Friday, 1 January 2010


Ama's bihon is legendary. She uses thin rice noodles (commonly known as "bihon" or the thicker "pancit" noodles), and cooks it with left over adobo meat (her version is a Chinese-filipino variation of braised pork shoulder and chicken in a soy-vinegar glaze with peppercorns. Just use leftover beef, chicken or pork stew and shred the meat finely. We grew up eating this recipe, but it never quite tasted the same without Ama's personal touch. For New Year's, she cooked the dish at home, demonstrating her techniques to me. It is deliciously hearty but extremely laborious, as the dish contains meat, seafood and a variety of vegetables that all have to be cooked separately. The results though, are worth this wonderful one-dish meal.

150g shrimp, deshelled and deveined and sliced thinly horizontally
2 tablespoons corn starch
30g ginger, julienne sliced into sticks
1 cup shredded cooked meat, such as chicken, pork or meat
1 chinese cabbage/half regular cabbage (chinese cabbage is smaller), washed sliced thinly into strips
20 small-medium or 10 large dried chinese mushrooms, soaked in hot water for at least 30 minutes and then sliced very thinly
1 pack of taiwanese bihon or filipino pancit dried noodles (bought at an Asian or Filipino supermarket)
4 tablespoons dark soy sauce
6 scallions, thinly sliced
1 carrot, peeled and julienne stripped into sticks
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1-2 cups chicken broth, depending on amount of bihon (follow measurements on pack's instructions)
Follow directions for pancit/bihon and soak noodles in water for appropriate time and for how much liquid to cook it in/time duration.
Mix shrimp with salt, pepper and cornstarch and let sit for 10 minutes.
Fry ginger in oil, then add shrimp and cook 5 minutes. Do not overcook the shrimp, once cooked add 1 tablespoon soy sauce, toss and remove immediately from wok or dutch oven (deep pan).
Using the same pan, fry the garlic in the oil, then add mushrooms. After a few minutes of searing add meat and carrots. After 5-10 minutes, add cabbage and 2 tablespoon of soy sauce.
Cook down another 10 minutes, then remove vegetables.
Pour leftover mushroom broth and chicken stock to a boil, then add pancit noodles and cook according to instructions. Once cooked, add 2-4 tablespoons of soy sauce, cooking for 5 minutes. Taste the noodles, as you may prefer more soy sauce.
Finally, add vegetables and shrimp and toss with chopsticks till hot and tossed well.
Fry shallots in hot oil for 5-10 minutes till golden brown and crispy. Garnish with scallions over bihon and serve immediately.
Serves 6-8.

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