Saturday, May 22, 2010

Merry May

May is a month  filled with birthday celebrations in our family.    There are over a dozen members in my family who celebrate  birthdays in May, which includes my hubby.  He just turned 27 (wink wink, he stopped counting when he reached 27--haha!)

As a Filipino Tradition (as to its origin, I'm not quite sure), the birthday feast should always include a noodle dish... which signifies long life.  Any kind of noodles is acceptable: spaghetti, chow mein or rice noodles.  Guests are expected to have some of the noodle dish, and somehow this simple act of eating expresses to the celebrant:  Here's to more birthdays to celebrate and we wish you to have a long and happy life!

That said, imagine how many times I've eaten noodles this month?  Hahaha!  And for my husband's birthday, the noodle dish I prepared was Sotanghon Guisado.  And what impeccable timing that this month Kulinarya Cooking Club 's theme is pancit

Sotanghon (aka glass noodles or cellophane noodles) is a type of vermicelli noodle. To be honest, it took me sometime to learn how to cook this noodle dish. It always turned out to be mushy or gooey. Indeed, practice makes perfect and I have a tip, or more of a trick, to create the perfect sotanghon texture. Let's take a closer look...

See, the strands are shiny and well-defined.  Not pasty or stuck together.   Read on I will share the trick here... but first, let's start with the ingredients:


1 package of sotanghon
1 stick of carrot, sliced
1 stalk of celery, sliced
1/2 cabbage, sliced
1 chicken breast (boiled, then sliced thinly)
4 pcs shrimp balls sliced
2 cups chicken broth
dried sliced  mushrooms (soaked for about 20 mintues, then drain it)
season with oyster sauce and soy sauce
garlc, mince,
onions, sliced


In a wok, saute some garlic and onions, add chicken and shrimp balls.  Add the veggies.  I don't want my veggies to be overcooked, so set it aside as soon as it is ready along with chicken and shrimp balls. 

On the same wok, pour 2 cups of chicken stock.  Now here's my secret, I set aside some boiling hot chicken stock for use later (if needed).  When the stock is boiling in the wok, add the sotanghon noodles.  While some people soak their noodles in water before cooking, I don't follow this rule.  Instead, I cook the sotanghon in the boiling stock without presoaking it.  Within minutes the noodles are cooked.  The noodles absorb the chicken stock quickly, when you see that the stock is absorbed, check the firmness of the noodles.  If it needs to be cooked more and all the stock has been absorbed, add more boiling chicken stock (which you previously set aside).  Let it cook 1-2 minutes.  However, if it's already al dente, take out the excess stock.  You don't want the noodles to absorb more as this will make it soggy. 

Another trick is to get the noodles out of the wok right away.  This will prevent you from overcooking the noodles.  Now we're ready to garnish.

For garsnishing, use the stir fried chicken/shrimp balls and veggies.  Top it with chicharon (crispy pork rinds) green onions and toasted garlic.

Serve with fish sauce, lemon or calamansi... enjoy!

For the birthday celebrants out there... Here's to long life and happiness.  Cheers!


  1. thanks for the tip on cooking the noodles so they don't stick. love the chicharon garnish!

  2. Great post. Happy Birthday to your husband.

    Thank you for the tip. I much prefer your technique rather than pre-doing them.


  3. Birthday with noodles is an interesting tradition indeed. If it were extended to Japan, I wouldn't be able to await the special day every year :) Happy birthday!

  4. OMG I haven't had a perfect sotanghon guisado in a long long time. That made me so hungry!

  5. Wow...that's so much food and fun for all the celebrations going round. I have never heard of so many! Happy '27th' Birthday to your hubby!...haha :D Love your noodle dish. I remember my mom used to make us eat a bowl of white long noodles (mi suah) with chicken soup and 2 hard boiled eggs....a symbol of long life, peace and prosperity, to celebrate our birthdays.

  6. MErry may....i love ur Merry May ...its cooooooooooooooolllllllllllllllll.
    Oh i love birthdays too and the presents along...
    Happy happy ''27th'' birthday to ur dear hubby !!
    And the noodles sure are super delicious!!!

