Hello Everyone! I might keep this section of the blog short (and I say might because I know that even though I’ve said that, my post will always end up being fairly long by the time I finish writing), because I am feeling a bit overworked and tired today – actually I’ve been feeling exhausted since the beginning of the week and it may be due to a mentally challenging Escape Room challenge that I did with a few friends on Monday evening. Small tangent – we all shared the spotlight on dumb blonde moments!
Tanget aside, tonight’s recipe is a dish that I, of course as all dishes I write about, love but isn’t cooked often at home. The only reason I can think of is maybe because it requires a lot of ingredients and preparation I guess. It’s not so much about how long it takes to make the sauce because in the past, my mom would just use a ready-made powdered version of the sauce that you can easily find on the shelves in the Filipino/Asian food section of your local grocers. For tonight’s post though, I will be making the sauce from scratch just because I want to 🙂 This is also the first time that I have tried making the sauce from scratch and it was a huge success! It’s actually quite easy to make, it just requires a lot of time and patience; but I know for sure that I will not be buying ready-made sauce packets ever again! Unless of course, time is not on my side. I mean, if you’re going to use fresh prawns to top your noodles off in the end, then you might as well take an extra step in salvaging the heads and peels to make a delicious sauce, right?
Anyway, before we jump on to the recipe, I followed Trissalicious’ recipe for making the Palabok sauce from scratch so don’t forget to check her blog out too for her take on this delicious dish!
PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | SERVES 8-10
For the prawn stock
- 500g fresh prawns, heads and peels reserved
- 1.5L water
- Ground salt
- Whole black peppercorns
For the sauce
- 100g thin sliced pork belly, cut into chunks
- 3-4 cups prawn stock (see recipe below)
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 small red onions, diced
- 1 pc firm tofu, finely diced
- 4 tbsp plain flour
- 2-3 tbsp fish sauce, adjust quantity to taste
- 1 tsp achuete powder
- Ground salt and black pepper, to taste
Noodles and Toppings
- 500 grams pancit luglug (cornstarch noodles)*
- Firm tofu, deep fried and cut into chunks
- Hard boiled egg, sliced
- Pork crackling (chicharon), crushed
- Prawns, poached
- Smoked fish (tinapa), flaked
- Squid, cut into rings and poached
- Spring onion
*You may also use bihon (thin rice vermicelli noodles) for this dish
- Make the prawn stock: Add the prawn heads and peels to a medium-sized pot and cover with about a litre and a half of water. Season with a bit of salt and whole black peppercorns. Bring to a boil over high heat and then turn it down to a slow simmer. Make sure to press down on the heads and peels as it simmers away to extract as much flavour as you can. Leave it to simmer for about 30 minutes. While the stock is simmering away, you can get a head start in preparing your toppings for the dish. I recommend that you leave the poaching of the prawns and squid for last, when you sauce is almost ready.
- Make the sauce: Heat a large frying pan over medium-high and add in the chunks of pork belly. Cook until browned. The oils released from the pork belly should be enough to sauté the garlic and cook the onions, but if needed, add a little bit more oil if there isn’t enough. Then add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant and golden brown, about a minute, then followed by the diced onions. Cook until soft, about 2 minutes in total.
- Add in the firm tofu and give it a good mix. Then, add in achuete powder and plain flour, followed by the prawn stock. Make sure to add the stock in a bit at a time as if making a roux and make sure to mix well after each addition. The sauce should be quite thick, resembling the consistency of a béchamel – you may add more water if you want your sauce thinner, or likewise, add more flour if the sauce is feeling a bit thin to your liking. Add the fish sauce and season with some salt and black pepper to taste. Bring the heat down to low and let it slowly simmer away for about half an hour (10-15 minutes if you are impatient); but the longer you leave it on the stove, the tastier the sauce becomes!
- Cook the noodles: While your sauce is simmering away, cook the noodles according to the packer instructions, about 15 minutes for the pack of noodles that I got. Once done, drain and divide the noodles equally into individual plates. Also, don’t forget to poach your prawns and squid by this point!
- Assemble: Top the noodles with a generous amount of sauce and add your favourite toppings! Serve immediately with a squeeze of calamansi (or lemon) juice and enjoy!
– Ally xx