The Philippines is known for being an archipelagic nation: it is composed of many islands, and thus it has many provinces. This geographical aspect of the country gives it a very diverse culinary offering per region. And each area is known for a dish that is unique and distinct for that region.
A unique dish can only be found in that specific region, province,, and municipality and can be found nowhere else. And that dish puts that particular place onon the culinary map. And that is what we will be sharing with you in this article.
A noodle dish that made a quiet town in the province of Isabela a hotspot for diners who’s on the hunt for unique dishes. A festive and hearty noodle dish that will make your mouth water with delight and anticipation.
So without further ado, let’s go straight ahead in sharing with you the things that you need to know in cooking the best Pancit Cabagan right in your kitchen.
What is Pancit Cabagan
Noodle dishes are a fairly popular dish in the Philippines. Almost every province has its unique noodle recipe to bring to the table. Some might be considered a noodle soup while others prefer a stir-fried style, but whatever the preferred cooking method or serving may be, one thing is for sure: they are as good as they look.
But what sets apart Pancit Cabagan from the rest of the equally delicious noodle recipes that Filipino cuisine offers is the ingredients’ generosity. Perfectly stir-fried noodles with vegetables, all soaked in sweet and salty sauce, topped with bite-sized pieces of crispy pork belly: what more can you ask for?.
Behind the colorful and hearty appearance of this festive recipe is an equally colorful origin.
Based on historical claims, Pancit Cabagan is originally made by a Chinese immigrant from Xiamen province in China who settled in Aparri, Cagayan. He used ingredients that are locally available at the time to create this saucy noodle variety that we know of as Pancit Cabagan today.
What started off as a personal recipe rose to fame as a unique noodle dish that many Filipinos have grown to appreciate and love. And because of that fame, many roadside eateries and even restaurants offer their take on this very filling noodle recipe.
Ways to Cook
Pancit Cabagan is a very versatile recipe: you can cook them multiple ways depending on whatever cookware you have at your disposal. Others might prefer to cook it the traditional way, and there’s no problem with that.
But with the modernization of many kitchen equipments, cooking is more convenient than ever. So if you have this modern cookware lying around in your kitchen, then you can definitely use them. We have a list here of other ways that you can cook Pancit Cabagan other than the traditional method for starters.
The instant pot is beneficial and functional kitchen cookware. Its function is very similar to how a pressure cooker works: after all, this is the upgraded version of the trusted cookware that helped our grandmothers and mothers for their countless cooking sessions.
The significant difference that an instant pot has from its older cousin is that the former has dedicated buttons for different cooking needs. It has settings for sauteing, steaming, and for slow cooking. Technically, the instant pot is a multi-cooker in its own right. You can do some pre-cooking like sauteing, then let the instant pot settings finish the cooking process for you.
Since there are settings for the instant pot for different cooking needs, transferring the ingredients to another cooking vessel is no longer necessary. You can go ahead and saute the ingredients in order using the instant pot. Once they are adequately cooked, that is the time you pour in the pork broth until all the ingredients are tender.
The last component that you will put in the noodles, this is to ensure that they will not turn out soggy and mushy. After that, select the correct settings for keeping the noodles warm, and that’s it: let the instant pot do its magic.
Stovetop cooking is the most common cooking method that Filipino households rely on. There are a lot of options when it comes to stove tops that are available in the market: there are electric type, induction type, and the traditional LPG-fueled stove top burners.
The majority of Filipino cuisine uses the stovetop method because of its reliability, familiarity, and affordability. Replacement parts and repairs are relatively cheaper than most modern kitchenware.
And since Pancit Cabagan is a traditional noodle dish, it is only fitting that we go back to the traditional cooking method for it. A slightly bigger cooking pan is recommended if you want to ensure that heat is evenly distributed across the cookware’s surface.
You can proceed with cooking as indicated in the recipe, according to the toughness of the ingredients. This is to avoid overcooking the ingredients, especially vegetables. Overcooked vegetables lose not only their nutrient value but also their colors as well.
Start off with the aromatics, then followed by the meats: this allows for the protein to fully absorb the aromatics’ flavors. Then proceed with the rest of the ingredients like the broth and the noodles. Make sure to adjust the stovetop’s temperature so as to avoid burning the components of the Pancit Cabagan.
Other Delicious Variants and Filipino Recipes
And because Pancit Cabagan is a noodle dish, you can definitely modify and adjust this recipe according to your liking. There are hundreds of noodle varieties in the Philippines that you can choose from: ranging from egg noodles to rice noodle varieties; the only limit is your creativity.
So to give you a headstart, we have here a list of variants of Pancit Cabagan that you can try at home. And you may even be able to make your take on this unique noodle recipe.
Pancit Cabagan Miki
Miki is a type of egg noodles that is significantly firmer than the typical egg noodles that we see in the market. This is because of the addition of lye, which changes the noodles’ texture, making them firmer.
You can see this noodle, either dried or fresh, depending on the need of the one who will be using it. For this variant, we recommend that you use the fresh variety, as they do not sop up the sauce that much, that way, we can retain the texture of the noodles all throughout the cooking process.
