By Edzelle Peña
CALATAGAN, BATANGAS — One of the best parts of traveling is tasting mouth-watering dishes along the way.
During our trip to Calatagan, Batangas, we encountered yet another truly Filipino dish that gives a twist to the ordinary pancit that we know — Pancit Buko.
Pancit Buko stays true to its name from the preparation to plating. Accordingly, buko juice is used to cook the noodles unlike other pancit recipes that commonly use water. A special added component is the fruit of a young coconut giving the dish a slightly moist appearance. Finally, it is carefully assembled in the very same coconut shell where the buko juice and meat were taken.
We were thrilled to taste the dish for the first time. Added to our excitement is the fact that it can only be found in Calatagan.
The sight of it was enticing and the taste was absolutely phenomenal. Mind you, I have never loved eating pancit this much. It’s got a light and sweet flavor and the fruitiness of the juice can be savored in every bite. Surprisingly, the buko fruit blends really well with all the other ingredients. It was definitely one dish that’s sure to delight anyone.
According to Simplicio Abadilla, head cook of Calatagan Golf Club, Pancit Buko is the original recipe of Mrs. Yvette Manotoc, who in her desire to create healthy, organic dishes for their menu, came up with this dish a few years ago. Since then, the recipe has become a favorite among their guests at the golf club.
Abadilla was kind enough to share the recipe with us.
150 g chicken strips
50g Chinese canton
2 cups buko juice
1 cup fruit of young buko, chopped
2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 white onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
pepper, to taste
2-3 tbsp celery, chopped
2 cups cabbage, chopped
1 chayote, julienned
1 carrot, julienned
1.) Sautee garlic and onion in vegetable oil.
2.) Stir in chicken strips and season with a pinch of pepper.
3.) Add oyster sauce to neutralize the sweetness of buko. Mix well all the ingredients to combine the flavors.
4.) Pour in the buko juice and let it boil.
5.) Add Chinese canton and let it simmer for 8-9 minutes or until al dente. Cook in medium heat.
6.) When the canton is cooked, add in buko fruit, cabbage and celery and cook for another 2 minutes.
7.) Remove from heat, drain excess buko juice then set aside for plating.
8.) Assemble pancit buko in a coconut shell. Garnish with steamed carrots and chayote and serve with calamansi.
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