My glorious Citizens – the Suzerain of Soups, YOUR TFD! – has another fantastic recipe for you today, one replete with many of my favorite flavors, textures and ingredients! I speak of nothing less than wonton soup, but not just ANY pedestrian soup of this ilk – no, this is as far removed from your local Chinese takeaway as it is possible to get, because THIS version hails from the Philippines! 😀
Pancit Molo or Filipino pork dumpling soup uses wonton wrappers which originated from Molo district in Iloilo City. It consists of a mixture of ground pork wrapped in molo or wonton wrapper, as well as shredded chicken meat, and also shrimp. The piping-hot soup is often ladled into serving bowls, and garnished with green onions and fried garlic bits for another layer of flavor. This dish resembles the Chinese wonton soup but the wide variety of ingredients and flavor makes this dish noteworthy.
In Filipino cuisine, pancit are noodles and are also in the name of the dishes made from them, usually referring to rice noodles. Noodles were introduced into the Philippines by Chinese immigrants in the archipelago, and over the centuries have been fully adopted into local cuisine, of which there are now numerous variants and types.
The term, pancit (or the standard but less commonly spelled, pansit), is derived from either the Philippine Hokkien Chinese: 扁食; lit. ‘wonton (noodles)’ or Philippine Hokkien Chinese: 便的食; lit. ‘convenient food’. Different kinds of noodles can be found in Filipino supermarkets which can then be cooked at home. Noodle dishes are also standard fare in local restaurants. Food establishments specializing in noodles are often referred to as panciterias.
Nancy Reyes Lumen of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism writes that according to food lore handed down from Chinese Filipinos, noodles should be eaten on one’s birthday. They are therefore commonly served at birthday celebrations and Chinese restaurants in the Philippines often have “birthday noodles” listed on their menus. However, she warns that since “noodles represent long life and good health”, they must not be cut, as that would “corrupt the symbolism”.
As noted on pepper.ph:
Pancit is as crucial to each Filipino feast as rice is to every complete Filipino meal. With Santacruzan (among other regional fiestas all over the country) looming over the month of May, stuffing one’s face with numerous variations of the said noodle dish is a delightful certainty. Yet while preparing (and consuming) big cauldrons of pancit is second nature to any true-blue Pinoy, the origins of this iconic party food are not exactly confined to a specific region (or to our country, for that matter).
From a Chinese Merchant’s Baon to a Filipino Favorite
Even foreigners who’ve been to our shores refer to pancit as Filipino noodles, but the word itself is neither Filipino in origin nor did it necessarily bring to mind images of long, thin strands of rice or wheat. The name comes from the Hokkien “pian e sit,” which literally translates to “something conveniently cooked” (i.e., fast food).
It probably arrived in our country as a Chinese trader’s baon meant to tide him over in his homesickness as he plied his wares to the natives. Once his stash ran out, he may have tried to make his own noodles using rice flour as an alternative to wheat. Given how rice noodles are easier to cook than either rice or wheat noodles and are highly versatile vehicles for various toppings and sauces, the clamor for pancit quickly caught on.
During the Spanish occupation, the indigenous noodle dish was essentially the nation’s first “takeout food,” with panciteros (Chinese food hawkers who sold pancit) catering to the cigar factories’ working women who had little time for housework or cooking. The demand for the convenient, ready-to-eat meal soon led to the vendors establishing permanent roadside eateries to service both working and traveling customers, the resulting panciteria’s thus becoming our country’s first covered restaurants.
Nowadays, pancit is a fixture at many significant milestones such as weddings, baptisms, graduations, and most especially during birthdays, where their inherently Chinese symbolism as edible harbingers of a long life (provided you don’t cut the noodles before you eat them) are frequently invoked. It continues to be enjoyed by generations of Filipinos in various forms, with sotanghon, bihon, canton, or miki as the most commonly used and consumed noodle variants.
Pancit also goes by a lot of names, each one indicating either the dish’s color (pancit puti or white pancit), how it is eaten (pancit habhab), where it is sold (pancit istasyon), alleged inventor (pancit Henoy), or its place of origin (pancit Malabon).
In this recipe, there is technically no pancit – except that the won ton wrapper is serving as the ‘pancit’ – thus, it falls into the category by Filipino standards!
Unusually – at least for one of MY recipes – there is nothing actually all that outré about the ingredients, as all of them (for once!) are easily found in your supermarket! I endorse only one brand of sesame oil, and that is the Japanese brand known as Kadoya. You can buy it here. My favorite brand of fish sauce – by far – is this one. This would be a great recipe to enjoy as a first course, perhaps before some delicious Filipino roast pig!
Battle on – the Generalissimo
The Hirshon Filipino Won Ton Soup – Pancit Molo Ng Iloilo
- 1 pack of molo (or siu mai/wonton) wrappers
- 1 whisked egg
- Molo Filling:
- 1 1/4 cups fatty ground pork
- 1 cup medium-sized head-on shrimp, peeled, chopped (reserve heads)
- 1/2 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can whole water chestnuts, chopped medium (or use fresh if available and at all possible)
- 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 egg
- For chicken stock:
- 1 whole chicken, chopped
- 12 cups bottled water
- 1 cup shrimp heads
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 2 large onion, chopped
- fish sauce and white pepper, to taste
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
- Garnishes: chopped spring onions, minced fried garlic and sesame oil
- In a stock pot, add whole chicken, water, shrimp heads, celery, carrot, onions, fish sauce, and ground white pepper to taste. Bring it to a boil and just let it simmer for 1 ½ hours.
- Once the chicken is cooked and tender, remove from pot. Let it cool and use the meat for chicken salad as a separate meal – discard all other solids, but reserve broth. Season broth with additional fish sauce and pepper, if you think it needs more – it probably shouldn’t.
- Make the molo dumplings by gently combining all the filling ingredients.
- Place 1 Tbsp. of the pork mixture in the center of a wonton wrapper and, using your index finger, moisten two adjacent sides of the wrapper with the remaining whisked egg. Fold the wonton into a triangle, squeezing out any air pockets, then moisten one of the long ends with the egg and bring the two long ends together, similar to a tortellini. Place the dumplings on the lined tray and repeat until the filling is used up.
- Bring strained stock to a boil and start adding the dumplings and the shredded chicken breast for about 3 minutes or just until the dumplings are cooked. Garnish with lots of chopped spring onions, fried garlic and a little sesame oil.
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?
Leave a Reply