Countless people are using cooking to start a business, some use it to showcase their cooking skills, and some use it to learn a new hobby or skill, but has anyone thought of using it in … courting? Yes, you’ve read it right, in courting.
I think it would be just a fraction of a fraction of the globe’s men population who are willing to go into the trouble of learning how to cook just to get a girl’s heart. No, that might be one of the last courting skills they would want to learn.
They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, yes it is, but this too, should be the route that guys should take when aiming for a woman’s heart. In my case, it took a fresh, hot Pancit Bihon and Pancit Guisado to smoothly glide on that road.
When I was just courting my girlfriend, I had a bit of pressure to learn how to cook well because she was in a bloodline of cooks. I was hell-bent on impressing her that I took a cooking class, and my teacher? My grandma, who happened to be specializing in cooking Pancit Guisado.
To cut the story short, I cooked my girlfriend the best Pancit Guisado I learned from my beloved grandma. What happened next? She liked it, and I found a way to her heart!
What Is Pancit Bihon or Guisado?
Eating a dish is certainly easier than describing it in detail.
If you happen to have a foreign friend who might surprise you with a question: “What is Pancit Bihon?” or “What is Pancit Guisado?” , here’s your short cheat sheet to describe it properly:
A Pancit Bihon/Guisado is a Filipino stir-fry noodle meal that usually consists of meat, shrimp, vegetables, and (surprise) rice noodles, but of course, Filipinos won’t sit still with their usual dishes and would always make tempting spins with their every dish.
We can now see Pancit Bihon/Guisado with hamonado, sweet sausages, cabbage, carrots, shrimp, celery, sweet peas, mushrooms, pork, liver, and any abundant ingredients on every region. Yummy!
Varieties of Pancit
As I have just said, Filipinos won’t sit idle and let one dish stay as it is, it’s got to have a lot of varieties! If you want to get outside your Pancit Comfort Zone (the what?), here are the other varieties of Pancit dishes that you should know and try!
Pancit Canton: The Classic Will Always Stay
It is a stir-fried noodle dish filled with carrots, snow peas (sitsaro), pechay, purple onions, pork, and chicken with yellow wheat noodles. It is a type of Lo Mein or tossed noodles known as flour sticks, and a nice squeeze of calamansi would complete the overall eating experience.
Pancit Palabok: Introduces the Sea through the Shrimp
Unlike its stir-fried cousins (Pancit Bihon and Pancit Canton), Pancit Palabok enjoys a generous pour of flavorful shrimp sauce and topped with crushed chicharron, smoked fish flakes, boiled shrimps, hard-boiled eggs, green onions, and fried garlic. Take note: it doesn’t use an artificial shrimp flavorings with its shrimp sauce, so its shrimp taste is as shrimp-ey as it gets!
Pancit Luglug: Pampanga’s Answer to Palabok
This variety is Pampanga’s answer to the very popular pancit variety called ‘Pancit Palabok.’ It is filled with tasty gravy, ground pork, shrimp, chicharron, and eggs. The word “luglug” describes the method used for cooking its thick rice noodles. The method starts by placing the noodles in a blanching basket and repeatedly dipped in boiling water until every strand of noodles is cooked completely.
Pancit Malabon: Generous Seafood Toppings
This one was born in Malabon city obviously as the name says it already. The city is located in a coastal area where most of the major fish markets are located. Also, it is minutes away from huge fish ports of Navotas.
Dive into the Sea right in front of your table with Pancit Malabon’s generous toppings of shrimp, smoked fish (tinapa flakes), mussels (tahong), oysters (talaba) and squid! This dish is all about the Sea!
Pancit Molo: The Soupy Pancit Variety
Pancit Molo might be one of the ‘strangest’ variety among its pancit comrades because of its soupy nature. Pancit Molo has meat-filled dumplings floating in a tasty soup, shredded chicken, broth, and garnished with garlic and green onions. Indeed, it’s a savory and heavy meal in every way possible.
Pancit Sotanghon: Behold, the Crystal Noodles
One of the most notable things in this dish is the noodles used in it, which is the sotanghon. It has a glassy-looking strand which is very smooth and has slippery texture. Sotanghon can be made from mung beans, yam or cassava. Also, you might have heard ‘Sotanghon’ in different names such as ‘Crystal Noodles,’ ‘Bean Thread Noodles,’ ‘or ‘Glass Noodles.’