  7. The chicharon on top makes your version a winner in my book, looks very delicious!

  8. I love how Filipinos make glass noodle dishes! We Chinese also think noodles represent long life!

  9. In my family we've got a lot of April/May celebrants too! And just like you, we always celebrate with noodles - pancit is also a favourite! Your pancit looks so delicious that I am sure that those celebrating would surely be blessed with a long life!

  10. Love Sotanghon! I really need to make this at home.

  11. Happy Birthday to your loved ones!

    Pancit is one of my favorite foods. I don't think there is a variety of it that I don't enjoy and your sotanghon guisado looks delish!

  12. Your sotanghon quisado is so delicious, i like the addition of chicharon. I remember my mom always tells us not to cut the noodles esp. if it's cooked for a bday celebration. Pancit is for longevity that's why it's not supposed to be cut. Guess that's just my mom's idea.

  13. i love your version of the pancit. I love how you have the different textures going on. YUM

  14. I've always been afraid to try making pancit at home, though I really love it! Armed with your fabulous tips, I might just give it a go!

    I love the noodle/birthday tradition too, so festive and yummy as well. Long Life and Happy Birthday wishes to you and yours this month, Malou! :)

  15. Happy 27th birthday to your hubby!! ;)
    I'm glad you are able to make this month's theme (even though I know you just posted a noodle dish) :) Thanks for the tip on cooking sotanghon, I for one always get hit-or-miss with them.

  16. I love sotanghon,thanks for the cooking tip! I use chicharon for garnish how it melts when mixed with piping hot pancit :)

    Happy birthday to your dear husband!! :)

  17. I love your sotanghon! In pasta world it is best describe al dente, love the chicharon topping least your hubby is younger than mine. Mr. H is stuck at 32!

  18. Annie: thanks for dropping by and im glad to meet you.. I hope to see you around.

    Lazaro: I hope the technique workd for you just like it does for me.

    TLS: I thought they do that in Asian countries but I guess not in Japan? GReat to see you again.

    Roushel: heya great to see you. Next time we see each other Ill cook pancit for you.

    Mary: Thanks for the greeting.. and yeah with so many birthdays you would imagine how many pounds I gained this month haha.

    Chef D... Im thrilled that you liked it... i hope you get to try it.

    Mia: birthdays are fun especially with the presents and of course the "feast" that goes with it.. great to see you MIA!

    Kenny: it's been awhile... but great to see you. I know some parts of Asia do believe in that tradition...

    Trissa: Im sure those April and May are merry months in your calendar too. Birthdays are fun to be together with the fam.

    Veron: I hope you get to try it... sotanghon really hits the spot especially when you haven't had it in awhile.

    Jean: heya great to meet you... thanks for dropping by.

    Taga Luto: I love the name. yeah we don't cut our sotanghon too just like your mom... hahah it's for long life!

    Cherrie: Chicharon gives an interesting flavor too...

    Diva: I hope you get to try it. Let me know if the technique works for you too. Thanks for the greetings as well...

    Carol: of course I had to do it.. you were the one who picked the theme this month so I really had to hahah

    Olive: yeah I love chicharon.. as a topping or solo... hahah.

    Cusinera:yep al dente it is.. because if it's soggy it's hard to salvage the dish.

  19. Yum! Happy birthday to your hubby!

  20. Thank you so much for sharing your tip with us; I have tried this dish and in fact we eat it quite frequently in Beirut due to the presence of a large Filippino community and love it; it is like you say tricky to get it perfect and that's why I appreciated your tip so much. Love this dish!

  21. Beautiful dish! Happy Birthday to all in your family!!!
    so where do you live in San Diego? Any great restaurant tips, we are fairly new to the area and try new restaurants on the weekends.

  22. Refreshing noodles topped with pork rinds?! Yum! Great tip on cooking the noodles.

    You must have a ton a Tauruses in your family, so do I.

  23. Great tip! I've never had this before! xoxo


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