If you’re wondering who “Ernest” is, he is a 17-year-old reader who posted the recipe for pancit canton in the comment thread of the beef laing entry. I’ve been using oyster sauce for cooking pancit canton for years — since I got the idea from a geeky cousin-in-law, Luigi — but combining oyster sauce with hoisin sauce sounded really radical. Just thinking about it, well… I could already smell and taste the pancit canton.
The best thing about this recipe is that no starch is added to thicken the sauce. That has always been a problem when I cooked pancit canton for a large group of people. As the noodles cool, the sauce either turns watery (common result when using corn starch) or too thick and sticky (it happens when using tapioca starch). Hence, a no-starch pancit canton seemed like the perfect solution.
You know what? I ate half of the pancit canton for lunch. My husband arrived at around 3.00 p.m. and I had not yet started cooking dinner. But the remaining half of the pancit canton was still in the frying pan. I turned on the stove, poured in half a cup of water to the cooked pancit canton and reheated. My husband finished it all and he doesn’t even like Chinese style noodle dishes.
The egg noodles I used are imported from China but I suppose you can use any brand of pancit canton — whatever is available. However, I do not recommend the kind that comes with powdered flavoring. You know, like Lucky Me or Nissin. The noodles are too thin and might not withstand the constant stirring in the pan.
Although Ernest gave a very vegetarian recipe, I thought I’d tweak the recipe a little to suit my personal taste. I added sesame seed oil and a little light soy sauce for more balance. And, instead of mushrooms, I used Chinese sausages. I also added a variety of vegetables.
I used a small bunch of Taiwan pechay (oh, it’s just another variety of cabbage but it is labeled as Chinese pechay in the supermarket) and onion leaves for my pancit canton. But you can add whatever vegetables you fancy. Variety in color and texture is a rule of thumb with stir fries but if you prefer all-green veggies, well, so long as you enjoy what you cook.
The following recipe serves two.
about 120 grams (dry weight) of egg noodles
1 Chinese sausage (longganisang macau), 2 if small
1 small carrot
a bunch of Taiwan pechay (or any green leafy vegetable with a mild flavor)
about half a cup of cut onion leaves (1 to 2 inches in length is fine)
2 tbsps. of oyster sauce
2 tbsps. of hoisin sauce
1 tsp. of light soy sauce
a drizzle of sesame seed oil
Cooking procedure :
Peel and thinly slice the carrot.
Cut the Taiwan pechay into 2-inch lengths, separating the light green stalks from the dark green leaves.
Slice the Chinese sausages thinly and place in a cold frying pan. Turn on the heat to medium. The sausages will render their own fat so there is no need to add cooking oil. Stir fry for about a minute then add the carrot slices and the light green stalks of the Taiwan pechay. Stir fry for another minute then add the dark green leaves of the Taiwan pechay and the onion leaves. Cook for another 30 seconds then turn off the heat and transfer the vegetables to a plate and keep warm.
Pour about two cups of water into the pan. Mix together the oyster sauce, hoisin sauce and light soy sauce. Stir
half of the mixture into the water and bring to a soft boil. Add the egg noodles and simmer until the noodles are soft (but not mushy) and most of the liquid has evaporated. By the time the water evaporates, the noodles will be nicely coated by the sauce. Add the stir fried sausages and vegetables to the noodles, season with pepper and toss to distribute.
Transfer the cooked pancit canton to a plate, drizzle with some sesame seed oil and top with toasted garlic.
Then, enjoy the fruits of your labor. You deserve it.
Doesn’t that make you feel like being in the midst of the Chinese New Year celebrations? :)