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Filipino Noodles with a Smoky Pork and Seafood Sauce: Pancit Palabok

    Filipino Noodles with a Smoky Pork and Seafood Sauce: Pancit Palabok

    Fans of shrimp and pork will go crazy for this Filipino noodle dish. Starting with a foundation of chicken and shrimp stock, the sauce is topped with crab paste, the fluids from shrimp shells and heads, and flakes of smoked fish for an intense, complex taste. Roast pork belly, shrimp, hard-boiled eggs, and an assortment of toppings, including fried garlic, crumbled fried pork rinds, scallions, and citrus wedges, are served on springy rice noodles.

    Table of Contents


    The Pork Belly Recipe:

    • 14 cups (60 ml) fish sauce plus 2–3 teaspoons (30–45 ml), measured out
    • 1 cup of sugar
    • Black pepper, freshly ground, one tablespoon minimum; more if desired
    • One can of coconut milk, 13.5 ounces (398 ml)
    • 120 ml / 1/2 cup
    • 450 grams (1 pound) Ham without the bones and the skin

    To make the Base and Dressing:

    • One whole head of garlic, peeled and minced, and four cloves of garlic, medium in size, smashed and separated
    • Two scallions, the whites set aside for stock and the greens cut thinly crosswise for decoration.
    • One inch of peeled and bruised fresh ginger knife blade.
    • One small red onion, chopped scraps saved for stock
    • Two boneless, skinless chicken thighs (340g; 12 ounces)
    • 3.5 tablespoons of annatto powder 34 cups (60 ml) canola or other neutral oil 1 pound (450 g) big shrimp, ideally head-on
    • A Filipino crab paste in an 8-ounce jar
    • Filipino smoked fish, such as galunggong or tinapa (1/2 cup, 3 ounces), flakes and major bones removed.
    • Making a smooth slurry of cornstarch and cold water requires just three teaspoons each.
    • A kind of salt known as Kosher

    To Help:

    • Pack size: 16 ounces (1 x 8 ounces) Stiff strands of rice or cornstarch noodle
    • Four whole hard-boiled eggs were sliced thinly for presentation.
    • Two lemons or four calamancos, cut into wedges (see notes).
    • As a condiment, fried garlic
    • Chicharron, or pig cracklings, to crush: 1 cup


    1. Place the fish sauce, sugar, one tablespoon of black pepper, and coconut milk in a sealable plastic bag to make the marinade for the pork belly. Shake the bag until the ingredients are well distributed. Place pork belly in a sealable bag, squeeze out as much air as possible, and chill in the fridge overnight. Take the pig belly out of the bag, pat it dry, and then let it dry in the air for at least an hour in the fridge. If you don’t have time to marinate the pork for a whole day, season the belly with fish sauce and black pepper and go from there.
    2. Prepare a 325°F (160°C) oven. Roast the pork belly for 45 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit, in an ovenproof skillet or on a baking sheet coated with foil.
    3. Return the pork to the oven and raise the temperature to 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 degrees Celsius); cook for another 10 minutes or until the skin is browned and crispy. After the pork has cooled, cut it into 1/2-inch thick slices. Put this aside for serving.
    4. Meanwhile, stock and sauce: Put 4 quarts (4 litres) of water into a Dutch oven or another large saucepan. Mix in the white parts of the scallions, the scallion greens, the onion scraps, and the four smashed garlic cloves. Once boiling, add the chicken thighs and continue cooking at a low simmer for another 45 minutes. Take the chicken out, let it cool, and then shred the flesh.
    5. A vast dish of cold water should be prepared. Cook shrimp in a pot of stock until they are pink all the way through, about 2 minutes. Cool the shrimp in an ice bath by transferring them there with a slotted spoon. Discard the ice bath.
    6. Remove the shrimp heads and shells. Crush shrimp shells and moderators in a big crusher and pestle to extract their juices. Press and save the shrimp liquid. Put the bodies and heads back into the stock and let them boil for 5 minutes. Shrimp should be served cold.
    7. Remove solids from stock by straining. Keep 1 quart (1 litre) of stock on hand for the sauce, and store the remainder in the freezer for later.
    8. Warm up a clean quarter cup (60 ml) of oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until it shimmers. For about 5 minutes, add garlic mince and onion dice while stirring occasionally. Annatto powder should be added next, followed by the crab paste, the quart (litre) of stock you set aside, and the shrimp fluids. Get it boiling, then turn it down to a simmer.
    9. Combine the flaked fish and cornstarch slurry by stirring them together. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking to thicken the sauce. You may not need all the fish sauce, so add it in 1-tablespoon increments until the dish is seasoned to your liking. Add salt and pepper to taste. Put the sauce to one side and let it cool while you add the reserved chicken.
    10. Put the remaining oil (1 tablespoon/15 ml) into a big saucepan of boiling salted water. After approximately 3 minutes, when the noodles have softened and turned somewhat clear, add them and simmer while tossing gently to break them up. Drain in a strainer placed in a sink, and then thoroughly rinse the noodles with cold water, discarding them as you go to prevent them from sticking together. Could you leave it to drain completely?
    11. Spread the noodles out on a large platter. Cover everything with sauce. Sprinkle with the hard-boiled eggs and citrus wedges, and then arrange the saved shrimp and pork belly pieces on top. Scatter the fried garlic and smashed pork rinds, along with the cut scallion leaves you set aside. Serve.
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