This variety is filled with shredded chicken, red bell pepper, snow peas (sitsaro), carrots, and cabbage and of course, the sotanghon noodles. Others opt for sotanghon with chicken-based soup.
Pancit Miki: Thicker than a Mami, thinner than a Lomi
The noodles used for Pancit Miki are fresh thick egg noodles. Miki’s noodles are thicker than what is used for Beef Mami, and a little thinner compared to Lomi noodles.
The Pancit Miki Guisado is a stir-fried noodle dish (which reminds us of pancit canton). This has a variety of ingredients such as pork, chicken, seafood and vegetables. It also uses a grilled pork belly (inihaw na liempo) to add a delicious, smokey flavor all over it.
Pancit Habhab: Rids You Off Your Utensils
This dish has one unique trait not seen on any other Pancit varieties that we have mentioned: it is eaten without using any utensils, but no, you don’t need to mess up your hands just to enjoy its flavorful taste. All you need is a banana leaf, put the Pancit Habhab into it, turn the leaf into a semi-tube, and slide Pancit Habhab down into your mouth. That’s it! Yum!
Pancit Habhab has pork belly, shrimp, pig’s liver, chayote (sayote), cabbage, snow pea (sitsaro), carrots and garlic. This dish offers a unique eating experience that temporarily rids you of the utensils that you usually enjoy.
Benefits of Pancit Guisado Ingredients
No one can argue that the Pancit, no matter what variety it is, is as healthy as it can get with its variety of meat and vegetables thrown into one single plate. It’s ‘nutrition’ wherever you look at it.
But it’s good to know the exact benefits we can get from its ingredients. By knowing this, we can certainly look at our next Pancit dish in a different light. It would not just be a mere Pancit dish but a plate full of flavor and favor for our body.
Here are the 7 most common ingredients you can find in any varieties of Pancit dishes, and the load of benefits they can give for our bodies.
Having meat on our daily diet can help our body in forming hemoglobin that helps transport oxygen in different parts of our body. Meat also helps in tissue formation, metabolism, and helps break down fat and chemicals in our body, so it can be utilized to strengthen our overall health even more. Also, it has vitamins to promote good vision, stronger teeth, bones, supports our central nervous system, and maintains our skin’s health. Whoa! That’s a lot!
SNOW PEA (SITSARO)
This unassuming ingredient has vitamins that help in blood clotting, which is very important when we get cuts, whether deep or narrow. A faster blood clotting protects our body from the foreign elements that might infect us through the opening made by the cuts or wounds we get.
Another good benefit of this wonder ingredient is its ability to regulate blood pressure and helps in the formation of red blood cells.
Shrimps contain antioxidants that can protect our cells from the damages that might hit them. Also, it has low calories while its protein and nutrients are plenty, and this combination is perfect for the reduction of excess weight while maintaining a healthy, lean body mass.
It is a bit surprising that a sea animal without any bones at all helps in strengthening the bones of others (us) with its phosphorus, vitamin D and calcium that lessen the risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis.
Chicken is a rich source of low-fat protein, which helps in muscle growth and development. It also contributes to supporting healthy body weight and helps in weight loss.
This white meat wonder also maintains our teeth and bones through its phosphorus, a mineral that is also important in supporting our kidney, liver and central nervous system functions.
RED BELL PEPPER
It helps in blood clotting, improves heart health, and helps in the formation of red blood cells. These first three things are all about reds! Also, it has Vitamin E, which is very important in maintaining healthy nerves and muscles.
It has beta carotene, which our body converts into Vitamin A and helps promote good vision , helps in growth, development and immune function. Carrots also help our body in maintaining bone health, helps in blood pressure control, and helps in converting the food we eat into energy!
Possible Problems Encountered When Cooking Pancit Guisado
Everybody knows that noodles symbolize long life, but when it comes to cooking, or more specifically, on cooking mistakes, it should also symbolize long patience, isn’t it?
It is the patience of the cook that can certainly make or break a dish.
Even seasoned cooks make mistakes every now and then, but what makes them a truly ‘seasoned’ cook is how they deal with mistakes. They can maintain their patience even in the midst of great blunder because they know exactly how to solve it properly. The cooks who are ill-prepared for mistakes just blow up, ruining their patience — and their dish.
