Pancit Palabok is another popular and favorite pancit or noodle dish among Filipinos. Pancit Palabok usually involves rice noodles, thick yellow-orange sauce and various toppings like shrimps, flakes of smoked fish, pork chicharon, hard boiled eggs, spring onions, squid rings, fried garlic and whatever one fancy I would say.
But I have to admit the preparation for Pancit Palabok is so much different from Pancit Bihon and requires a bit more work.
Specially if you plan to use a lot of toppings because each topping is prepared separately and unlike Pancit Bihon where all ingredients are tossed together while being cooked, Pancit Palabok is prepared part by part and then assembled at the end when ready to serve.
But since I like keeping things easy, this Pancit Palabok recipe is a really simple one requiring the most basic toppings but still delicious.
Originally, the thick yellow sauce is made from fat, meat and juice extracted from crabs.
But since fresh crabs are not available here in Germany and I am not up to all the work involved anyway, we could skip this and use something easier to find to flavor the sauce, like fish sauce or shrimp cubes.
If using fresh shrimps, the heads can also be used by crushing and grinding them and adding some water and then extracting the juice using a sieve.
Pancit Palabok made easy
- 1 pound rice noodles
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 2-3 gloves garlic - - minced
- 1 medium onion - - chopped
- 10.5 ounces ground pork
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 4 cups water
- ½ cup flour - - dissolved in 1 cup water
- 1 shrimp bouillon cube - (pork cube if shrimp is not available)
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 ½ tablespoons annatto powder - (food color can be used, but lesser) see Note 1
- 4 hard boiled eggs - - cut into slices
- 1 cup shrimps - - boiled or steamed
- 1 cup chicharon - (pork rind) - crushed
- ¼ cup spring onions - chopped
- ½ cup smoked fish (tinapa) - (if available)
- 2 lemons - - cut into wedges
- Soak the rice noodles in water for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, boil enough water in a pot. Once the noodles are done soaking, drain it from the cold water and then submerge in boiling water for a few minutes just until they are cooked but still firm, about 3-5 minutes. Once cooked, drain the water and set aside.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, saute garlic and onion in oil until tender. Add the ground pork and fish sauce and cook for 5-10 minutes or until all bits are cooked. Stir often to get rid of big lumps.
- Dilute the annatto powder in the 3 cups of water and add this to the pork. Add the shrimp bouillon and let simmer for some minutes until it starts to boil. Add the flour mixture and stir until the sauce becomes thick. Season with ground pepper. Set aside.
- Add three-quarters of the sauce to the noodles and mix until all noodles are covered with sauce. Transfer to a serving dish. Pour remaining sauce on top. Arrange toppings on top with the crushed chicharon and spring onions being the last. Place the lemon wedges on the sides or in another smaller bowl for squeezing. Serve while warm.