Labor Day is supposed to be a holiday away from laboring, but in my family, we see it as an entire free day to cook! So for this blog, I thought it appropriate to feature none other than the best–my mom–as my next “featured guest chef.”
And when she cooks– she really cooks. Nevermind the fact that there were only 7 people to feed, she made enough food to feed a small country.
So I spent the holiday at my mom’s house, relearning how to make a few of her most famous dishes (I always forget!). She made chicken caldereta and pancit, both traditional Filipino dishes; chicken larb, a Thai salad; a spaghetti squash and carrot salad with a spicy vinegar dressing, a shrimp and vegetable dish and some sort of brothy soup…which were basically ignored because we were overwhelmed with everything else on the table.
Recreating her recipes isn’t exactly easy since she doesn’t measure out her ingredients, just tastes as she goes…so I did my best writing out her ingredient amounts…just be sure to taste as you cook!
Thai Chicken Larb
2 chicken breasts
1 stalk green onion, thinly sliced
2 fresh Thai chilis
1 tsp oyster sauce
3 sprigs mint
1/2 onion, sliced thin
2 T toasted rice, ground
cracked pepper, to taste
1 9 oz bag sprouts
Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Put on broiler pan and broil until no longer pink in the middle. Let chicken cool, then finely chop. Add to a large bowl.
Toast rice over medium low heat until browned. Be careful not to burn. Using a mortar and pestle (or food processor), finely grind rice. Add to bowl. Finely chop green onion, Thai chilies, and mint. Add to bowl.
Add oyster sauce, squeezed lime juice, sprouts and cracked pepper. Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Salad can easily be adjusted to your taste by using more or less lime and oyster sauce. Serve with lettuce or cabbage leaves to wrap up chicken larb, and enjoy!
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 onion, chopped
canola oil (enough to fill the bottom of the wok)
about 4 cups water
1 package pancit bihon mix (can be found at Asian groceries, see photo below)
3-5 T soy sauce
1- 14 oz package rice noodles (package might say “rick sticks”, can be found at Asian groceries)
3-4 cups thinly sliced cabbage
1 shredded carrot (for color)
1 large chicken breast
1 egg, for garnish
cilantro, for garnish (optional)
green onion, for garnish (optional)
Boil chicken breast in the 4 cups of water with salt and pepper until cooked through. Let cool. Shred chicken into small pieces. (Reserve water for noodles later)
Add oil to wok. When hot, add onion and garlic; saute for one minute. Add shredded chicken and saute for another minute or two. Add water that chicken was boiled in. Add pancit mix (shown in photo) and soy sauce. Push chicken to one side of wok then add noodles to liquid.
When noodles start to soften in the liquid, cut with scissors to shorten. Mix everything together until noodles are soft and fully absorb all of the liquid. Add cabbage and carrot, mix for another minute or two or until cabbage just barely begins to soften but is still crunchy.
In a small pan, fry the egg. Slice thinly, and garnish the noodles with the egg slices. Serve with lemon wedges. (I like to squirt about 3-4 lemon slices on my own serving until the noodles are drowning in lemon juice, yum-o-yum. Not everyone will like it like that though, so just serve the lemon on the side)