Rice Noodles with Prawns and Pork Sauce. Topped with Pork Crackling, Smoked Fish and Eggs
What is Pancit Palabok?
The word Pancit or Pansit means noodles in the Filipino language. We have many types of noodle dishes in the Philippines. This is influenced by the Chinese settlers in the Philippines, some Chinese traders stayed in the Philippines for business or love and embedded Chinese cooking into the Filipino culture. The Filipino – Chinese OR Chinoy food was born!
Pancit Palabok is one the many dishes that you will see at Birthday parties, Fiestas or special occasions. For birthdays we have a saying “Pancit for long life”. Our elders believed that if we have noodles (uncut) on our birthday we will have a long and healthy life.
Pancit Palabok is made with cornstarch noodles, prawn sauce made from the head and shells of the prawns and served with a variety of toppings. The usual toppings you would see are prawns, boiled eggs, pork crackling, tinapa or smoked fish and spring onions. You can add as many or as little of the toppings as you want.
Swap it / Common Questions
Can I use Bihon noodles?
Yes you can use Bihon noodles too, it’s more delicate than the Palabok noodles but you can still use Bihon too.
Tinapa (smoked fish)
For the smoked fish I used smoked mackerel that I bought from my local grocery store. This is closest to the Filipino Tiinapa smoked with galunggong or blackfin scad.
Annatto Or Atsuete
If you have annatto or atsuete seeds, you can make some annatto oil or you can boil some water with annatto seeds then strain them, discarding the seeds. I used annatto powder as it saves me time and it’s easier. I bought my annatto powder from the Chinatown grocery store or the Filipino shops in Earls Court.
You can add as many toppings as you want. If you want to make a seafood only Palabok, you can omit the minced pork. Maybe add another type of shellfish or fish? Be creative! I run out of spring onions, I used coriander instead and it actually tasted really good! It made the dish fresh!
First, soak the noodles for 30 minutes to 1 hour. In a large pot, boil some water and add two tablespoons of salt. Let the noodles boil for 30-40 minutes. Check the noodles if they are soft, drain the water and rinse the noodles with cold water and leave it on the side for later.
The next thing you need to do is boil 1 litre of water in a medium pot, while you wait for the water to boil, you need to prepare the prawns. Take the head off and deshell the prawns but keep them for the sauce later. Devein the prawns and place in a clean bowl, leave them on the side for later. At this point the water should be boiling, add the prawns head and shells into the boiling water. Continue to boil it for 15-20 minutes.
Using a blender, pour the boiled prawn shells and water. You can make 2 batches if it doesn’t all fit in the blender. Blend them until you get a shake consistency, pour it onto a bowl with a strainer. You can discard the shells and head but keep the sauce. Leave it on the side for later.
In a large pot, heat some oil, fry the prawns until each side is orange and cooked through. Take them out and leave them on the side for later. Add the chopped onions in the same pot, cook the onions for a minute then add the garlic and cook them for another minute. Next, add the minced pork and saute them until the pork is not red anymore.
Pour the prawn sauce that you blended earlier into the pot with minced pork. Bring it to a boil, then season the sauce with salt, fish sauce and black pepper. Mix them all well and bring it to a boil on high heat. Next add some shredded mackerel, this will give depth of flavours. Taste your sauce and add more salt or fish sauce to your taste. Turn the heat to medium to simmer for 15 minutes.
Next, mix water, mamasita annatto powder and cornflour. Make sure they are mixed well and incorporated. Pour the mixture into the pork & prawns sauce, make sure you mix the sauce while pouring to avoid any clumps in the sauce. It should thicken as you mix them together. This is now ready.
You can serve the pancit palabok as an individual plate or as a sharing plate. We usually add the noodles at the bottom without the sauce or some people mix some sauce with the noodles first then topping some more on top. Then, you can arrange all the toppings that you love!! I have some toppings such as the prawns, boiled eggs, pork crackling, smoked mackerel (I made crispy smoked mackerel) and spring onions or coriander. You can also add some lemon on the side to sprinkle. I totally forgot when I was making this recipe.
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