At home, frequent conversations about dinner go something like this:
“We should pick up a few things at the grocery store,” he says. “For sure,” I reply, “I feel like making (insert hunger-inducing Filipino dish here). I wonder if we can make that tonight?”
When I choose what to make for dinner, I think about what I need to purchase for a recipe. Are the ingredients I need affordable and easily procured from our local grocery store?
Then I consider the amount of time and effort required to make the meal. Is tonight an ‘enjoy a glass of wine while making dinner’ kind of evening, or ‘a let’s get this done so we can sit and watch Netflix kind of night?’
This week, the concept of pancit as a quick and easy stir-fried noodle dish was something I wanted to work toward. The result? A version of vegetarian pancit that threw me well over the moon.
Now I can whip up pancit for Meatless Mondays – and enjoy a non-traditional yet incredibly delicious take on a popular Filipino dish any time. The flavour released by roasting mushrooms with garlic-infused oil amps up this dish’s umami, and prep work gets streamlined with the use of an immersion blender and mandolin (a lesson in using the right equipment for the job).
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
2 cups sliced mushrooms (wonderful use for a mandolin if you have one!)
2 cups shredded cabbage, carrots and broccoli (a.k.a. pre-packaged coleslaw mix – my favourite kitchen timesaver)
225 g rice or mung bean vermicelli
2 shallots, peeled
1 cup sliced green beans, cut diagonally
2 cups bean sprouts
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp fish sauce (optional if you want the recipe strictly vegetarian)
1 lemon, halved and juiced
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Fill a 2-litre kettle with water and boil.
- In a 2-cup glass measure, combine garlic, olive oil and a generous dose of salt and pepper. Using an immersion blender, whiz everything up to make a pureed garlic oil. Take out 2 tbsp of the oil; pour this into a large bowl. Set the remaining oil in the glass measure aside.
- Toss mushrooms and coleslaw mix into the large bowl with garlic oil. Use a pair of tongs to ensure the vegetables get a good even coating of oil.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and transfer everything from the bowl onto the pan. Spread evenly with a wooden spoon. Place sheet on middle rack of oven and roast for 15 minutes. Once timer for the roasted vegetables rings, take baking sheet out of the oven and set aside to cool.
- In a large heatproof bowl, place vermicelli noodles and pour hot water over top. Make sure noodles are submerged in water. Cover with plastic wrap and set a timer for 3 minutes.
- Using a large strainer, drain noodles. Toss noodles back into the now-empty bowl and fill with cold water (plus a few ice cubes) to create an ice bath that stops the noodles from cooking further. Set aside.
- In a 1-cup glass measure, combine soy sauce, sesame oil and fish sauce (if using). I call this my liquid seasoning!
- Toss shallots into the remaining garlic oil and blend for 30 seconds to achieve a chunky sauteing oil.
- Heat a wok or large skillet over medium. Pour the chunky garlic and shallot oil into the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the shallots develop a golden colour from caramelization.
- Add green beans and bean sprouts, stir to combine and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Transfer roasted vegetables from your baking sheet into the pan. Using parchment comes in really handy here – just pick up the corners and tip everything into the pan easily! Add in liquid seasoning and stir well to combine.
- Strain noodles out of the ice bath and tap the strainer a couple times to shake residual water off of the noodles. Tip noodles into the pan, then take the pan off the heat.
- Pour half of the lemon juice in, then use a pair of tongs to mix everything together as evenly as you can.
- To serve, place a mound of noodles into a bowl or ridged plate and season with additional lemon juice and freshly cracked pepper to taste.
This may not be traditional panciteria fare, but it works for me!