11 Oct2012

Vegetarian mung bean vermicelli noodles, Filipino style. I had an urgent request from a family member for a couple of Filipino recipes to be cooked in the hinterlands of the U.S., served to a hundred people, most of whom have NEVER even heard of Filipino food. It had to be easy to do, in volume, have a vegetarian option, and probably eschew pork (both of dietary and frankly, overly lean American pork issues). So I suggested some Chicken adobo, finished off in the oven to brown/crisp slightly, with the sauce served on the side. Shrimp sinigang (using those dreaded tamarind packs) and a vegetarian sotanghon. Because American cooks would be helping with the preparation and cooking, I had to write out clear instructions, with minimal opportunity for disaster. And to make sure, I made the recipes as written… only to have the first version of sotanghon end up a total disaster!

I was pretty sure the problem was the noodle used, and was later proved correct, but let’s just say the crew looked at me like I was a martian in the kitchen, since they had never seen such gloopy pancit. Off to Binondo we went and got the RIGHT or favorite vermicelli noodle and I repeated the recipe, to great results… so I sent some 4 kilos of the right noodle off in someone’s luggage to be brought to the relative hosting the meal…

First I sliced and sauteed the veggies. For this version, I think I had one or two medium white onions, sliced, some minced garlic, two carrots julienned, some shredded cabbage and napa cabbage, some snow peas cut on the diagonal, bean sprouts, red bell peppers, green beans, etc. Into a large saute pan, I added vegetable oil, and sauteed the onions and garlic, followed by the other veggies from the longest cooking to the shortest. Season with salt and pepper. Do not overcook and remove from the heat when they are softened and glistening.

Return the saute pan to the heat, add roughly 7 cups of really good vegetable stock (I didn’t have any homemade, so I bought organic store-bought stock), say 5 tablespoons of kikkoman and bring to a simmer. Add about 500 grams of good sotanghon noodles and agitate them to break up the coils of noodles and watch them absorb the liquid like a sponge. I know some folks like to pre-soak their noodles, and I sometimes do, but I wanted this recipe to be as simple as possible. Add a touch more water or broth if necessary. Once the noodles are tender to the bite, add the vegetables back in, add several tablespoons of kalamsi juice or lime juice and serve hot. The noodles shouldn’t have any liquid at the bottom of the pan, nor should they be too dry. They will dry further the longer you wait before serving them.

These were surprisingly tasty, light and refreshing. You could easily add shredded chicken or pork or shrimp to this if you just can’t hack the vegetarian version. But I really liked the vegetarian version. My reputation at the stove now recovered as the crew nodded their heads in approval, they then proceeded to do what I can only describe as a uniquely Filipino way to eat their noodles, they sandwiched them in hot pan de sal or salted bread. Hmmm, I couldn’t get myself to do it and eat it that way, but I won’t knock it, either. :) Next up, how a bag of noodles can spell the difference between triumph and disaster!



  1. Betchay says:

    Am at the airport now and after seeing this post I just have a very bad craving for pancit sotanghon— one of my comfort food!

    Oct 11, 2012 | 3:40 pm


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  3. Papa Ethan says:

    Same thing happened to me not too long ago with misua. I was cooking albondigas (almondigas?) for dinner, and had patiently built up the flavors of the soup and meatballs to perfection. Then I added the noodles and served it not long after. To my horror the whole composition tasted much too salty at the table, almost to the point that it couldn’t be eaten! That particular batch of misua noodles was to blame, because we do albondigas quite regularly. =(

    Your first photo above with the glistening noodles and veggies seem so light and inviting; the crewman in the bottom pic just had to add more heft to the dish with his pandesal, hehe. That last picture is so unmistakably pinoy!

    Oct 11, 2012 | 3:49 pm

  4. ros says:

    YES!! Starch on Starch!! Pinoy Style. :D

    We eat dim sum, spaghetti, etc. with rice and even ice cream on a burger bun.

    Nice photos, the colors are so vibrant!!

    Oct 11, 2012 | 6:56 pm

  5. Kasseopeia says:

    Noodles with bread seems to be an Asian thing, no? I do the same thing with party spaghetti (sliced wheat bread), sotanghon guisado (sliced white bread), and even Lucky Me pansit canton or just about any version or brand of canton guisado (with pan de sal).

    This is NOT for the South Beach fan, definitely!

    A tall glass of ice-cold Coke and it’s a perfect meal.

    Oct 11, 2012 | 6:57 pm

  6. EbbaBlue says:

    This post is so timely as I had just cooked “supposedly pansit” using the regular rice vermicelli and “haifun” noodles, which came out like big sotanghon noodles.

    Anyway, soaked them together, and cooked them like the pansit filipino way, and men…..they were sticky soggy… I just ate one bowl and then stop.

