A few times I have been asked on our Facebook page if I have a vegetarian version of our country's famous noodle dish - Pansit. At that time, I actually have never tried it without meat. In the Philippines, we either use chicken or pork, sometimes shrimp and even Chinese sausage to add flavor to the Pancit. However, there is a first time for everything. Finally, I decided to make a vegetarian/meatless version of the Pansit for our friends who prefer that diet.
I must say that with a great and flavorful sauce, this is actually quite a delicious version of our classic dish. The vegetables, especially the mushrooms, add a lot of flavor to the dish and gives it the substance that it needs. For a more robust version, use shiitake mushrooms as they have more flavor and are "meatier" thus the perfect substitute for the regular meat used in Pansit. As usual, the dish is uncomplicated though I suggest that you prepare the veggies ahead and all the ingredients should be at hand to make cooking easier.
1-2 Tablespoons Olive oil
4 Garlic cloves, chopped
1 medium Onion, chopped
1 medium Carrot, peeled and then julienned (about 2 inches)
3/4 cup Green beans, diagonally cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup snow peas
Half a small to medium Cabbage, chopped
8 oz Brown mushrooms, chopped
2 1/2 cups Vegetable broth/stock or water
2 (8 oz) packs of Pansit Canton* (or Bihon) - can be found in Asian stores - look for the Philippine brand*
Salt and pepper, or to taste
A bunch of fresh Cilantro, chopped for garnish
For the Sauce
4 Tablespoons Soy sauce (regular or wheat/gluten-free)
1 Tablespoon vegetarian* (or regular) Oyster sauce (regular or gluten-free)
1 1/2 teaspoons Sugar, or to taste
*If you want to make it gluten-free use the Bihon (Rice Noodles) as the Canton Noodles are an egg-wheat noodle combo. I used Pansit Canton when I made this.
*A vegetarian oyster sauce is one made from mushrooms.
Handy tool: Wok or large frying pan
Heat oil in a big wok. Saute garlic and onion for a minute. Add the vegetables and season with a little salt and pepper. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes or until a little tender.
Pour about 2 cups of the vegetable stock/broth or water into the wok. Season with the soy and oyster sauces and sugar. Bring to a boil.
When it begins to boil add the noodles. Stir to ensure it gets soaked in the sauce. If you need more liquid, pour a little more of the left-over broth or water (remaining 1/2 cup).
Continue to stir the noodles while trying to soak them in the sauce until all the liquid has dried up. It should be pretty dry like the photo below. Adjust seasoning with a little salt and pepper, if necessary.
Garnish with some chopped Cilantro and serve with either Calamansi (Philippines' local lemon) or chopped lemon slices on the side. We love to squeeze a few drops of calamansi or lemon on the noodles for that extra tang! Enjoy!
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