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Recipe for Pancit Palabok – Philippine Rice Noodles with Dripping Crab Sauce

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A delish dish of rice noodles or pancit that Filipinos fondly eat anywhere from classy restaurants to fast-food restaurants and even at small-sized food stands, pancit palabok is a popular pancit that leaves Pinoys salivating for more.

This Filipino comfort food is served with its signature carrot-colored crab sauce that is so rich it can actually drip off the mouth.

Pancit palabok is basically made in four parts: the bihon or rice noodles, the palabok or crab sauce, the paalat or the crab stock mixed with annatto powder and tidbits of tofu and pork, and the garnishing of flaked tinapa or smoked fish, chicharon or pork cracklings, and shelled shrimps.

When Filipinos are ready to serve pancit palabok, they place the blanched bihon onto a plate, pour onto it its palabok and paalat, and top everything with garnishing.

Pancit Palabok vs. Pancit Luglog

Prepared in largely like manners and having essentially the same ingredients, pancit palabok and pancit luglog are dishes that are similar but not the same.

Their sauces are both prepared with crab extracts and crab stock. Their toppings have chicharon, tinapa, and hard-boiled eggs cut into wedges.

The difference lies in the rice noodles used.

Pancit palabok uses bihon, a kind of rice noodle that is thin. Pancit luglog uses other rice noodles that are a bit big.

Still, both noodles are blanched then topped with sauce and garnishing before serving.

Pancit Palabok vs. Pancit Malabon

A pancit that is also similar to pancit palabok but still different is pancit Malabon.

Both kinds of pancit have almost the same ingredients except that pancit Malabon gets an extra helping of seafoods like squids and oysters as well as hard-boiled eggs of ducks – poultry famous in the coastal Manila town of Malabon where pancit Malabon was first made.

Also, the sauce of pancit Malabon is mixed with the noodles during the cooking process while that of pancit palabok is poured onto the top of the noodles shortly before serving.

Recipe for Pancit Palabok

Below is the recipe for the well-liked Philippine rice noodles pancit palabok.

Cooking time can run from 30 to 40 minutes while preparation for the sauce can go from 60 to 90 minutes.

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Note also that some of the recipes may be either expensive or hard to find. So, many Filipinos add more or less of the original ingredients or make substitutes when cooking pancit palabok. For instance, instead of crabs, Filipinos use shrimps.

Ingredients for Pancit Palabok Sauce and Noodles

  • annatto seeds – 2 tablespoons
  • cornstarch – 4 tablespoons; dissolved in 1 cup water
  • crabs –½ kilogram; small-sized
  • garlic – 5 cloves; chopped finely
  • bihon noodles – ½ kilogram
  • onion – 1 medium-sized; chopped
  • patis or fish sauce – 2 tablespoons
  • water – 1 ½ cups

Ingredients for Pancit Palabok Toppings

  • calamansi – cut into halves
  • eggs – ½ kilogram; hard-boiled; cut into wedges
  • garlic – chopped; fried until brown
  • shrimps – ¼ kilogram; shelled and cooked
  • spring onions – chopped
  • squid – ¼ kilogram; cooked adobo-style; cut into rings
  • tinapa or smoked fish – ¼ kilogram; flaked

Steps for Cooking Pancit Palabok

  1. Clean crabs.
  2. Get crab meat and fats. Set aside.
  3. Pound crab and get extract.
  4. Mix crab extract with water. Set aside.
  5. Boil annatto seeds for 20 minutes.
  6. Get annatto extract and discard annatto seeds. Set aside.
  7. Sauté garlic and onion in a pan.
  8. Add in annatto extract, crab fat and meat, water with crab extract, and patis. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  9. Add in cornstarch and stir for another 5 minutes. Set aside sauce.
  10. Blanch bihon in boiling water until cooked.
  11. Place drained and cooked bihon on a platter.
  12. Pour sauce onto the noodles.
  13. Garnish and serve.

Voila! Your pancit palabok is ready!

Copyright © 2011 Kerlyn Bautista

All Rights Reserved

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mackyi on December 13, 2011:

I really enjoy cooking, but have never tried pancit noodles. I think I am ready to try some of your pancit recipes. I will let you know how they turned out! P.S. I may also try to put a little twist to some of your recipes.

WD Curry 111 from Space Coast on December 13, 2011:

You folks sure know how to eat! I can't wait to try some of this. I will go to the oriental market for the noodles and ingredients today and surprise my wife for dinner. Fresh seafood is no problem here.

Midasfx on December 13, 2011:

I love pancit noodles, but I totally suck at cooking with them. ^_^

I would love to try your recipe sometime though. Thanks

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