Bihon (rice sticks) with chicharon (pork cracklings) and kailan (Chinese broccoli)
With the holidays approaching, I’ve been cleaning out the pantry and freezer little by little by cooking bits and pieces of everything to make space for the stuff we’ll need when the girls come home for the Christmas break. Speedy and I can live on very basic basics for five days a week but we fill up the fridge and the pantry on weekends when the girls are home. Well, most weekends, anyway. But Christmas break is not just a weekend but over two weeks and we’ll need to buy a lot of things if we don’t want to get caught in the holiday rush. Pantry items can be bought ahead of time. Like? Noodles, grains, beans, flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, coffee, tea… We do a lot of cooking and baking when the girls are here and we’ll need supplies galore. And caffeine to stay awake.
So, the half-consumed package of bihon at the back of beyond of a kitchen shelf and a container of pork trimmings in the freezer became this noodles and chicharon dish. Seasoned with nuoc cham, it has a Vietnamese flavor but the chicharon adds a Filipino touch. The kailan, a Chinese vegetable, makes this a sort of multi-racial dish.
To make the chicharon, follow the procedure for making lechon kawali with no frying. Use pork skins with a thin layer of fat then chop the browned and crisp skin into bite-size pieces. If you have no pork skin to make into chicharon, you can use good-quality store-bought chicharon. If you want to use something other than chicharon, check out the other bihon recipes in the archive, here and here.
Recipe: Bihon (rice sticks) with chicharon (pork cracklings) and kailan (Chinese broccoli)
- 60 g. of good-quality bihon
- 1 tbsps. of cooking oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 tsp. of minced garlic
- 1 tsp. of minced ginger
- 1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
- a bunch of kailan (Chinese broccoli), cut into two-inch lengths; stalks and leaves separated
- about 1 tsp. of patis (fish sauce)
- nuoc cham (get the recipe), to taste
- about 3/4 c. of chicharon (pork cracklings)
- Soak the noodles in tap water for about ten minutes or just long enough to soften a bit to separate them. You want them still underdone by the time you drain them and add to the pan so that they can soak up the nuoc cham.
- Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan. Saute the onion, garlic and ginger just until fragrant, about half a minute. Add the kailan stalks. Stir fry for a minute. Add the kailan leaves and carrot, season lightly with patis, and cook for half a minute.
- Add the drained bihon to the pan. Stir fry to coat the noodles with oil. Pour in about one-eighth cup of nuoc cham. Stir fry until the noodles have soaked up the sauce.
- Taste the noodles, if it needs more seasoning, add more nuoc cham — sparingly because if you pour in too much liquid after the noodles have fully swelled, the excess liquid will make them soggy.
- Add the chicharon to the noodles and toss just until heated through.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s)
Cooking time: 10 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 2 to 3