Pancit Bihon or Stir-Fry Rice Noodles with Meat and Vegetables is a popular dish in the Philippines and often served for birthdays. The seasonings are typically soy sauce, fish sauce and fresh citrus juice.
Noodles were actually introduced to the Philippines by the Chinese, and are traditionally served at birthday celebrations. We have four birthday celebrations in our family between April and June, so lots of noodles are being eaten. Although gluten-free noodles are a fairly new product in American markets, Asians have long eaten noodles made with gluten-free flours, including rice, mung bean, sweet potato and buckwheat flours. In fact, gluten-free noodles are a lot less expensive at local Asian stores and they come in all different widths.
Today, I’m using two different types of noodles in my Stir-Fry Rice Noodles – thin rice noodles and mung bean noodles. Although thin rice noodles are typically used for this dish, a woman at the Asian grocery store suggested I try using both rice and mung bean noodles for a more interesting texture in the final dish. Mung bean noodles are a bit gelatinous while rice noodles are firmer.
These Stir-Fry Rice Noodles can be made with various proteins (chicken, shrimp, pork) and vegetables (cabbage, carrots, snow peas, celery, onions). I chose chicken and shrimp as the proteins and a mixture of cabbage, red bell pepper, carrots and shitake mushrooms for the vegetables. The typical seasonings include soy sauce, fish sauce and calamansi juice (a citrus fruit that has a sweet rind but sour flesh). Since fresh calamansi is unavailable locally, I used fresh lemon.
Most of the work is in prepping the ingredients – cutting the chicken into thin strips and preparing the vegetables. For a shortcut, I used thin sliced chicken breast and cut them into thin strips. I also used large frozen peeled shrimp which I cut in half lengthwise to “multiply” the amount of shrimp in the dish. Once all the ingredients are prepared, everything is simply stir-fried together. I did use a Chinese technique of marinating the proteins prior to stir-frying that I think results in more tender chicken and shrimp. I think this small step makes all the difference in the texture of the chicken and shrimp in the final dish.