Pancit Luglug is a delectable Filipino noodle dish that shares the same ingredients as Pancit Malabon and Pancit Palabok. What differentiate these 3 popular noodle dish is the type of noodle used and the thickness of the gravy.
What is Pancit Luglug?
Pancit Luglug is a noodle dish that uses thin or thick cornstarch noodles, smothered on top with creamy shrimp gravy made of ground pork, shrimp stock and annatto water or powder, garnished with seafood, chicharon bits or cracklins, tinapa flakes, hard boiled eggs and chopped green onions. Slices of calamansi or lemon, fish sauce (patis) and toasted garlic is served on the side.
Luglug means submerge in hot water. Luglug noodles is soaked in water for 1/2 an hour or longer.
It is pre-cooked and when ready to serve, it is placed in a strainer, dunked and submerged briefly in hot water to warm. It is then placed in a plate, ladled with the creamy shrimp gravy on top and garnished with all the trimmings.
Most of the trimmings are cooked separately. When ready to serve, all the trimmings are evenly spread as garnish on top of the noodles and gravy.
As you can see, this is very similar to Pancit Palabok. In fact, Pancit Luglug is Pampanga’s version of Pancit Palabok. When I was young, I used to call it Pancit Palabok and my mom would correct me. They looked and tasted the same except for the noodles.
Honestly, my recipe for all 3 noodle dish are the same except for the thickness of the gravy and noodles.
How to Make the Pancit Luglug Sauce
When I moved to the US, my parents visited and stayed here for a year and they went back to the Philippines for a year. So, it’s every other year that I get to taste my mom’s cooking.
Even our neighbors missed my mom’s palabok and lumpiang sariwa. None of us would dare make these dishes since it is tedious and takes time to make.
Until one day, I was in the mood to experiment and make palabok or luglug using the flavored packet mix. To my disappointment, it was not comparable to moms cooking.
It was OK but I cannot stand how salty it came out plus there was something off with the taste. That was the first and last time I used a packet mix. So, I made it a point to learn how my mom makes it.
To my surprised, it was not hard. I regularly buy headless shrimp, but when a recipe calls for shrimp stock, I get the head-on shrimp. I can see, it can get tedious when using a mortar but with a blender, it is so convenient.
This recipe uses shrimp as one of the ingredient. So buy head-on shrimp and use the peel (skin) and head to make the shrimp stock. Remove and discard the hard head cover.
Before blending, I separate the shrimp fat and meat attached to the head then I place the head and peel in the blender with water.
Blend, then use a strainer to separate the shrimp stock. There you go, I think this is the hardest part of making this dish. I’m actually exaggerating to say that it is the hardest part.
Tip: I usually keep 2 tall containers of shrimp stock in the freezer. It comes real handy whenever I need it.
The fat and meat in the shrimp head is added when I sautéed the ground pork. If you watch my video, you will see the gravy turned bright orange even without the annatto powder.
I was checking my mom’s recipes and I came across my aunts palabok recipe using Campbell’s Cream of Shrimp. I have yet to try that. Maybe I’ll have another post Easy Pancit Luglug.
Anyway, I don’t see anything hard about making shrimp stock especially when using a blender. The outcome is creamy, savory, delicious shrimp flavored gravy which is not loaded with sodium.
What and Where to Get the Noodles for Pancit Luglug?
Thin or thick cornstarch noodles are used to make Luglug. Here in the US, it is sold in Asian stores in the dry noodle section.
Tropic has both thin and thick Luglug cornstarch noodles while the Excellent brand carries the thin cornstarch noodles.
I have noticed Asian stores in Canada carries more selections or brands of this noodle. If you live in another country and far from any Asian store, stock up as it doesn’t go bad. An 8 ounce 227 gram Luglug noodle serves 4.
Without a doubt, it is sold everywhere in the Philippines.
How to Make Pancit Luglug
Other Pancit Recipes to Try
- 1 package 8oz 227g Luglug cornstarch stick or thin cornstarch noodles
- ¾ pound ground pork
- ¼ cup annatto seeds diluted in ¼ cup water or ½ teaspoon powdered annatto seeds
- 4 or 5 cups shrimp stock
- 5 tablespoons fish sauce (patis)
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 8 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 medium-sized onion minced
- 1 1/2 cups pork rinds chicharon pounded
- 3/4 pound shrimp peeled
- ¼ to 1/2 pound small squid (pusit), cut into rounds
- 3 tablespoons tinapa flakes (smoked herring)
- 1 piece lemon or 6 calamansi sliced
- 3 pieces hard boiled eggs sliced
- ¼ cup toasted garlic
- 4-5 tablespoons cornstarch diluted in 4 tablespoons water.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 cups water
- Soak Luglug noodles (cornstarch stick) in water for 1/2 an hour or longer. Add 8 cups water in a large pot and bring water to a boil. Submerge Luglug noodles for 4 to 5 minutes or when desired texture is obtained. Follow the instructions provided on the package. Drain and set aside.
- In a pan, heat oil over medium to low heat.
- Fry the trimmings. Cook shrimp till pink. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Fry squid for 2 minutes. Don’t overcook as it will get rubbery. Set aside.
- Fry tinapa until golden. When cool, shred the into flakes. Note: Discard head and skin or put it in a sealed cheese cloth bag, sautéed with the ground pork for added gravy flavor. Remove bag when ready to serve.
- On the same pan, saute onion until soft and translucent.
- Add garlic. Cook until golden.
- Toss-in ground pork and cook until pale or light brown.
- Add tinapa head and skin in bag, if desired.
- Stir-in the shrimp fat and meat extracted from the shrimp head. The mixture will turn bright orange.
- Add fish sauce.
- Add annatto powder or annatto water.
- Season with ground black pepper.
- Pour shrimp stock and bring to a boil.
- Simmer for 15 minutes over low heat.
- Slowly stir-in cornstarch diluted in water until sauce turns thick. Simmer for 3 minutes and continue stirring. Note: Add more cornstarch mixture if sauce is still not thick.
- Add fish sauce or salt to taste.
- Turn off heat.
- When ready to serve, if noodles are no longer warm, place enough noodles in a strainer and briefly submerge it in boiling water. Then transfer to a plate or platter.
- Ladle shrimp gravy on top of noodles.
- Evenly spread the following garnish on top of noodles and gravy: Shrimp, Squid, Sliced Eggs, Green Onions & Tinapa Flakes. Note: Depending on your preference, you can add the tinapa flakes in the gravy or use it as garnish.
- Serve the following on the side: chicharon bits (pounded), toasted garlic, chopped green onions, sliced lemon or calamansi and fish sauce. Enjoy!
- Keep noodle texture firm and not overcooked.
- Refrigerate leftover pancit luglug sauce.