    My husband placed them in a tupperware and refrigerate them.. next day brought them to work. Ayun, natuyo man yung sabaw, para naman siyang “molded pansit cake”. The noodles were stucked together. Sayang, ang sarap pa naman ng timplada ko.

    So you are right MM, the kind of noodle mades a big difference. Yun din ang sinabi ng Nanay ko nuon. Get the right brand of pansit bihon, canton, and sotanghon.

    Oct 11, 2012 | 9:06 pm

  7. natie says:

    what’s the GOOD brand, MM? It’s a hit or miss thing..Lately, I’ve resorted in using Korean noodles they use for their Chap chae..not the same..

    Oct 11, 2012 | 11:13 pm

  8. betty q. says:

    Ebba…MM had post before on pansit and I made a comment about dunking the dried noodle in the broth together with the vegetables and letting the dried noodle cook in it thus absorbing the taste of the broth without getting it soggy (which is usually the culprit by pre soaking the noodle in water till softened). I have used different brands of pansit (whatever is on sale) and never had any problems with mushy pansit as long as I dunk the DRIED noodle in the broth. My mom also said that it is beter to err on the side of less than more. So. for the broth, I always make it a point to use less in the beginning adding more as I go along thereby I can control the amount of broth so I just get the right texrure of the pancit.

    BTW…how did your perogies turn out and your salmon sardines?

    Oct 11, 2012 | 11:18 pm

  9. betty q. says:

    Natie…where we both are. there are 2 kinds of mung bean thread noodle…forgot the name…blue and clear package…green and clear package. The green and clear package is more transparent while the blue and clear package is more opaque and cheaper. So, I always opt to use the green and clear package….when cooked, it is sooo clear, not mushy…

    Oct 11, 2012 | 11:25 pm

  10. TeresaT says:

    Finally, a recipe that I don’t need to adjust :-) I am a ovo-lacto vegetarian so this is perfect for me. Thank you MM for sharing. I am now craving for a steaming bowl drizzled with calamansi and pepper. Yum!

    Oh, any tip on the perfect kind of noodle to use? :-)

    Oct 11, 2012 | 11:48 pm

  11. Raneli says:

    Lately we have bveen cooking this kind of sotanghon and it is a refreshing change. Sometimes we just add some prawn or fish balls and some crushed chicharon in lieu of chicken meat or some gizzards thrown in.

    Oct 12, 2012 | 12:16 am

  12. betty q. says:

    Natie…Lungkow brand but get the green and clear package. That is what my Chinese connection Kevin uses as well and he knows his noodles for he owns a smaller version of TnT. He always gives me a crash course on noodles, sauces, produce, etc.

    Oct 12, 2012 | 1:00 am

  13. dhayL says:

    I kinda like this version too, without the meat, i will give a try..i do that too sometimes, eat the pansit with white bread or as we call it as “tasty”, hehehe

    @ betty q – thanks for the tip, im going to look through the chinese isle, hopefully they have that brand (lungkow) here in toronto :)

    Oct 12, 2012 | 2:51 am

  14. betty q. says:

    Hey Footloose, if you are around, let’s go for coffee. I am heading your side of the woods about the last week of October for a few days!

    Oct 12, 2012 | 3:02 am

  15. PITS, MANILA says:

    perfect! i usually eat the noodles and the vegetables only, leaving out whatever meat they use for sustenance and substance …

    Oct 12, 2012 | 6:21 am

  16. natie says:

    Thanks betty q. great help! this is hubby’s favorite, but I always end up with a mess.. also with bihon guisado.. sigh…

    Oct 12, 2012 | 6:58 am

  17. Lava Bien says:

    Vietnamese have this kind of noodles too, clear vermicelli. I have this instead of the regular pho noodles. Pho Ga at the heart of Silicon valley, fresh free range chicken (so they say) with bones and other parts and undeveloped egg, fresh veggies, killer broth. Nice, really nice on any cool bay Area night.

    Oct 12, 2012 | 7:21 am

  18. wendy darling says:

    Hehehe, MM :)
    See, vegetarian options are not only good for you, but can be quite tasty, too!
    (Right @ TeresaT?)

    I will admit that there are days when I MUST have comfort food (particularly when it’s shaping up to be a “sinigang and adobo” kind of day). And I reserve my inalienable right to stuff my face full of bagnet and zubuchon.

    Oct 12, 2012 | 7:52 am

  19. ConnieC says:

    Read the the package labels carefully.

    Something happened over the years that what used to be bean thread sotanghon has now become CORN STARCH sotanghon, the one that gets soggy. I would not be surprised that corn invasion has arrived in ‘Pins too.

