Hello my friends. I hope your weekend was awesome. We had a nice relaxing weekend because our sofa and dining table finally arrived! Woohoo! We tested it out by just lounging, being a little lazy watching TV and a little PS3 gaming too.
Happy Belated Birthday to my mum and also my brother who turned 13 a couple of weeks ago. Mum’s age I will not disclose because I know she’ll be reading this
Happy Birthday Mummy and Baby Brother!
I was originally going to bake a chocolate cheesecake for the birthday but time did not permit so we had to quickly grab cake from Michel’s. Did you know you can now custom order cake from them online? Might give that a try one time.
So yes, a couple of weeks ago was my mum and brother’s birthday. They usually have a combined birthday party and as usual, mum doesn’t like to celebrate her birthday in extravagant style. It’s usually a quiet dinner at home with the family and close friends that she is very, very happy to cook for. As with every birthday tradition we’ve had, mum cooks a noodle dish to suggest long life. There’s always a noodle dish in every FIlipino birthday party. I believe that’s a superstition giving that noodles are long and by presenting it on birthdays, it will bring you long life. Again folks, it’s only a superstition.
The noodles mum cooked is a traditional Filipino noodle dish called Palabok. I can’t really translate that to english but I would describe it as a seafood marinara with eggs and crushed pork crackling type of dish. Trust me, it’s good. My mum was kind enough to give me the recipe (below) and I will try to make this myself one day.
Palabok (pronounced exactly how it’s spelt).
Now because of the limited ingredients we have here, we have had to improvise with what we do have here and what we thought worked best. It’s not authentic but very similar to what we would have back home. So, if you would go to Philippines to visit and order palabok from a street vendor or hawker, it would taste different but it’s close enough. Some ingredients for this dish are not readily available in your supermarket so you would have to scout for them in asian and Filipino grocers.
Palabok (this recipe is made for parties so it’s a BIG, big serving).
4 Tbsp of oil
8 cups of water
5 Tbsp of cornstarch dissolved in water
1 kg of noodles (you can use thin or thick spaghetti or rice vermicelli)
1 kg of seafood marinara
10-12 chicken stock cubes
pinch of pepper
3 Tbsp of fish sauce
1 packet of anato powder or atchuete powder (dissolved in warm water)
10 cloves of garlic – finely chopped
2 medium sized onions – chopped
6 hard boiled eggs – sliced thinly
1 bunch of spring onions – choped
250 grams of crushed chicharon (pork crackling)
*Note* Anato or atchuete is basically food colouring. It’s deep orange in colour which gives the palabok sauce it’s orange and yellow colour when cooked and it also has a distinct taste. Now, I’m not sure whether regular orange food colour will work for this dish but if you do try it as a substitute for anato/atchuete, let me know how it turned out for you.
1. Boil/cook noodles as per package instructions, then drain and set aside.
2. In a large wok or a deep frying pan on a high heat, heat your oil and brown about 1/3 of the garlic and set aside (this is to use for toppings later).
3. Fry the onions and the rest of the garlic.
4. Add the seafood marinara and continue to fry until the marinara mix is cooked.
5. Add the 8 cups of water and simmer for 20 minutes.
6. Throw in chicken stock cubes, mix then add fish sauce a little bit at a time (taste each time as it could get very salty). Add a pinch of pepper.
7. Add the anato/atchuete mix. Stir through until the mixture changes colour.
8. Simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes then add the cornstarch and mix thoroughly.
9. Lower the heat and stir through until the mixture thickens.
10. Simmer again on low heat for 10 minutes making sure it doesn’t burn.
11. Turn off heat.
Put the noodles that have been resting on a large, deep serving dish. Pour your marinara sauce, which is now your palabok sauce on top of the noodles and gently stir it through so all of the noodles are covered with the sauce. Evenly sprinkle the fried garlic, chopped spring onions, chicharon (pork crackling) and lastly the sliced eggs on top of the noodles. Voila! You have yourself Palabok. Yummo!
If you would like to try this dish and have some questions, please feel free to ask.
Lastly, there were some ube donuts (ube is purple yam. click here to find out more) that one of my mum’s friend brought in for the party and for the life of me, I cannot remember the name of the shop where they had bought the donuts. I know that it’s a Filipino grocery in Rooty Hill (I know, I can’t be specific, there’s just so many of them there). All I can say is it’s soooo good and I wish I had taken some home. The donut wasn’t so sweet and I know I could easily have eaten 4 or 5 of them.
If you know where else in Sydney I can get my hands on these or if you have the recipe for these and are happy to pass it onto me, please, please let me know.