Pancit is undeniably one of most recognizable Filipino dishes in the US. It’s a savory noodle dish always present at parties and potlucks, which is probably why so many people recognize it. But unknown to some, Pancit comes in many forms –Palabok, Bihon, Luglog, Malabon, etc. My favorite is Palabok. It’s savory and “eggy”, topped with orange sauce and festive toppings like green onion, fried garlic, and chicharon. It’s beautifully served with calamansi citrus on the side.
As a kid, I loved Palabok‘s creamy sauce and tender noodles. I would usually buy Palabok from our neighborhood eatery or karinderya. Occasionally, my mom would also make it from scratch for events like birthdays and town fiestas. Back then, I didn’t care for the recipe; I just wanted to eat it. Now that I’m vegan, I’m all about the recipe! My mom was more than happy to teach me her version (which was the one I featured on my YouTube video). Later on, I’ve discovered yet another way to veganize Pancit Palabok using more whole-based ingredients.
The second version does not call for vegetable broth and corn starch. Rather, it calls for ingredients like potato flour, nutritional yeast, and Indian black salt (or kala namak). It also features a vegan chicharon recipe using a type of mushroom called snow fungus (the name may not sound appetizing, but trust me on this).
- 1 package Excellent Bihon rice sticks noodles (Excellent is the name of the brand!) (16 oz) (see note below) or
- 1 package Super Q corn starch noodles (8oz or half of 16 oz) (see note below)
- 6 cups water
- ¾ cup potato flour (not potato starch!)
- 2 (1/3 oz.) packet Mama Sita annatto powder whisked and dissolved in ¼ cup water (see note below)
- ½ cup nutritional yeast (see note below)
- 1½ - 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 teaspoons indian black salt/kala namak (see note below)
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- a pinch of black pepper
- 3 tablespoons canola oil (or enough to cover the base of the pan)
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed, and minced
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
- ¾ cup julienne/cut into matchsticks carrots
- ¾ cup thinly sliced diagonally green beans
- 1½ cup fried tofu cubes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon sliced green onions
- 1 tablespoon minced roasted or fried garlic (see note below)
- 3-5 kalamansi citrus, cut in half (or any citrus fruit of choice)
- 2-3 tablespoons vegan chicharon
- Soak noodles in a container of warm water for 20-30 minutes.
- Whisk water, potato flour, and annatto powder until fully dissolved. Pour mixture and the rest of the broth ingredients in a medium-sized pot. Mix well. Put to a boil then turn off heat.
- On a medium-sized pan, saute garlic and onion with oil until onion has turned soft and translucent.
- Add carrots, green beans, and tofu. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for another 3-5 minutes then turn off heat.
- Transfer sautéed vegetables into the pot of broth. Mix well. Adjust sea salt and black salt to taste. It should taste more savory than preferred (because you'll be mixing it with bland noodles later on).
- Speaking of noodles, boil a pot of water. Blanch noodles by adding them to the pot of boiling water then quickly drain using a colander.
- Place noodles on a serving plate. Pour about 4 ladle-full of sauce and combine well.
- Generously pour more sauce on top.
- Sprinkle toppings if desired (citrus slices on the side).
- Serve immediately.
You could find Excellent rice sticks or Super Q noodles, Mama Sita annatto powder, and Snow Fungus at most Asian grocery stores or online (click brand names to take you to the amazon shopping link).
You could find nutritional yeast at health food stores like Rainbow Grocery, Whole Foods, or online.
You could find indian black salt at most Indian grocery stores and health food stores like Whole foods, or online.
When frying the garlic for palabok topping, simply fry in oil until browned then quickly turn off the heat.
If you rather use potato starch, whisk 4-6 tablespoons potato starch in ½ cup vegetable broth before adding it to the pot.
At a recent cooking demo at Pasadena’s “Taste of South Lake“, I thought of showing people how to make Pancit Palabok. At first I was worried because I was the first one on the lineup. But few minutes before the demo, a crowd started forming. Everyone paid close attention, even asked questions. And when it was my turn to ask them questions, they all answered the questions correctly!
Afterward, I gave away samples of the Palabok, as well as vegan Isaw and kalamansi citrus. Everybody stood up to form a line. It even lured some of the festival goers who were just walking by. Unfortunately, we ran out of samples for the passersby. Hopefully, they’re checking this post right now so they could recreate the dish at home.
Thank you to all those who attended my demo, and to my friend Rosie and my boyfriend Chris for going with me on a road trip and helping me with everything. I could not have done it without you! And thank you to the organizers who believed in me and invited me to this wonderful event.
With the new recipe posted, I hope everyone could give this improved version a try and have a deeper connection with the familiar dish that is Pancit Palabok.
(Note: The product links are associated to my amazon associates account)