Sotanghon Guisado a la Cocina de Tita Moning


Sotanghon guisado (mung bean glass noodles with pork and vegetables) is one of my Top 5 Pinoy merienda dishes, period. I have always loved it and there are very few versions that I would turn my nose up at completely. There are LOTS of substandard sotanghon guisados out there, but just the sight of a tangle of glass noodles with some bits of pork and vegetables almost always gets my gastric juices flowing. Oddly, I have rarely cooked this dish in the past, as it seemed to be in the repertoire of most home cooks, and I never bothered to learn how to do it well. And now that I think about it, I usually ate it at office, school or other institutional carinderias or neighborhood turo-turo’s rather than in other homes or fine restaurants. As long as the sotanghon guisado hit the table hot in our home, I was there to wolf it down. A few months ago, we attended a merienda at the Legarda Mansion where the food is done by La Cocina de Tita Moning, and I noted then that the sotanghon that was served was superb. In fact, it was highly memorable. Suzette Montinola of La Cocina de Tita Moning read that post was generous enough to share her recipe, which she posted in the comments section of the same write-up. It is La Cocina’s recipe that I have tried several times and am convinced is one of the best sotanghon guisados around!

Before I even knew what the recipe was, let me explain why I thought the dish was delicious. First of all, rather than being mushy and muddled, the flavors and textures in the La Cocina recipe were very clean, distinct and fresh tasting. That makes a huge sot2difference if you ask me. Most folks throw everything into one pot and let it bubble up until the liquid is absorbed and what you often get is an overcooked mess of one blobby flavor source. Also, most commercial versions stretch the dish by using too many noodles for the “laman” that they add, relying on perhaps an instant pork cube mixture or more dark soy sauce to stretch the starch. I like it chock full of meat and vegetables, and that is the essence of the La Cocina recipe. Also, I like my noodles to be on the damper or wetter side of things, not the dry, bad hair day sotanghon you tend to find in turo-turo’s. It’s not often you read a recipe for this dish and end up using three different kawalis or pots to get the finished product, as most folks I suspect use only one. At any rate, follow the recipe as it is described and you will hopefully be incredibly surprised by the results.

But before you get started, let me warn you that despite being a really simple recipe, there are several key points you MUST pay attention to or you could have mediocre results. The first key point is the brand of sotanghon noodles you buy. Go for the MOST sot3expensive or best noodles you can get. My mom always used Lung Kow brand noodles and I like them as a result, but I find many other pretenders are AWFUL compared. So don’t get fooled by similar packaging with brand names like LUCKY LUNG KOW (this is terrible) or other names, get the best noodle you can find. I also find packages of unbranded sotanghon I get from my sukis with sources from Chinatown are also delicious. Wrong noodle and you minus 20 points from sotanghon guisado nirvana. Also, when you pre-cook the noodles, do so until only al dente or just cooked, do not get them mushy. I only immerse them in boiling water for seconds (less than a minute) and drain them. I also cut them into medium sized strands to make them easier to eat later. Next, while Ms. Montinola does not specify a type of soy sauce, I suspect most folks used a darker Marca Pina type soy sauce. I like to use a lighter, brighter and fresher tasting Kikkoman instead. And a fresh bottle of Kikkoman is different from one sitting around for a year and highly concentrated (I found this out when I made the dish at the beach with an older bottle of soy sauce). For my version, I used a mandoline to get long thin julienned strips of carrot and sliced the cabbage as thinly as I could with a knife. Don’t scrimp on the veggies, you will see that they add a much needed vibrant yellowish color to the finished dish. Her baking soda trick for vivid color is something I have not done before but I can see why it is useful. I did not use MSG (the only ingredient I omitted). I did add julienned ham (more than called for) and while I garnished with some uncooked ham, I wouldn’t do that again… Lastly, you may want to try coloring the noodles with a touch of achuete oil (in case you want color) but I didn’t find that necessary. Garnish with chopped chives or green onions if you want to be ma-arte. Don’t forget to serve with kalamansi. This recipe is totally doable in 90% of the world’s major cities I would think. It is really very good!

Still hungry? Why not try these noodle recipes from the archives?
Bihon Guisado
Odong, Sardinas at Patola
Bam-i or Bam-e
Chicken Sotanghon Soup
Alimango at Sotanghon
Pancit Lucban or Hab-hab


14 Responses

  1. Try using the Carp brand of soy sauce. I find it tastier than most other brands. I also garnish mine with slivers of scrambled eggs which I season with soy sauce too. Your version looks really yummy.

  2. Thanks very much for the tip in not getting the sotanghon mushy! I have to master the art of cooking sotanghon (and pancit!) noodles just right. Your description of bad hair day sotanghon is so apt for my case :-(!

