Try this easy stir-fry noodle recipe, Pancit Bihon, a popular Filipino rice vermicelli noodle dish made flavorful with meat, shrimps, and vegetables making this a complete meal in one. Popularly served at birthdays and on every special occasion!
To many Filipinos, a birthday will not be complete without eating pancit. It is said to symbolize long life and you are not to cut it while cooking.
This belief, I think, we inherited from the Chinese in early years. So is the pancit or ‘pansit’ which is translated from Hokkien ‘pian i sit’ that means ‘convenient food’.
Although the noodles may be of Chinese origin the dish itself is 100% Filipino.Methods of cooking Pancit Guisado or Pancit Bihon varies from one person to another. Although the basic ingredients are all the same, some prefer to use shrimps while others chicken or pork.
My mother would use soy sauce to season while I use fish sauce.
All I can say is that no matter how you make it or with what, it will always be one of Filipinos favorite dish.
Additional Tip in Cooking Vermicelli Noodles
Different brands of vermicelli noodles could result in differently when cooked. Based on my experience, the amount of water or liquids usually vary from one brand to the other.
Using a brand for the first time, it’s hard to know how much water you need to add for it to be perfect. That is, not dry and not soggy. I would suggest soaking the noodles first in some tap water for a few minutes before cooking.
This way it will not dry out all the added liquids while cooking as they would still continue to do so afterward that sometimes results in dry pancit.
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic - - minced
- 1 medium onion - - chopped
- 1 cup shrimps - - shelled and deveined
- 1 medium carrot - - cut into small strips
- 1 cup spring beans - or young snow peas (chicharo) - cut into diagonal strips
- 1 medium red bell pepper - - cut into strips
- 1/2 cup celery stalk and leaves - - chopped
- 1/2 small cabbage - - cut into smaller pieces
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce - (soy sauce can also be used instead)
- 4-5 cups water
- 1 shrimp cube - or chicken cube (optional)
- 1 pound Vermicelli rice noodles - - uncooked
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- lemon slices - or kalamansi slices
- In a wok or wide skillet, saute garlic and onion in oil over medium high heat until tender. Add the shrimps and cook for a few minutes until most has turned pink.
- Add the carrots and beans and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often to keep from burning. Add the bell peppers and celery and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the cabbage and cook for a minute.
- Add fish sauce/ soy sauce and stir several times then pour in 3 cups of water. Let simmer until vegetables are tender but still crisp.
- Remove everything from the wok leaving only the liquids. Add the shrimp cube to the liquid and stir until dissolved. Add the ground pepper.
- Add the vermicelli noodles and spread it so they are submerged completely in the liquids. Let it simmer for some minutes while stirring now and then. They will absorb the liquids so you may add more water if they are still too hard. They will keep on absorbing the liquids even after they are cooked so add just a bit more so that your pancit will not dry out if not to be served and eaten immediately.
- Add back the vegetables leaving some for toppings. Mix noodles and vegetables together. Transfer to serving platter and top with the remaining cooked vegetables. Serve with kalamansi or lemon.