Pancit Malabon

So what is Pancit Malabon? For those of you who have never heard of this dish, it is a delicacy from Malabon, Rizal in the Philippines. It is similar to another delicacy called Pancit Luglug from Pampanga, or the Pancit Palabok.

What's the difference between Pancit Malabon and Pancit Palabok? And what is Pancit Luglug? All these dishes look similar, in the sense that, they are all rice noodles topped or mixed with a reddish sauce with different garnishings. Only rice noodle and not the egg noodle is used in this dish. For the Pancit Malabon, I used the Poolee Rice Noodle that's made in Taiwan. They have the thin version and the regular version. It's written on the cellophane packaging that the thin version is for the Luglug. I tried both for making pancit malabon and they both turned out okay.

Now, for the Pancit Luglug and the Pancit Palabok, I will use the thinner kind of rice noodle or the "bihon" noodle. The sauce is not mix with the noodle, but just poured on top when making the Luglug and Palabok. You also do not have to cut the noodles before you pour the sauce.

My advise is, when you use the Poolee noodle for the Pansit Malabon, you have to soak and rinse the noodles more than two or three minutes in boiling water, as what's written on the packaging. In my experience, some of the noodles were not cooked, after soaking them in boiling water for 3 minutes. I did mine for about 8 to 10 minutes. Also, one tip I can give you is to cut the noodles sparingly before you mix the red sauce with the noodle.

The red sauce is made out of the juice of annatto seeds thicken with cornstarch. I prefer using the annatto seeds against using instant mixes because I get the color and flavor I am looking for. Plus, there's no MSG.

Prepare the garnishing first
Before I started cooking the sauce, I prepared the garnishing in advance, because you need the shrimp water to use for the sauce. The garnishing are what you put on top of the noodle after mixing with the red sauce. Here are the ingredients for the garnishing according to my layering: ground chicharon (pork cracklings), toasted flaked tinapa (smoked fish), blanched sliced pechay baguio (chinese cabbage), boiled mussels without shell, sliced adobong pusit (squid adobo), cooked oysters, chopped green onion, quartered hard-boiled duck eggs (chicken eggs will do).

How to cook the sauce
First you have to brown the finely chopped garlic and onions until transparent. Then add the ground pork (from the pig's butt) and brown until cooked, followed by the diced firm tofu. To add more flavor, chop some "kintsay" or italian parsley and add to the mix. Season with "patis" or fish sauce only. Then add your annatto water and the shrimp water where you boiled the shrimps. Add the cornstarch mixed with water. If it's too thick, add more liquid. Some use chicken stock or pork stock. But water will do.

How I squeezed the red-coloring out of the annatto seeds
First, I toasted the seeds in a dark-colored saucepan (annatto seeds can stain your clothes, wooden utensils, etc) to release the oil and color. Make sure you put the lid on because they pop when they're heated. Put a tablespoon of canola or vegetable oil and move them around with a wooden spatula (I keep one just for mixing annatto seeds) until color is released from the seeds. You will notice the seeds will turn dark or black when the color is released. Add 1/2 cup water (or more) and boil for 3 or more minutes. the longer, the better. Strain annatto water into the dish you are cooking. Mix well.

Ingredients
2 pounds ground pork
4 to 6 cups firm tofu - cut into 1/3" cubes
4 to 6 tablespoons minced garlic
4 cups chopped yellow onions
3 ounces annatto seeds, toasted and boiled until color is released, then add 1 or two canola or vegetable oil, add water and boil until color mixes with water
3/4 cup or more cornstarch, dissolved in water before adding to make thick sauce
4 to 6 cups shrimp water, pound shrimp heads, add water, squeeze and strain juice out
Extra water if needed, when you have mixed the sauce with the noodles, the liquid evaporates or the noodles soaks it all up. Add more water. You do not want your noodles dry. There must be just a little sauce oozing out when you plate them.
1/2 cup or more pork fat or lard to saute  the sauce, (I used canola oil.) 
The nice people who gave me the recipe revealed to me that the secret to this recipe is 1) to use "pork fat or lard" for sauteing, and 2) to use only "patis or fish sauce" for seasoning.
9 or more tablespoons patis or fish sauce - this is if you are cooking the 20 ounces Poolee Rice Noodles. If you are not, lessen the fish sauce, or adjust to your taste
2 pounds boiled mussels, after boiling, discard shells (for garnishing)
1 pound medium-sized shrimps - remove head and set aside to pound well for the juice before boiling; slit the shells in the back to devein, then boil ; remove shell and slice each shrimp into two lengthwise after boiling (for garnishing)
1 pound squid - separate the head from the body; remove tough round part on mouth; remove long cellophane-like inside the body and the sac where food eaten was stored; leave black coloring or squid's ink inside; sliced into 1/2" and make into adobo (for garnishing)
4 to 6 hard-boiled eggs - quartered (for garnishing)
2 cups Mung bean sprouts - (optional for garnishing)
1/2 head blanched Chinese cabbage or pechay baguio, sliced into 1/3" (for garnishing)
2 cups fish tinapa, flaked and toasted in pan (for garnishing)
3 cups pounded pork chicharon (for garnishing)
1 cup green onion, chopped
lemons or kalamansi, for garnishing and seasoning
dashes of ground pepper

* This recipe was shared by China de la Pena and her dad, the relatives of my step-daughter's husband, who were originally from Malabon, Rizal, Philippines. My research led to my modifying the recipe by adding more garnishing on top of the noodles.

Comments

MaryMoh said…
The noodles look so mouth-watering. I wish I have a fork to dig into it.
Chris Nyles said…
Thank you Mary Moh and welcome to my blogsite. Have a nice day!
Divina Pe, RHN said…
I love Pancit Malabon. We only buy them at Amber's which is near our house. I think it's time to make my own at home. Thanks for tips. This is a must try.
Chris Nyles said…
Thank you Divina Pe, RHN. It is really worth trying. One packet of 20 ounces Poolee Rice Noodles yielded around 10 or more servings on my son's birthday, plus I gave away some, and we still had a lot leftover the next day for lunch.

The recipe was given to me without the measurements. So, I just kind of figured out myself how much to use. Sorry I was so sleepy the other night when I was blogging and I didn't get to write down all the ingredients and the procedure, which I normally do.

Please check back again and I will try to edit my blog and I will write down the recipe.

Have a nice day!
My Little Space said…
Hi Chris, this recipe sounds more or less like the Chinese Prawn Noodle soup except that it prepared in gravy sauce and with lots of yummy topping. And it looks really delicious too!
Chris Nyles said…
Hi Kristy,

I am sure this dish was influenced by the Chinese and was innovated by the people in their regions depending on what ingredients were abundant in their area. Malabon is now a city in Manila that is near the water, the Manila Bay. Their "Pancit Malabon" has a lot of seafood in it.

Thanks for stopping by. You really worked hard on the Ghost Festival there. I am sure everyone had fun.
Divina Pe, RHN said…
It's okay. Sometimes I do the same thing too. You can call Divina or Divine. I only eat Filipino food, not cook them. I think it is time to cook some Filipino dishes at home. Thank you.

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