  3. How splendidly solicitous (of you) to add the links to previous posts that are often overlooked and ignored though nonetheless informative and timeless, specially to new or recent partakers of this unique site.

    Haven’t come accross fake sotanghon here that disintegrates on cooking. Actually the challenge I face is resisting substituting the fatter, tougher, longer strands of Korean dang myun which makes chap chae a kissing cousin of our own sotanghon guisado.

    The Thais have a version of your mango and prawn salad that includes translucent noodles. Btw, the leaves you serve them on, do you avoid them like doilies or do you eat them too? I thought samat was black pepper vine leaf that is chewn with bits of betel nut.

  4. I agree with you utilizing the best noodles for this dish is one critical factor. In other aspect of cooking/baking the same rule applies – no cutting corners otherwise you will end up with substandard finished product which is apparently noticeable. Using two or three cooking vessels make a lot of sense – stir frying the veggies in a separate pot one can gain complete control of their doneness – firmness before incorporating it to the main guts and juices. The addition of baking soda to maintain their texture and color is something I heard before but never really utilized it. I heard baking soda is always incorporated in stir fried veggies especially the green ones – sweet peas and beans to maintain their color integrity. Now I will be a follower of this concept – two or three cooking vessels and baking soda! The sotanghon I am accustomed with is nuclear red from the annatto seeds extraction and dried mushroom and “taingang danga” – dried fungus. Your version looks good! I know I am one of your perennials for the simple reason – the learning concept you feature I will never learn from any other source – hands on experience makes a lot of difference!

  5. I’m a foodie lurker from the Pacific Northwest and visit your blog often. Reading this topic, I just had to have sotanghon guisado which is my favorite pancit of all times. So I whipped one up in about 45 minutes! Yum.

    My variations to this dish — rich chicken stock but no chicken meat, instead, lechon kawali (what can I say, I keep this handy); carrots, cabbage, french style green beans, and shitake; topped with a fried garlic, fried shallots, and/or ground chicharon per eater’s preference and pantry availability.

    I’m resisting a second serving… :-)

  6. Cookie, have never noticed the Carp brand of soy sauce, will keep my eyes peeled the next time I am in a grocery… lee, I mean, some sotanghons do look like “brouha locks,” right? Bernadette, overcooked sotanghon is just too soft and mushy for me… so err on the side of al dente! However, I am always shocked by the amount of liquid sotanghon can absorb in general… Apicio, I decided to try putting links to older posts since about 50% of readers have been visiting for 6 months or less and VERY FEW go back into the archives. With this little experiment alone on 3 recent posts, the number of daily page views seems to have risen 20+%, so it’s useful I suppose… As for the betel leaf, I did use it as a surrogate doiley to help protect the lacquer on the MOP plate. It isn’t actually a leaf of the betel plant you eat, but something related and it is the leaf used in some Thai dishes where you wrap up a bunch of ingredients and pop them into your mouth…hmmm, will do a little research and do a post on these leaves as there has been some interest in them… Maria Clara, for the sotanghon recipe, total credit to La Cocina de Tita Moning…prior to their recipe, I did a one pot version that was edible but not great! LC, your version sounds great as well. I love that Filipinos all over the world can do a version of this dish rather easily with ingredients in their area…

  7. MM,thanks for writing this post and highlighting the key elements in making this truly superb dish.I’ll be cooking this dish this weekend.

  8. Baking soda brightens the color of veggies but it takes its toll on the the vitamins and minerals in them. I guess it would be alright to use baking soda occasionally and for dishes intended for a party but not for regular meals for the home.

  9. Yes, I think Apicio is right, the leaf on your plate is a pepper vine leaf or “ikmo” in Tagalog. The leaf is what the Lola’s wrap the betel nut or “nga-nga” with before chewing it. The betel nut comes from a kind of palm tree.

  10. Great timing, my husband has been asking for pancit for weeks now. I have to confess I am one of those one pot cookers of pancit and it usually turns out mushy, I always put too much water. Hopefully, I can find the Lung Kow brand here since the previous ones we tried is not so good. Thanks for this!

  11. They serve a similar dish in Hawaii, especially at those touristy “luaus” called “Chicken in Long Rice”. Chicken, onion, carrots, and celery mostly. Not too fond of cabbage so I sometimes bring this to office pot lucks but add garlic (in the saute), woodears (“tainga ng daga”). I rehydrate the dried woodear in the broth used to boil the chicken and use that to flavor the noodles (as they can absorb a lot of liquid). Green onions for topping. Thanks for the reminder (links) to the other noodle recipes.

  12. everytime i bring sotanghon guisado in potlucks people here go crazy, they say it’s very different from the kind they were used to. i add a little bit of pancit canton to my recipe it adds a little bit of texture to the glass noodles smoothness. and like you, i do it with tons of crunchy vegetables…YUM!!!!

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