June 9, 2006 at 5:06 pm | Posted in Cooking | 1 Comment

Completed pancit

There's a scene in "It's a Wonderful Life" in which George and Mary are riding away from their wedding excitedly talking about their honeymoon plans:

"You know what we're going to do? We're going to shoot the works. A whole week in New York. A whole week in Bermuda. The highest hotels, the oldest champagne, the richest caviar, the hottest music, and the prettiest wife!"

I always think about that last sentence when I cook pancit (pronounced "pahn-SIT"), a Filipino noodle dish. It's a dish of superlatives: The longest prep time, the most tedious chopping, the biggest & unwieldiest pans, the messiest kitchen. On the GOOD side of the "most-est" spectrum, it's my very favorite Filipino food and the one that my husband Ryan's family requests most often for potlucks. I'm making it for Ryan's twin cousins' graduation party. The recipe follows. [Dad, feel free to comment if you think I missed something.]


  • 4 chicken leg quarters or one whole chicken
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 t. salt you don’t need a lot because of all the soy sauce later
  • ½ t. black pepper
  • 5 links Chinese sausage (optional)
  • 16 oz. bihon noodles (rice sticks)
  • Once tasted, ever wanted

  1. Place chicken in an 8 qt. pot with onion, celery , garlic, salt, black pepper, Chinese sausage, and enough water to cover. Bring to boil.
  2. After 15 min., remove from heat. Let sit an additional 10 min.
  3. Remove chicken from pot, and strain and reserve stock.
    I always just (c a r e f u l l y) pour everything directly into our big roasting pan, into which I've placed the bihon, with a colander on top. The colander strains the meat and veggies out.
  4. Soak the noodles in the reserved stock until softened, at least 15 min.
  5. When chicken is cool enough to handle, shred or cut into bite-size pieces and cut sausage into ¼" slices.


  • 1 T. oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, matchstick cut
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ head cabbage, shredded
  • 1 T. oil
  • 2 pork chops, sliced in ¼" slices
  • 1 T. soy sauce
  • ¼ – ½ c. soy sauce, to taste

You can do this while the noodles are soaking.

  1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté diced onion until just starting to brown,
  2. then add other vegetables and sauté until still crisp.
  3. Remove vegetables and wipe skillet clean.
  4. Season pork chops with 1 Tbs. soy sauce and sauté in oil over medium-high heat until cooked, but still tender, about 5-6 min.


  • lemon wedges
  • yet more soy sauce
  1. When noodles are softened, drain excess stock and place in huge skillet, wok, or Dutch oven with chicken, pork, and soy sauce. Heat through over medium-low heat, stirring often. Be careful not to scorch. Stir in vegetables.
  2. Serve with lemon wedges and soy sauce.


1 Comment »

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  1. Mmmmmm.

    I haven’t even had breakfast yet and I would love that for lunch.

    Are you or your husband Filipino? I lived there from 1972 – early 1976 and my little sister was born there. I have idyllic memories of my time there.

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