Learn how the pros deal with these cooking mistakes that might happen on your hard-labored Pancit dishes.
Nobody would like to have an oversalted dish on their plate, yuck! But if ever you accidentally made yours too salty, do not even think about throwing what’s in your pan because you can still save it!
The secret to avoiding this mistake is the gradual addition of salt.
If you’ve made your Pancit dish already salty, the next best thing you can do is to double or triple the recipe, so it can catch up with the over saltiness that you’ve made.
CUTTING MEATS BEFORE VEGGIES
Whatever variety of Pancit you are cooking, it would always come with meats and veggies, and this combination of ingredients might expose a cook in the risks of cross-contamination.
In cutting your meat and veggies, you don’t need two separate chopping boards just to chop these two; you just have to cut the veggies before the meat.
By doing this, you don’t have to clean your chopping boards several times before cutting the vegetables. In this way,you’ll reduce the risks of cross contamination and the headaches that come with it.
NOT READING THE ENTIRE RECIPE FIRST
Ingredients, time, and procedures go hand in hand in making a perfect dish, and that will happen if you familiarize yourself with these three important aspects, chances are too high that you’ll have great output.
But what if you have a vague idea on one of these aspects? Then you’ll distort the quality of your whole dish! I can’t imagine how some cooks can be so careless on not checking their recipes before they cook, I mean, that’s a clear sign of being irresponsible!
Interesting Fact About Pancit Noodles
Impress your friends, co-workers, or simply your lil’ brother and sister, not only with your hot and fresh Pancit dish but also with these interesting fact about Pancit Noodles.
Where did the word ‘Pancit’ come from?
The name came from the Hokkien “pian e sit,” which literally translates to “something conveniently cooked.”
With this translation, every food in a fast food store should be called “pansit”, isn’t it?
Friendly Reminders When Cooking Pancit Guisado
STRICTLY FOLLOW THE STEP BY STEP PROCESS
A step by step process is made to achieve the flavor development needed for a dish. Once the fire starts burning under the pan, the development of flavors starts to take place, and the order of ingredients being put in the pan establishes the taste that the next ingredient will dive on.
It’s a delicate process, and swapping the order of ingredients would certainly distort the desired taste of the dish.
KEEP YOUR PATIENCE
It’s been said, but let me reiterate the thought: impatience might top as one of the reasons why cooks commit mistakes throughout the cooking process.
With countless of ways to shortcut the process in every meal, it would be too tempting to apply those things when things get tough – or simply when laziness strikes in.
Best Served with
Now that we’ve mentioned the different varieties of Pancit dishes, I can say that the one single best partner for all of them is our freshly-baked-in-the-morning hot pandesal.
It just magically goes perfectly with every variety of Pancit, and it’s not even a fancy add-on, but a classic bread we enjoy since childhood.
Do not waste your time going with the pains of finding a fancy pair for your Pancit dish. Simply head on to your nearest bakery, and buy fresh-from-the-oven pandesal and enjoy biting it with your Pancit dish. Yummy!
For more delicious recipes, visit Eat like Pinoy!
Best Bihon Guisado Recipe
- 1 lb Bihon
- 1 pc Carrot small size, sliced
- 1 pc Bell Pepper small size, sliced
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/4 cup Soy Sauce
- 4 pcs Squid Ball quartered
- 4 pcs Kikiam quartered
- 8 pcs Baguio Beans sliced
- 1 lb Cabbage
- 1/2 cup Pork
- 1 pc Onion sliced
- 4 cloves Garlic minced
- 3 cups Water
- 1 pc Chayote small size, sliced
- 1/2 cup Cooking Oil
- Heat oil in a pan. Sauté garlic and onion until brown. Then add the pork and stir well for 5 minutes.
- Add the squid ball and kikiam. Then put the black pepper and soy sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes.
- Put water and let it boil for another 5 minutes.
- Put-in the carrots and chayote then cover the pan for 3 minutes. Toss in baguio beans and cook for another 3 minutes.
- Then add the cabbage and bell pepper. Simmer for 2 minutes. After boiling, remove all the ingredients in the pan except for the liquid and set them aside.
- In the pan, cook the bihon noodles over medium heat. Cover for 5 minutes. Mix occasionally until bihon are cooked.
- Transfer into a large pan, then put-in the vegetables and meat previously cooked.
- Eat with calamansi! Enjoy.