A month (or so) ago, Papa and I were in SM Supermarket in Cubao, doing our weekly shopping assignment. That was the first time I learned about the purple-stemmed leafy vegetable called alugbati. From afar, I’ve mistaken it for talbos ng kamote (sweet potato leaves) because of its purple stem, then I remember that the sweet potato’s leaves are the purple ones, not the stems. I asked Papa what’ll he do with the alugbati and he just said “I don’t know yet.”
Alugbati, which is also known as the malabar spinach, is a fast-growing, soft-stemmed vine. It grows well under full sunlight in hot and humid climates, so I guess, we have a lot of those here in the Philippines.
Last Monday, I came across a page in Facebook called Organic Momma’s Grocery. She sells organic vegetables and delivers if you reach the minimum and if you’re from south of Manila. More details about OMG at the end of this blog, promise. Anyway, I browsed through her photos and stumbled upon the album of the organic vegetables and for some weird reason, the sight of alugbati made me feel warm and fuzzy inside.
I remembered the first time we cooked this at home! You see, whenever cook pancit canton, instead of carrots and cabbage, we always use sayote (vegetable pear) and baguio beans (green beans). And a month ago, after the first time we bought alugbati in the supermarket, we tried adding it in the pancit. We instantly fell in love with it!
I promised OMG that I will share our family’s pancit recipe, so here it is!
PANCIT CANTON with ALUGBATI
4 tablespoons canola oil (or whichever oil you like to use)
8 cloves of garlic, crushed/minced (the more, the merrier! I LOVE GARLIC!)
1 small onion, chopped
1 piece sayote (vegetable pear), cut into small bite size pieces
1/4 kilo baguio beans (green beans), cut into small bite size pieces
1 bunch of alugbati (malabar spinach), leaves removed from stem
your choice of meat (chicken, pork, beef or shrimp)
1 1/2 cups of chicken or beef stock
1/4 cup (or more) oyster sauce
salt & pepper
pancit canton noodles
- In a heated pan, add canola oil.
- Saute garlic then onion.
- Add meat of your choice, wait for meat to cook thoroughly.
- Add salt and pepper.
- Add sayote (vegetable pear) and cook it for a bit before adding the baguio beans (green beans).
- Add the oyster sauce
NOTE: Oyster sauce makes the vegetables taste better for kids or for adults who do not like to eat vegetables.
- Add 1 cup of chicken/beef stock,
- Lower down heat and leave it to boil for 3-5 minutes.
- Add the noodles.
NOTE: Some prefer their noodles soft, some like them crunchy. So I guess this’ll depend on what you guys like.
- Add the alugbati when you’re almost done cooking.
- You can make your stock ahead of time. If you’re using chicken meat, might as well make chicken stock.
- Some like their pancit dry but if you want it to have a little bit of sauce, you can use cornstarch if you want to thicken the sauce of your pancit. But don’t use too much since the canton noodles’ starchy already.
- If you notice that your family isn’t eating the carrots or cabbage in your pancit, try replacing it with something else. I might try to use broccoli.
Alugbati has a distinct taste, which you’ll either love or hate…I guess we all go through that love-hate relationship with vegetables, right? But check this out — alugbati contains iron, calcium and antioxidants, vitamin A, B and C. Awesome, right?
And for those who are interested to purchase anything and everything organic, here are the details of Organic Momma’s Grocery!
CONTACT NUMBERS: 0917-8313674/ (02) 829-8515