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Jasmine Wolf

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Simple, Easy, Tasty & Cheap [Jun. 1st, 2010|08:58 pm]
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Once again, it's me, posting on LJ about food. Jim and I cook at home, a lot. We're poor, it's cheaper to buy raw ingredients and cook. And since we both grew up in Asia, we tend to cook a lot of Asian-related stuff. I have enough friends that keep telling me they really like me sharing what I do, and how I do it, that here's another one. This time on Pancit Canton, which is a fried noodle dish. Like my earlier ramen entry, it's essentially "how to get something really tasty from cheap ramen packets" and this time, without it being ramen soup at all!

I walk you through Pancit, Pancit Canton and then at the end there's a note about yakisoba.

- Pancit is pretty much the Filipinos stealing Chinese cooking and making it their own. It's basically a fried noodle dish.
- There are many kinds of Pancit, but the traditional is Pancit Bihon which is a rice noodle dish, that then has different variations regionally.
-This is the big different between Pancit Bihon and Pancit Canton, as Pancit Canton is a wheat noodle dish.
- Pancit Bihon is delicious, although it's not as "quick and easy" to make, as a lot of people will claim. Or at least by American standards*.
- Last time I made it, I used this recipe:
- There is no way to fake Pancit Bihon that I've come up with yet. This makes me a sad sad panda.

Pancit Canton:
- Pancit Canton, on the other hand - CAN be faked! Deliciously so. And quickly and easily, by American standards.
- If you feel like doing it the hard way, Food Network actually has a pretty good recipe: (I'm probably going to Asian Pride Hell by suggesting you guys use a Food Network recipe, btw.)
- But then again, Lucky Me brand makes an instant Pancit Canton ... thing ... so they'll all at least be in Asian Pride Hell right along with me, if that's the case.
- And the Lucky Me brand shit is what got all of this started...
- Jim loves the FUCK out of anything Filipino, growing up there probably had something to do with it, but seriously, nothing is better than something that even remotely looks Filipino to my husband. (Instead of "steak and a blow job day" we have "lumpia and a blow job day"... it's special)
- We got us some Lucky Me brand instant shit, and I was looking at it, and I made it. And in the process I realized that "Hey, I could do this with a 10cent ramen packet, instead of a $1.25 Lucky Me packet..." really really easily, because the noodles are pretty much the same and I can fake everything else.

How do do this:
- Boil the ramen noodles according to the package, but just drain them completely. You're not making a broth like you would with regular ramen.
- Mix the spice packet with about a 1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce, and a 1/3 tablespoon of either sesame oil, or peanut oil (for a slightly duller flavor) or hot chili oil (for more flavor). If you use the sesame, and still like it to be spicy, I'd then recommend a small amount of your own chili sauce to taste. I personally prefer the sesame + chili sauce, because in my brain Pancit Canton is supposed to be spicy, and sesame oil is an awesome flavor. If you do it right, you get a sort of saucey-"paste" that's really thin will then separate out in the dish while you're waiting around (oil and soy sauce separate just like oil and vinegar), mix it again before adding it to the noodles. It is important to mix these together in a separate dish first. Do not try and mix them together, in with the noodles.
- Grab your wok (or just a regular non-stick skillet if you're desperate) and heat up a bit of oil. I use 1 part sesame oil, 3 parts regular vegetable oil, but you can use all veggie oil if you wish. I don't ever measure the amount of oil, but you want a thin coating across the bottom with a little extra for wiggle room.
- Toss in your drained noodles, and then add the flavor mixture. Then fry them.
- If you're really feeling adventurous, you can toss in whatever veggies sound good to you (onions, snow peas, sliced green/red pepper, broccoli, squash, sliced mushrooms, etc), as well as thin bits of pork or chicken, while frying the noodles and top it with green onions. According to Jim you can even crack an egg in there and scramble it up with the noodles while frying them, but being allergic to eggs, I've never tried this. Adding shit always makes it more of "meal" (I always put things in with my ramen, so of course I do here, too), but they're actually fantastic even without it.
- Take noodles from wok, to a plate, and then squirt a bit of lemon juice (or calamansi juice, if you've got it, which I doubt you do).
- Eat it while warm, although Jim insists you can also eat it cold the next day for lunch... we've never had it last long enough in the house to test this theory.

And a very quick note about Yakisoba: (It's related to everything else... sorta... I swear...)
- Someone recently said to me "I'd really like to make yakisoba at home, and not the shitty instant kind, but I have trouble finding the noodles."
- Most recipes call for just "wheat noodles" but there's... a lot... of wheat noodles out there, and picking the wrong one could be very bad. Other recipes say you can use udon noodles, don't use those, that's a terrible mistake. Regular udon noodles, the kind you can easily find at Asian markets here in the states, are too thick, too fatty, too chewy for yakisoba (they won't fry well... it'll be a mess). Good recipes tell you to use "chuka" noodles which is basically a variation on traditional soba noodles that's thinner and made different but they're uncommon and thus hard to find.
- I'm about to let you in on one of the greatest secrets in the universe: Yakisoba/Chuka noodles are pretty much the same kind as instant ramen noodles.
- Technically, if you're buying them fresh instead of dried, yakisoba/chuka noodles have a teeny tiny higher fat content and are round. But dried chuka noodles don't exist. Why? Because that's pretty much the same thing as the instant ramen noodles you get in packs for 10cents.
- So to make you yakisoba at home, just use those dried noodles (and if you want to know what to do with the seasoning packet you don't end up using, you can always mix it with sour cream for a chip dip!)
- Need a good yakisoba-at-home recipe? Is pretty good, other than, you know, they're dumb about what noodles they tell you to use. But hey! Now you know better~

*"American Standards" for me, is really probably a very harsh judgement on Americans and their cooking. But I honestly have friends who complain about spending longer than 30 minutes when cooking, and dealing with more than a handful of ingredients, and if Wal-mart doesn't carry said ingredients they freak out at me like I just told them to eat their own foot. Between this and the fact that Rachel Ray's shit is so fucking popular, I assume that is pretty much the American Standard.

And as an ending note, there's enough of these now that I've even actually bothered to come up with some tags (didn't know if I liked "omgcooking" or "cook like me" better... so I'm using them both until I decide), so all these entries can be more easily found from now on. I'm terrible about tags, but hopefully they'll at least get used for this.
And in case you missed what we have so far in this series:
- ramen
- tuna, pickles & rice

let me know if you have any questions or requests