This is a work in progress. Not sure how long it will take to get to a point that I am happy with the recipe. But here is the ideal, a flavorful, hearty but not heavy pork/beef broth that envelopes light pancit efuven noodles (or thin-ish egg noodles in the absence of efuven) and studded with flavorful bits of meat and odd bits of pork. Guinamos should just slightly flavor the broth, but not overwhelm it. There is almost certainly a light film of fat on the surface, adding flavor, but probably also a result of some beef bulalo to add richness to the equation. Finely chopped chicharon gives crunchy/soggy texture and mouth feel, and again, another layer of flavor. Perhaps some fried garlic, though I personally would opt for fried shallots instead. Maybe some green onions for color and a touch of flavor. Perfect. :) Haven’t gotten there yet. The best batchoy I have had, and I will admit I have NOT been to many places in Bacolod or Iloilo that specialize in this dish, was this bowl of batchoy at “21″ in Bacolod, with bulalo added to the dish. It was superb. I understand that “Deco’s” from Iloilo has a fabulous bowl as well, and now that they are on their way to nationwide expansion “a la Mang Inasal”, maybe I will get to try it in Manila instead of flying all the way to Iloilo. I have seen photos of Deco’s and find their burgeoning and laman topped noodles extremely appealing to look at… will have to taste them soon.
Any rate, the first attempt was made with lechon broth, from the bones of Zubuchon, along with some beef stock as well. I think one has to find the balance between the two types of meat. Some suggest 3 parts pork for 1 part beef… but I haven’t settled on a proportion yet. The broth was nice, but I didn’t have guinamos handy when I made this batch, so it lacked that extra something. I suspect some purveyors add a touch of brown sugar as well, by the way, as some bowls of batchoy have a slightly sweet tinge to it. I used efuven noodles, though thin miki noodles were also tried as a back-up since we had both on hand. I sauteed some pork liver, chicken gizzards and shredded lechon meat with some lard over high heat with a touch of patis or fish sauce to brown just slightly. Placed the cooked noodles in a bowl, ladled in the broth, topped with the meats, sprinkled with green onions and added some boiled egg. No chicharon available during this experiment. This was good, but not great. Maybe a 6.5 or 7.0/10.0. Will have to assemble all of the ingredients before I try this again. And for the bulalo, I am thinking of roasting a split open bulalo bone (I got some organically raised bulalo bones from a suki a few weeks back) in an oven on high heat, then diners can simply scoop the bulalo onto their batchoy. :) If you have any other suggestions for making a better batchoy, I would appreciate your comments. Of course, if it passes muster, we may serve this “Lechon Batchoy” at the restaurants eventually… :)