    In the US , corn has occupied the aisles of groceries and warehouses in practically every processed food that we know from soft drinks as maltodextrin or sweetening agent (high fructose corn syrup), MSG, soups, salad dressings, TV dinners, doughnuts, cookies, chips, ice cream as binders, emulsifiers and fillers. In the US, corn is no longer food but has become a commodity, to be bought and sold as hybrids or GMO’s as they all get mixed up on their way to processing plants.

    Why be concerned? See what Michael Pollan says in his book, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”. You can read the excerpts in the book sample on Amazon.com.

    Oct 12, 2012 | 8:49 am

  20. millet says:

    hay naku, MM, i had a disaster just last week with “fake” sotanghon noodles. i cooked up a big batch for a party, and the whole thing turned into a gloopy mess. now i’m confused…don’t know which one to use. i used long kow in the blue and white package, but i noticed several look-alikes named “lung kow”, “longkow”, “longkau”! help!

    Oct 12, 2012 | 9:36 am

  21. Lems says:

    I always use the blue and clear package, the brand is Sapporo. The best sotanghon brand for me ;) Not a lot of groceries carry it though.

    Oct 12, 2012 | 10:09 am

  22. betty q. says:

    Yup, Millet…there are “knock-offs” Lungkow sotanghon. When in a hurry, it is very easy to just grab one that looks similar in a blue and white package. Lung know is actually a port in China famous for the bean thread noodle. Google how it is made and I think I will just buy the package noodle and will not attempt to make it from scratch even in my wildest dreams!

    Oct 12, 2012 | 10:34 am

  23. TheDrunkenPig says:

    I miss filling my pandesal with sotanghon. My Lola used to prepare pansit sotanghon for breakfast with matching pandesal from the nearby bakery everytime we visit them during summer vacations. Great post!

    Oct 12, 2012 | 1:53 pm

  24. elaine says:

    I would definitely make this asap!! I’m a lacto-ovo vegetarian as well and this is always a treat whenever you would post a vegetarian dish. And your photos are so enticing! And I eat my pancit with buttered toast(:

    Oct 12, 2012 | 3:48 pm

  25. EbbaBlue says:

    BettyQ, I used not to soak the noodles in my pansit (not that I cook pansit alot), but really when it comes to sotanghon pansit – hindi pa ako nag-wagi sa pagluluto nito.

    You know which I had success – the pre-package LuckyMe Pansit Bihon. I cook it like the ramen direction, but I add the other ingredients like roasted chicken pieces, sauteed veggies for toppings.. and wow – iba talaga ang consistency nung noodles. ko. I have not seen the sotanghon type pero kung meron nun, susubukan ko rin.

    For now – I will just use this newfound “corn” noodles na medio mahal man, masarap siya at maganda ang result. I always use this kind when I make my mami.

    Oct 12, 2012 | 8:29 pm

  26. Roderick says:

    Hi MM, can you please share the brand and maybe the store where you bought the noodles that you used to cook this recipe. Thanks…

    Oct 12, 2012 | 10:39 pm

  27. natie says:

    EbbaBlue: me too..add the vegetables and some meat/shrimp..2 packets will do.. :-)

    Oct 12, 2012 | 11:15 pm

  28. michelle h. says:

    My current favorite sotanghon brand is “Six Fortune”. It’s easy to spot because unlike the tons of blue and orange sotanghon plastic bags, Six Fortune is red and orange. This brand does not get soggy.

    I used to buy the blue and orange bag too …. you have to look for the one that has an orange circle/ seal that says ” Seal of Quality” on top of the word “Vermicelli”.

    Oct 13, 2012 | 4:10 am

  29. Rob says:

    Wait a minute! I’m confused, which type of noodles did you prepare Marketman? The title of your post and the 1st sentence seem to be 2 different things.

    I thought rice vermicelli is properly known as BIHON (aka bihun in Malaysia, Singapore, & Indonesia), and mung bean vermicelli is SOTANGHON (aka tanghoon in the same 3 countries). We often see the latter referred to as CELLOPHANE or GLASS noodles on menus here in the USA, the photos above look like this type.

    Myself, I’m like Betty Q, I don’t pre-soak sotanghon, I just toss them into the broth. If they’re supposed to soak up any liquid, I prefer it be broth and not something insipid like water. A Thai friend of mine says that if you’re stir-frying them dry (i.e. pad woon sen), they should be soaked in cold water and for a very short time, like < 5 minutes (they should not become soft).

