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How to Cook Pancit Sotanghon: Filipino Glass Noodles Recipe

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Kerlyn loves to share her passion for Filipino food with others so that they too can delight in delicious Southeast Asian cuisine.

Sotanghon are noodles made from mung beans, yam, or cassava. Across Asia and the Philippines, they're also known as crystal noodles, cellophane noodles, bean thread noodles, glass noodles, or tanghoon. These translucent noodles have a very smooth, slippery texture, and they're sometimes a bit gummy when you chew them.

What Can You Make With Glass Noodles?

This versatile noodle is used in a wide range of dishes, including soups, casseroles, dumplings, stir-fries, and spring rolls. Many Filipinos love cooking these noodles into a dish called pancit sotanghon or simply pancit. When cooked this way, the noodles absorb the flavors of the other ingredients, which include vegetables, pork, chicken, oyster sauce, and lime.

Calamansi (Philippine Lime)

Calamansi (Philippine Lime)


  • 1 cup chicken broth/stock or water
  • 1 big pack of sotanghon
  • 4 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium-sized onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pork, cooked and sliced into small cubes
  • 1 cup chicken meat, cooked and shredded
  • 1/2 cup snow peas
  • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 medium-sized carrots, cut into strips
  • 5 leaves of cabbage, chopped
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 bunch spring onions, cut into 1-inch parts
  • 1 calamansi (Philippine lime)


Step 1: Cook the Noodles

  1. Pour the chicken broth into a large pot. Bring to a simmer.
  2. Add the noodles to the chicken broth. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Drain the noodles, reserving the chicken broth. Set both aside.
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Step 2: Cook the Vegetables

  1. Add the cooking oil to a pan and heat it.
  2. Add the garlic and onions and sauté them in the oil.
  3. Add the pork and chicken. Cook until lightly browned.
  4. Add the snow peas. Stir-fry everything together.
  5. Add the red bell pepper, carrot strips, and cabbage. Continue cooking until the vegetables are tender, then set this pan aside.

Step 3: Combine the Broth, Noodles, Sauces, and Veggies

  1. Pour the set-aside chicken broth into a large pot. Bring to a boil.
  2. Add the chicken bouillon cubes and stir.
  3. Add the cooked noodles. Continue stirring.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Pour in the soy sauce and the oyster sauce and stir.
  6. Simmer for a few minutes.
  7. Add the set-aside vegetables. Mix everything thoroughly.
  8. Scoop the dish onto a large platter.
  9. Garnish with spring onions and serve with calamansi wedges.

Now your delicious pancit sotanghon is ready! Be careful—it's slippery!

Carrot, cabbage, and lots of tasty sotanghon.

Carrot, cabbage, and lots of tasty sotanghon.

4 Tips for Cooking Pancit Sotanghon

  1. Use rich chicken broth to cook the noodles. When making pancit sotanghon, many clever Filipinos cook the noodles in rich, flavorful chicken broth that has been made from whole, bone-in chickens. It's best to avoid cooking sotanghon in plain water, since the noodles turn out bland and unappetizing.
  2. Use annatto seeds to give the noodles some color. To add a bit of color to the otherwise translucent sotanghon noodles, you can add in some annatto water. First, soak annatto seeds in a little water for about 20 minutes, then strain out the seeds and reserve the water. Annatto will give the sotanghon a reddish-brown shade without altering the taste.
  3. Add even more garlic to the dish. Also, adding in lots of—not just a little!—minced garlic can make the flavor of the dish really rich. The garlicky flavor goes very well with the sour taste of the calamansi, which is used to garnish the dish shortly before serving.
  4. Combine sotanghon with wood ears. Pancit sotanghon is often cooked with tenga ng daga or wood ears, a mushroom-like edible fungus that is generally small and shaped like a mouse’s ear. Although the recipe above doesn't use wood ears, you might want to try out this signature combination in the future!

Alternate Sotanghon Guisado (Sauté) Recipe

© 2011 kerlynb

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