Pancit Upo with tender pork and bottle gourd squash for a tasty noodle stir-fry. Easy and economical to make, it's sure to be a family favorite!
If you're following me on Instagram, you might have seen the photo of pancit upo I posted last month during my Philippine vacation. It was my first time to try this noodle dish and I was definitely intrigued.
Upo with pancit? It was an interesting concept I knew I had to post on the blog!
What is Pancit Upo:
Pancit Upo is a delicious twist on pancit guisado in which bottle gourd takes the place of the traditional cabbage, carrots, and or green beans.
Along with the strips of upo, you can also add pork, shrimp, shredded chicken, tinapa flakes, or canned mackerel.
While I found the pancit unique, I thought it was lacking in taste and color to be truly impressive. No offense to my mother whom I love dearly but her recipe needed a little tweaking. 🙂
To make it more appetizing, I added a healthy dash of annatto powder for color boost and a couple of dollops of oyster sauce for an extra layer of flavor. Only two simple additions but quickly turned the pancit upo from good to great!
Tips on How to Make Pancit Upo:
- Cut the bottle gourd into uniform sizes to ensure even cooking.
- As I didn't want to overcook the vegetable, I soaked the rice noodles a few minutes longer than the package directions so they'll cook faster.
- Add the noodles when the upo is halfway done so they will finish congruently.
- Depending on the brand of bihon you buy or how long you pre-soaked them, you might need more or less than the 1 cup liquid in the recipe. Just add in ¼ increments as needed to cook the noodles to desired consistency.
If you're looking for a fast and easy meal that's hearty and tasty, this pancit is it! It's as satisfying and delicious as regular guisado yet without the cutting and prepping of a long list of vegetables and meat.
As it has a short list of ingredients, it's also an economical dish which can easily feed a crowd. It costs me around $6 to pull together, and I had enough leftovers to last for days! I might even try next time to swap the pork with leftover fried bangus, and I bet it will be as scrumptious!
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- ½ pound pork belly, cut into thin strips
- ½ teaspoon annatto powder
- 2 cups water
- 2 small upo, peeled and cut into strips (about 2 cups)
- 8 ounces pancit bihon (rice noodles)
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a wide pan or wok over medium heat, heat oil.
- Add onions and garlic and cook until softened.
- Add pork and cook, occasionally stirring, until lightly browned.
- Add annatto powder and stir to coat meat.
- Add water and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer until meat is tender and liquid is reduced to about 1 cup.
- Increase heat to medium. Add upo and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes or until half-done.
- Add noodles and cook, stirring to separate.
- Add oyster sauce and stir to distribute. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Continue to cook, stirring regularly, for about 3 to 5 minutes or until noodles cooked through, upo is tender yet crisp, and liquid is mostly absorbed.
- Serve hot.