Pancit palabok is a very popular Filipino rice noodle dish which has a prawn gravy and a variety of toppings such as pork, prawns, chicharon (crispy pork rinds) and fried tofu among other things. Because of the myriad ingredients, people choose to eat this in restaurants or buy in shops specially devoted to selling only this noodle dish. It is so delicious and I just love it.
One of my favourite Malaysian dishes is a prawn noodle soup dish called prawn mee. It has a very rich prawn stock with egg noodles (mee), king prawns and greens. I decided to infuse some of the aspects of this Malaysian dish into the pancit palabok. I used a rich prawn stock cooked Malay style as a soup base for the egg noodles. I added the signature sprinkles which are the essence of the palabok. Crushed chicharon slightly thicken the soup and chicharon chunks sop up the broth. The characteristics of the two dishes are still identifiable but have combined and blended well in one bowlful of comforting goodness.
This recipe serves 4.
4 c. of fresh egg noodles
500 gms. shell on prawns
6 c. water
3 tbsps. fish sauce
4 belly pork rashers
4 pieces of fried tofu, cut into pieces
6 smoked bacon rashers, cut into lardons
1 pack of chicharon, crush half and chop half
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 c. spring onion rings, green parts only
1/4 c. of parsley, chopped
1 poached or soft boiled egg per person
lemon wedges and chilli slices to serve
Shell the prawns. Set the prawn meat aside and use the shells and heads to make the prawn stock.
Heat up 3 tbsps. of oil in a pot or wok. Fry the garlic until light golden brown. Skim the garlic off and set aside.
Fry the prawn shells in the same oil until toasted and the oil turns orange in colour. Add the water and the fish sauce. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 40 minutes until you have a rich prawn stock. Pass through a strainer. Use a spoon to press all the juices out of the shells. Set aside.
Boil the pork rashers until tender. Set aside to cool. Add the pork broth to the prawn stock. Fry the pork on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Leave to cool, then fry again in very hot fat until the skin is blistered. Chop into pieces.
Cut the bacon into lardons and fry until crisp. Blanch the noodles and the spinach leaves separately.
The recipe makes 4 servings. For each serving, put one cup of egg noodles in a bowl or deep dish. Add 1 1/2 c. pork and prawn broth mixture (bring back to a boil before using). Sprinkle with the crushed chicharon, fried garlic, spring onions and parsley. Top with the tofu, pork pieces, chicharon chunks, bacon, a few spinach leaves, and some prawn meat. Serve with a poached egg, lemon wedges, chilli slices and extra fish sauce.
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