add soy sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Then, add the vermicelli noodles, and cook for a few minutes.
If there isn’t enough liquid you can add a cup of hot water (Add as much water as you need one cup at a time).
Next, add the Canton noodles, mixing the noodles together as they cook.
Step Four: Lower the heat and let it sit on low for five minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. We’re not making soup here. Once the noodles are cooked, put your chicken and vegetables back in and mix well.
Step Five: Let sit 1-2 minutes before serving. Serve hot, garnish with lemon wedges, hard-boiled eggs, and chopped green onion.