The process is the same as the steps indicated in the recipe for the original version. The only difference is that you will need to put in the Miki during the first part of the cooking process to ensure that the noodles will be cooked adequately. Then follow the process as the recipe instructs.
This variant does not deviate much from the original Pancit Cabagan version: the significant difference you may notice is a fried egg on top of the already meaty sauce.
They also use the dried noodles instead of the fresh ones: the reason for which is that the dried noodles absorb the sauce much better than the fresh ones.
The process of cooking this variant is almost the same as the original. Saute the aromatics first, making sure that the flavors are drawn out from them. Then immediately add in the proteins until they are tender to the bite. Afterwhich, pour in the pork broth and let it simmer
before putting in the noodles.
This variant’s serving style is what really makes it attractive and mouth-watering: the meaty sauce is scooped out and poured on top of the noodles. The sight of the mountainous serving will really whet one’s appetite.
Urdaneta is a municipality in Pangasinan, a province located north of Manila. Its proximity to the province of Isabela is the reason why Pancit Cabagan is famous in this municipality. Being the gateway to the north, this makes the traffic of people really busy in this area.
This could be the reason why Pancit Cabagan made its way to Urdaneta and why the people of this municipality made their version of the famous noodle dish of their nearby province. This recipe’s most notable feature is that it is meatier and is more overloaded with toppings than the original version.
This variant is overflowing with protein such as braised beef, boiled eggs, and even Lumpiang Shanghai. Every serving of this variant is heaven for meat lovers. That is the only significant difference, and the cooking process is the same as the original, so you can proceed as is.
You can adjust the ingredients depending on your liking and your choice of ingredients.
Trivia about this Recipe
Pancit Cabagan is a unique noodle dish because of how many toppings and proteins it has on it. Others put Igado on it, a liver recipe of the northern regions of the Philippines. And compared to its other noodle cousins, Pancit Cabagan is saucier and meatier. The name Pancit Cabagan came from the municipality it came from Cabagan, Isabela.
Noodle dishes are relatively easy to cook; you just need to have the right noodles for your recipe, and the ingredients are all up to you. And to give you some guides, especially in cooking Pancit Cabagan, here are some time-tested tips that you can put into practice.
- Make sure to have enough broth for the noodles for them to sop up the sauce better.
- If possible, use fresh egg noodles rather than the dried variety.
If in case you encounter trouble while cooking Pancit Cabagan, do not fret because we got you covered. We have a list of foolproof kitchen remedies to help you with your kitchen dilemmas.
- If your sauce tends to be too runny, you can make a slurry of cornstarch and water. This will help thicken the sauce of your noodles.
- If the sauce is salty, add sugar mixed with water to neutralize the saltiness.
Best Serve With
Filipinos love to pair foods with other delectable dishes. We know that Dinuguan will taste better when paired with Puto, right?. The same goes with our featured dish; as a treat, we made you a list of dishes that you can pair Pancit Cabagan with so that you can enjoy it better.
The good thing about noodle dishes is that you can enjoy them at any time of the day. And Filipinos have a love affair with noodle dishes, especially in the afternoon. This cassava treat is a perfect pair for our hearty noodle dish. The contrast of sweet and salty is truly mouthwatering.
The crunchy and meaty pork goodness that is Breaded Pork Chop is a fitting complement to the equally hearty and savory noodle dish.
Let’s all admit it; we love to pair noodle dishes with rice, right?. Even though we all know that they are both carbohydrates, who cares, so long as they taste good. And it will only get better because Bringhe is packed with meaty goodness, which makes it a suitable pair with Pancit Cabagan.
We crave some regional food delights, but at times we do not have the luxury of visiting the place just to enjoy the treat that we are so craving for. That is why it is our joy to share with you the tips and techniques that you need to know to cook Pancit Cabagan right at the comforts of your home. And with all that information, we are more than confident that you can replicate this recipe.
So, until next time, happy cooking.
For more delicious recipe, visit Eat Like Pinoy!
Best Pancit Cabagan
- 1 kg Miki thin version
- 3 pcs White onion 2 pcs; cut into rounds, 1 pc; chopped
- 4 cloves Garlic crushed into pieces
- 1 pc Carrot big and cut into strips
- 1 tsp Oyster sauce
- 5 cups Pork broth
- 2 pcs Eggs hard-boiled
- 1 tsp Soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp Ground black pepper
- 1 cup Baguio leeks cut into thin rounds
- 1 cup Chicharong Baboy cracked
- 1/2 kg Pork belly cut into small cubes
- 2 tbsp Oil
- Heat oil in a large pan, saute garlic until golden brown, add onion and saute until softened.
- Now add the pork belly and season it with soy sauce and ground black pepper, and then pour 2 cups of pork broth into the pan. Boil for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, transfer the pork belly into a bowl. Set aside.
- Toss in oyster sauce and carrot then pour the remaining broth into the pan. Boil for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, add the miki noodles, stir and boil for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, transfer the pancit onto a wide serving bowl, sprinkle it with Baguio leeks, cracked chicharong baboy, round onions, and sliced egg.
- Serve hot and enjoy!