Saturday, May 22, 2010
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
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!