Monday, April 21, 2014

cora cooks pancit

Filipinos are well known for their hospitality.  Not to be stereotypical or anything, BUT Filipinos are also a jovial bunch.  They like to sing.  They like to dance.  Most importantly, though, they like to feed people.

When I was growing up, we would frequently visit with my mom's friends or my dad's siblings.  Upon entering our hosts' home, we would immediately be encouraged to eat, whether we were hungry or not.  No time for small talk and chit chat.  Just sit down and eat.

So, to kick off this new series Beauty in the Kitchen, I thought it would be fitting to pay homage to my Filipino heritage.

I asked my blogger friend Sarah Isis (also Filipino) to share with us the picture book Cora Cooks Pancit by Dorino K. Lazo Gilmore and her grandmother's special recipe for authentic Filipino pancit.  If you have never had pancit, then you really should try preparing and eating this wonderful dish!

This is what Sarah has to say about Cora Cooks Pancit:

This picture book deals with family recipes and introducing children to cooking.  Cora is the youngest of five children.  Her older siblings always got the "grown-up" jobs in the kitchen like stirring, rinsing the vegetables, and preparing the noodles.  But when Cora was left at home with her mother, she was given the sous chef position!  Out of all the delicious Filipino dishes she could think of, she chose to prepare pancit .

The book gives a glimpse of a Filipino-American family in the United States.  Cooking Filipino food helps keep the Filipino traditions and culture alive.  It also shows the impact and importance of extended family members, in this case, Grandpa who handed down his recipe to Cora's mom.

I read the book to my children when I read it for the first time.  The illustrations are beautiful.  My four-year-old followed along and asked questions.  My two-year-old was mostly interested in the illustrations.  The recommended age range for this picture book is four to eight years old (I agree!).  The book might be a little longer for those under four, but you can get them engaged by pointing to the dancing chicken drumsticks and lumpia.

There is a recipe in the back of the book that is easy to follow.  Once you have tried it, let me know what you think!

Just like how Cora's mom remembers her father cooking his family recipe, I try to capture the flavors of my Lola's (Grandma's) pancit.  I am still working on it.  Here is my take on my Lola's pancit!

Ingredients for Pancit

  • 2 cups of rotisserie chicken, chopped and shredded in to bite-sized pieces; or you can used leftover grilled or baked chicken breast
  • 2 cloves of garlic, mashed
  • 1 small yellow onion, sliced
  • 1-2 tablespoons of canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons of grated ginger
  • 1-2 cups of snap peas
  • 1-2 cups of carrots, julienned
  • 1 head of cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons of light soy sauce (for less salt)
  • 2-3 tablespoons of oyster sauce; For the fresh, less processed kind, I suggest shrimp juice from whole shrimp.  In the mid-west, this is hard to find, so I just give in and use the bottled oyster sauce.
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 package (9 oz) of rice noodles, softened per package instructions
  •  3 hard boiled eggs
  • 2 stalks of green onion, chopped
  • 1/2 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste

How to Prepare the Pancit

  1. Prepare the chicken.

  2.  Heat the canola oil in a large skillet or wok on medium-high heat.  Once the oil is hot, heat the garlic and onions and cook until the onions are somewhat soft and shiny.  Add the ginger and cook for about 30 seconds until fragrant.

  3. Add the carrots and snap peas.  Cook for about 5-10 minutes until soft.  Add the cabbage about half way through.

  4. Meanwhile, mix the soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar in a small bowl.

  5. Add the chicken once the vegetables are soft.  Heat through.

  6. Add softened rice noodles.  Mix well.

  7. Add the sauce and mix some more!

  8. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  9. To serve, squeeze half a lemon.  Chop the hard boiled eggs and place on top.  Sprinkle with green onions.



Sarah is a Catholic wife, mom of three, and a pediatric neurologist.  When she was young, she would read rather than play hopscotch.  She and her husband introduced picture books to their little ones as soon as they could sit and turn a few pages (or eat them!) When she's not in the kitchen trying new recipes, Sarah can be found shopping online and dressing up.  Be sure to follow Sarah at D-Isis and the "D-Crew".  Photos are courtesy of Sarah's sister, Diana of Find Your Happiness.

As a HUGE thank you to Sarah, let's give her some love in the comments!

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