One of the best memories of my Lola (Filipino word for grandma) was when she would cook for us. She did pretty much all of the Filipino cooking in my family, and would make it for my cousins and me, every time she visited. While the cooking gene definitely skipped over my mom and went to me, my Lola loved to cook and was always trying new recipes inspired by places she'd been or things she'd tried at restaurants. I miss my Lola a lot, and think about her often especially since we live in NYC--which was where she first moved when moving to the States.
She had a miraculous ability to grow literally anything in her garden, wore red lipstick better than anyone, and was the strongest fighter for life I've ever known. She went to church daily, always wore a silk scarf and hat, and made it to all of my cousins and my school events, sports games, graduations, and musical recitals that she could. Basically, she was a multi-skilled, omnipresent, stylish badass.
When I visited home last week, I wanted to recreate a favorite Filipino dish with my mom, in memory of my Lola. I've never met anyone who doesn't like pancit, and while traditionally it is made with chicken, the best thing about it is that it is completely customizable, and you can use shrimp or beef or chicken and it will still taste good. It is basically a stir fry, but made with rice noodles instead of rice. Feel free to throw in any vegetables you have on hand. We used green beans but I've had it with corn, celery, or other veggies too. It is served at every party where Filipinos are present (and maybe a side of karaoke). Oh yeah, and it is absolutely delicious!!
Filipino Shrimp Pancit (serves 4-6)
- rice noodles (6 oz package)
- 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 stalks carrots (1 cup), chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 large handfuls cabbage (approx. 2 cups), chopped
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup green beans or corn (optional)
- 1 tbl black pepper
Soak rice noodles in warm water for 15-30 minutes. Drain completely, and set aside.
Heat a large frying pan with 1 tbl. of the oil on high heat. Add shrimp and season with soy sauce and black pepper. Cook until shrimp are completely done (should be pink and no longer clear). Remove from pan and set aside.
Add more oil if necessary and add vegetables. Cook until onions are clear and veggies are crisp on the outside. Add shrimp back in the pan and then add rice noodles, mixing everything together. Add remainder of soy sauce, black pepper, and the rest of the oil. Cook on high heat and mix noodles with veggies and shrimp, until noodles are tender. Serve with a side of lemon and green onion!