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Pancit Bihon Noodles with Snow Peas

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Pancit bihon noodles are long, thin noodles made from cornstarch and are used widely in Philippine cuisine. They’ve got a nice firm texture and can be used in pretty much any recipe that calls for long, spaghetti-like noodles. And they are gluten free.img_6471

Noodles were introduced to the Philippines by the Chinese. It’s said that the word pancit comes from Hokkien, a southern Chinese dialect: pian e sit, which means “something conveniently cooked.” Pancit noodles became a staple—in fact, national—dish of the Philippines.

The recipe I offer here today is a basic Asian noodle dish, and you can add or remove anything you like. Look for pancit bihon in Asian markets.

Pancit Bihon Noodles with Snow Peas

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

½ lb. snow peas
8 oz. pancit bihon noodles
2 teaspoons cooking oil (such as grapeseed or sunflower)
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Sea salt, if desired

Trim the snow peas and either cut into strips or just chop coarsely.img_6470Bring a medium-large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and stir them in. Cook until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.img_6478Drain in a colander and run under cool water to stop the cooking. Set aside.img_6479In a wok or wide frying pan, heat the cooking oil, then add the garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add the snow peas and sauté a few minutes until softened but still crisp.img_6480Add the noodles, sesame oil, and soy sauce. Mix well with tongs.img_6481Taste for seasoning and add a little salt, if needed. Serve hot.img_6485

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Chinese Noodle Stir-Fry with Chickpeas

This week, I’d like to share my recipe for Chinese Noodle Stir-Fry with Chickpeas. There’s nothing like a bowl of noodles, no matter what type of cuisine you’re cooking. It’s comforting and satisfying with layers of flavors and textures. The great thing about noodles is that you can a have them with anything and add anything to them.IMG_2595

One of my favorite way to have noodles is stir-fried with lots of vegetables. I particularly like cabbage, so I start with that and build from there.

I also had some fresh chickpeas and green peas that I had shelled from their pods and needed to use them, so I threw those in as well. Green peas are often found in stir-fries and Asian noodle dishes, but chickpeas not so much. I found them to work beautifully in a stir-fry, especially since I’m a little clumsy with chopsticks and was able to pick up the chickpeas fairly well. Their meaty, firm texture also made a nice contrast to the tender noodles and vegetables.

So, here’s the recipes. Enjoy!

Chinese Noodle Stir-Fry with Chickpeas

2 teaspoons coconut or sunflower oil
10 ounces cremini or baby bella mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 10-ounce package Chinese noodles (your preference)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
3 large garlic cloves, sliced
2 cups sliced cabbage
1 small carrot, diced small
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
½ chickpeas, black-eyed peas, or soy beans
¼ green peas
2 cups greens (spinach, chard, kale, amaranth leaves, etc.)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 sliced scallions for garnish

1. Heat coconut oil in a wide skillet. Add the mushrooms and sauté, stirring often, until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove mushrooms with a slotted spoon and set aside.

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2. Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions.

3. In same pan, add 1 teaspoon sesame oil in a wok or large. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 or 2 minutes. Add cabbage, carrot, and pepper and stir-fry until crisp-tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add beans, peas, mushrooms, and soy sauce and continue stir-frying another 2 to 3 minutes.

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4. Add greens cook until wilted. Stir in remaining sesame oil.

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5. Add the cooked noodles and stir to combine. Divide between 2 bowls and garnish with scallions.

Makes 2 servings.

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Sorghum Stir-Fry

When I step back momentarily from my hectic life, I realize that I’ve packed so much into my days, weeks, and months that lose control of what’s happening. I lose my grip on the reins and things just go all cray-cray.

Sorghum Stir-Fry

Sorghum Stir-Fry

And it’s because of this cray-cray-ness that it’s been such a struggle for me lately to blog regularly. I keep vowing that I will get back on track—and I always mean it—but I succumb to the insanity again and again.

Sorghum

Sorghum

One of the consequences is that I haven’t been able to cook much. I mean, I cook to test recipes or photograph for my cookbooks, but not simply for the pleasure of it. So, I have all these products in my pantry that have been just sitting there, particularly grains. But last weekend, I was determined to pull something out of the pantry and use it. It turned out to be sorghum.

Sorghum is a great gluten-free grain to have as a substitute for rice. It has a firm, meaty texture and it’s difficult to overcook. It can tend to be dry, but paired with the right ingredients, it works really well for an alternative grain fix. I prepared it on its own, then added it to a stir-fry in place of rice and the result was excellent. Now, I chose to use some cooked veggies that I had in the refrigerator, but you can use whatever vegetables you want. If you don’t pre-cook them, then make sure you stir-fry them until tender before adding the beans.

Sorghum Stir-Fry

½ cup sorghum
1 tablespoon coconut or other cooking oil
2 teaspoons sesame oil
½ small onion, sliced
2 large garlic cloves, sliced
1½ cups chopped roasted squash
1 small cooked Japanese yam, peeled and diced
½ cup chopped roasted eggplant
1 (15-oz) can white beans
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 tablespoon soy sauce

Bring 1¼ cups water to a boil. Add sorghum; lower the heat, cover, and cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until sorghum is tender but firm. If water is absorbed but sorghum still seems hard, add a little more water and keep cooking until tender.

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Heat coconut oil and 1 teaspoon sesame oil in a wok or large frying pan. Add onion and garlic and sauté until softened. Add squash, yam, and eggplant and stir-fry for 5 minutes. Add beans and peas; mix in well.

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Add soy sauce and remaining sesame oil and stir in. Add sorghum and mix well. Cook for 5 minutes. Add salt if desired.

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Makes 4 big servings.