Pancit Puti (White Vermicelli Noodles)

I used to work in Advertising.  Life in the advertising word is very hectic. Most of the time you don’t even have time to go out and eat. Thanks to “over the phone ordering” with free delivery.

There was this restaurant that serves the best stir fried noodles. They deliver it hot and placed on big winnowing baskets lined with banana leaves. Putting hot food on banana leaves creates this appetizing aroma.  “Pancit Puti” was one of my favorites.

“Pancit” or noodles is very popular in the Philippines. “Puti” on the other hand means “white”.  So this is a white version of the regular stir fried  Vermicelli noodles.

Back then, this dish became very popular (in the Advertising circle) since it was different from the regular stir fry noodles that had mixed vegetables and meat.  This version only had chicken and a sprinkling of fried garlic and spring onions.  But don’t be deceived.  Despite its simplicity, this dish is packed with flavor.

Ingredients

1 whole garlic minced and slowly cooked in oil until golden brown

2 chicken breasts (you can also use 1 whole chicken for a more flavorful broth)

1 medium onion (cut in quarters)

2 stalks celery, cut in half

1/2 teaspoon peppercorn

1 pack vermicelli noodles (250 grams)

1 tbsp garlic oil (from fried garlic)

fish sauce to taste (substitute – sea salt)

white pepper

additional garlic oil for drizzling (optional)

scallions (green onions), chopped

Directions

Fry minced garlic in oil in very very low fire. Cook until golden brown and crunchy.  Set aside.

Boil chicken with onion, celery and peppercorn  in enough water to cover.

Boil chicken until tender.  Drain chicken but reserve the broth.

When the chicken  has cooled down, flake and set aside.

In a large pan saute flaked chicken in 1 tbsp garlic oil in slightly brown. Remove from pan and set aside.

Put the reserved chicken broth in the pan and add the noodles.  Cook noodles in broth. You will know when the noodles are cooked when it is completely rehydrated and turns white.

Season with fish sauce (or sea salt), white pepper and drizzle with some garlic oil.

Top with fried garlic and chopped scallions.

Tips

Make sure the you fry garlic in very low fire. Burnt garlic tastes bitter.

You can boil one whole chicken but only flake the breasts.  The bones of the chicken gives the broth a richer flavor.  Make sure you remove all skin and fat before boiling.

When you boil the chicken, let the water boil on high for five minutes then turn the fire to medium low.  Boiling on low gives a clearer broth.

Make sure you have enough broth to cook the noodles.  Dry noodles absorb a lot of liquid. Turn the noodles occasionally to make sure that it is cooked evenly.

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