RECIPE: Lola’s Pancit Bihon (Noodles with Vegetables)

Excerpted from AMBOY: Recipes from the Filipino-American Dream © 2020 by Alvin Cailan. Photography © 2020 by Wyatt Conlon. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Photo by Wyatt Conlon

Serves 4

FOR this stir-fried noodle dish, my Lola would sit at the kitchen table cutting vegetables in her hand, mounds of snap peas, carrots, cabbage, and onions overflowing the bowl. It was a bounty, and it was about to feed 20 people all day long. These noodles are super thin, similar in texture to rice sticks.

Ingredients

•1 pound dried thin rice noodles (the package will say “rice sticks” or “bihon”)
• 1 tablespoon canola oil
• 2/3 cup thinly sliced onion (½ small onion)
• ¼ cup minced garlic (about 10 large cloves)
• 1/3 cup thinly sliced celery (½ stalk)
• 1/3 cup thinly sliced carrot (1 small carrot)
• 4 cups Homemade Chicken Stock (page 44)
• 1 cup Datu Puti or Silver Swan soy sauce (see page 60; available at Asian markets and on Amazon)
• ½ medium green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
• 1 pound shredded meat from Poached Chicken (page 39/below)
• ¼ to ½ cup fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
• ¼ cup thinly sliced scallions (2 to 3 scallions)
• Hard-Cooked Eggs (page 125/below), sliced, for garnish (optional)

Directions

1. Soak the noodles in a large bowl of cold water for 5 minutes, or until the noodles are softened. Drain thoroughly and set aside.

2. Heat a large wok over high heat until blistering hot. Add your oil, then cut the heat to medium and heat until you see the oil ripple, about 30 seconds. Add the onion and garlic and stir-fry until the onion is translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the celery and carrot and stir-fry until softened, 2 to 4 minutes.

3. Add the chicken stock and soy sauce and stir to combine. This will essentially deglaze the wok; make sure to scrape the fond (browned bits) from the bottom of the wok so nothing’s stuck there. Cook until the liquid is simmering, then gently fold in the drained noodles. Add your cabbage and toss with tongs to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, until the noodles have absorbed the liquid, about 7 minutes. Add the chicken and cook, stirring, until the chicken is heated through, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat if the noodles start to stick to the wok.

4. Plate the noodles, sprinkle the lemon juice and scallions over the top, garnish with hard-cooked eggs, and serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Poached Chicken
Makes 1 chicken

Ingredients
• 1 (5-pound) whole chicken
• 1 cup kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

Directions

1. Remove any giblets from the chicken and reserve for Goto (page 41). Rinse the chicken under very cold water, salt the entire chicken liberally inside and out, and let it rest at room temperature for 1 hour.

2. Fill a large stockpot with water and add the 1 cup salt. Bring the water to a boil, then cut the heat until the water is slowly simmering. Add the room-temperature chicken and let the chicken bathe in the slow-simmering water until the internal temperature of the breast reaches 155°F, 25 to 35 minutes.

3. Fill a large bowl with ice and water. Slide your spider under the bottom of the chicken, hook your tongs into the cavity, and airlift it out of the pot and into your ice bath. Submerge the chicken fully to stop the cooking, and leave it in the ice bath until cool enough to handle, 15 to 20 minutes.

4. Drain the chicken. Carefully peel off the skin with a sharp knife or your hands, and save it to make Chicharon (recipe follows), the perfect garnish for arroz caldo. Shred the meat into even pieces. Discard the bones.

Hard-Cooked Eggs
Makes 12 eggs

Ingredients
• 12 large eggs

Directions

1. Fill a large stockpot with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When the water is at a rolling boil, add the eggs and let them boil for 7 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, cover, and let stand for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice and water. Pull the eggs out of the pot and dunk them in the ice bath for 15 minutes to stop the cooking. Run the eggs under cold water, peel, and I promise, you will have perfect hard-cooked eggs every time.

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