Pancit Bihon or Pancit Guisado is a popular Filipino rice vermicelli noodle dish commonly served at birthdays and other occasions! To many Filipinos, a birthday will not be complete without eating pancit because it is supposed to symbolize long life and should not be cut short while cooking. This notion, I think, we got from the Chinese and so is pancit or ‘pansit’ which is derived from the Hokkien pian i sit meaning ‘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 her pancit while I use fish sauce. But all I can say is that no matter how you make it or with what, it will always be a Filipino favorite dish.
- 3 Tablespoon 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
- ½ cup celery (stalk and leaves), chopped
- ½ small cabbage, cut into smaller pieces
- 3 Tablespoon fish sauce (soy sauce can also be used instead)
- 4-5 cups water
- 1 shrimp cube or chicken cube (optional)
- 500g Vermicelli rice noodles, uncooked
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- Kalamansi or lemon slices
- In a wok or wide skillet, saute garlic and onion in oil over medium 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.
Alternatively, pork and chicken may be used instead of shrimps.
If not using shrimp cube, add 1-2 tablespoon more of fish sauce or soy sauce.