There’s no excuse for it, so I might as well just put it out there: I’ve been deliberately avoiding my blog. I haven’t been in the kitchen for a while, my posting schedule is pretty much zilch, and…well, I didn’t really care. I think, or at least I’d like to believe that every writer/blogger has gone through a period where…inspiration isn’t really there. You feel parched, tired and done for. Does that sound familiar?
A few things first:
1. I finished reading The Millennium trilogy (ie The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and its sequels) and, I am experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Stieg Larsson just has this ability to draw you in, and I was sucked into a ‘happy’ black hole for a while, hence I took a respite from hardcore writing.
2. My barbecue craving hasn’t abated yet, so watch out for more barbecue dishes soon! (If the grilled pieces of pork and chicken haven’t been the death of me yet!)
3. At least three people wanted to send me herbs, but since international shipping is pricey, it’ll only remain a dream. This is still an invitation to any Filipino living in the Philippines, who might be interested in helping a fella out. (wink)
Anyway, am I back in motion? Hopefully. If there’s one thing I learned from my retreat, it’s that hope is a powerful word. So here I am, hoping for the best.
April rolled by and the first day of May came as a surprise for me. The Kulinarya Club holds a monthly challenge with a specific theme, and strangely enough I only knew of the April theme when the other members started posting their works. It turns out the notice got lost in the mail, so before I jump into the May challenge, here is my attempt at ‘Filipino Food Truck Fare’, brought to you by Louie and Nathan. The premise is that food from a food truck is portable and easy-to-eat, since apparently food trucks have a huge following in the US.
When I was reviewing for my boards, the university’s newly renovated two-story cafeteria was opened. It was a far cry from the two small cramped canteens that served the entire campus. The cafeteria now had a reasonable number of food stalls that served ‘decent’ to ‘great’ food, depending on what stall you choose to buy from. There’s this one stall that serves ‘great’ dimsum – siomai (steamed or friend), rolls, and fried rice and noodles. I go there for the siomai and the noodles, or sometimes both, because if I order the friend noodles, there’s always a siomai or two resting on top.
Observing how they put together the fried noodles is pretty straightforward. Pre-boiled/softened egg noodles have been measured and placed in small individual plastic containers. When somebody orders, all they have to do is get a container, dump the noodles on the pan with oil, then add a little bit of what I assume to be a soy sauce mixture, mix it all together, place it in a small serving bowl, and top it with siomai. That method can easily mesh with the whole dynamic of a food truck, because it’s easy and makes so much sense.
I tried to bring back that ‘noodle love’ by making a simplified version of pancit guisado. ‘Guisado‘ in our context means ‘sautéed‘, and there’s a lot of it going on here. This is Chinese-Filipino happiness on a plate. The taste actually reminds me of the pancit canton of a popular fast food chain here in the Philippines that may or may not be called Chowking.
Pancit Guisado (serves 1 – 2)
- 100 grams dried pancit canton noodles
- 5 – 6 pieces medium-sized prawns (deveined, head and shell removed), each sliced into 3 – 4 small pieces
- half a medium-sized carrot, sliced thinly
- 100 – 150 grams pork belly, sliced into bite sized cubes
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- half a garlic bulb, minced
- 2 small red onions, sliced
- 2 – 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 – 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- spring onions, sliced, for garnish
- Cook the noodles in a pot of boiling water. The noodles may cook fast, around 1 – 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Cook the pork pieces by placing it in a frying pan and adding the water. Let the water boil and cook the pork until the water dries up, pork starts to toast, and fat begins to render. Add the 1/4 cup soy sauce and cook until tender. Set aside.
- In a pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions. Saute until fragrant. Add the carrots and fry until slightly tender.
- Add the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and the prawns. Mix everything together and cook until prawns are pink, around a minute or two. Add the pork belly and noodles.
- Mix everything together and fry for another 30 seconds. When done, remove from pan and serve in individual bowls or in a takeout box for that full effect. Garnish with the spring onions and serve. Enjoy!