    Oct 13, 2012 | 7:24 am

  30. ykmd says:

    Had a good laugh at that last photo- I cooked tuna pancit bihon today and that’s just how I ate it :)

    Oct 13, 2012 | 9:29 am

  31. Debbie says:

    When buying the authentic sotanghon noodles, look at it’s label, if it’s made of mung bean and water, then it’s the good quality. I look for the Apple or Buffalo brand made from Taiwan that I get from T&T or other Chinese groceries here in Toronto. Had experienced cooking the “fake” sotanghon before, so I am very careful these days, just got 2 packs tonight to cook for a potluck lunch tomorrow.

    Oct 13, 2012 | 10:57 am

  32. Marketman says:

    Rob, thank you thank you for catching that. You are absolutely correct. They are mung bean vermicelli = sotanghon. I have edited the post.

    Oct 13, 2012 | 11:18 am

  33. lucadong says:

    I’m also confused – carbohydrates or protein? For years I thought sotanghon that my mother cooked has lots of protein. A quick internet search caused more confusion…
    here’s just two different sources:



    carb or protein, it looks good in pandesal. and if it looks good…

    Oct 14, 2012 | 12:15 am

  34. ConnieC says:

    lucadong:Different types of cellophane noodles practically all look alike in the package but when you check the ingredients carefully, they are either made of corn starch ( the cheaper kind that gets mushy), potato starch or mung bean starch, hence are mostly carbohydrates. Here in the US I notice it is getting harder and harder to find the mung bean sotanghon which I like because it retains its consistency after cooking.

    And yes, most Pinoys like their pancit or sotanghon with either rice or pan de sal and treat the pancit as a viand or ulam, a carb overload I might say.

    Oct 14, 2012 | 8:56 am

  35. Rob says:

    Well, this is a first for me, I’ve never seen or heard of eating pancit with pan de sal! The closest thing I’ve seen was in grade school where some kid’s lunch was a spaghetti sandwich. I’ll have to give this pancit with PdS a try one of these days!

    ConnieC….my non-filipino friends say something similar about filipino food…”It’s all carb-on-carb! Noodles with rice, potatoes with rice, beans (munggo) with rice, etc.”

    Oct 14, 2012 | 11:52 am

  36. Tracy says:

    Kasseopeia: In Chinese culture, you’re only supposed to eat one carb in a meal, which I never noticed until I took a seminar in college, so I wouldn’t go as to say it’s an ‘Asian’ thing. But I suppose in India it’s done (potatoes in curry, rice to accompany and the flat breads all together–unless I’m just describing my inauthentic meals). Probably more accurate is to say that carb-rich meals a signature of poor agricultural communities: cheap, calorie-rich and tasty.

    Oct 14, 2012 | 5:25 pm

  37. maria luz roldan says:

    one good brand of sotanghon is the MARCA PATO which one can buy in iloilo.

    Oct 14, 2012 | 5:33 pm

  38. ConnieC says:

    Tracy: you are absolutely right, so the need for education for everybody on more affordable sources of protein ( without having to eat meat or fish) and basic nutrition in general including paying attention to food ingredients ( processed food especially) to prevent the health problems ( obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cancer) that plague our world today.

    Oct 14, 2012 | 7:55 pm

  39. millet says:

    not pre-soaking the sotanghon? that’s a first for me, but will definitely try that. thanks, Rob.

    and yes, here in davao, most people eat all kinds of pancit (except the soupy ones) sandwiched between two slices of bread. still can’t get myself to do that, although it’s just like serving mamon tostado or puto with pancit malabon, right? same difference.

    Oct 15, 2012 | 7:30 am

  40. odessa says:

    i like my pansit/sotanghon with more veggies. At first i find it strange when my husband eat it with rice but when i tried it, masarap din pala sya hmmmm….well, i pre-soak the noodles ( while preparing the veggies) most of the time. I like the Sapporo brand MM.

    Oct 15, 2012 | 8:21 am

  41. roland says:

    MM – it may not be uniquely Pinoy, the noodles in a bun thing — Tei An a popular Japanese restaurant serves a yaki soba dog (noodles in hot dog buns) on their brunch menu every now and then, simply topped with wasabi mayo – and then there was this one time Emeril Lagasse cooked a Chow Mein sandwich apparently a popular comfort from his hometown – here is the wik link – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chow_mein_sandwich – thank you for the post –

    Oct 16, 2012 | 5:38 am

  42. sUr says:

    add me as another food philistine: i’ve eaten pancit [or bihon] in a pandesal sammich many many moons ago ;-) gasp!…

    Oct 19, 2012 | 2:18 am

  43. Marianne Cayco says:

    eating it with pandesal is one of the best and very pinoy way of enjoying pansit :) parang eating ice cream with monay :))

    Nov 4, 2012 | 7:22 pm

  44. amie says:

    looks delicious…it’s been years since i had sotanghon. I will try the recipe for our family gathering. thanks for sharing.

    Nov 28, 2012 | 1:59 am


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