What could be better than a hearty soup on a winter night? Pancit Molo is a wonton soup popular in the Philippines, not to be confused with other types of pancit, a term meaning noodles in Filipino. It merges Chinese wontons with the Spanish love for garlic and the addition of milk at the end. This was a soup often made in my home when I was growing up that I learned to make on my own when I moved away. Now I get to share it with you!
I enjoy making this soup with homemade pork wontons that I mix with vegetables and the perfect crunch provided by water chestnuts. I enjoy how the wonton wrapper soaks up the broth and almost falls apart like in this photo below.
For bit of history, Pancit Molo is a dumpling/wonton soup whose etymology is derived from the seaport in the town of Molo, Philippines. Chinese merchants introduced wonton soup to that area, and locals began calling it Pancit Molo, perhaps for a lack of a term for wontons or siomai (shumai), or their wrappers which only resembled noodles (pancit) at that time. That explains the popular misnomer.
And now for how to make Pancit Molo:
We begin with some key ingredients, namely ground pork, water chestnuts, scallions, celery, cabbage, garlic, and wonton wrapper. You may find water chestnuts and wonton wrappers in good grocery stores, if not Asian markets.
I chop all the other vegetables finely using a food processor, except for the water chestnuts, celery and half of the carrots. Here the water chestnuts are chopped in quarter inch cubes.
As is the celery.
I cube two stalks of the carrots to include in the broth, but finely chop the rest to mix
with the wonton filling.
Here they all are in the bowl. Half of the scallions, half of the carrots, celery, water chestnuts,
garlic, onions and red cabbage.
I enjoy using colorful vegetables for the flavor and appearance of the wontons.
Add a beaten egg into the mix.
Season and mix very, very well. I like to test the mixture by microwaving a dollop of it in a small bowl for thirty seconds so I am assured of its flavor before making the wontons.
HOW TO WRAP WONTONS
Spoon a teaspoonful of the mixture onto a wonton wrapper.
Place fingers on edges of the wrapper like so.
Join the corners together.
Press the edges together to form a seal. Depending on the wonton wrapper, water may be needed to seal them together. I have made this with several kinds of store-bought wrappers and have never had the need to seal the edges with water. They seem to just stick to the filling when cooked.
Arrange wontons in a plate and set aside.
In a hot pot, saute garlic until brown and add onions until clear.
Saute celery and then add chicken broth, stock or bouillon and water.
Add carrot cubes and simmer for 10 minutes until boiling.
Add wontons one by one, preferably spaced out so they don’t stick together.
Allow wontons to cook on low-medium heat for twenty minutes until they float to the surface.
When cooked, wontons will float to the top and wrapper will soak up the broth.
Add evaporated milk and 1 teaspoon sesame oil to the pot before serving, mixing gently.
A perfect soup for a perfect evening, topped with chopped scallions and fried garlic.
I love the crunch provided by the water chestnuts and the colors of the vegetables inside the wontons.
1 package wonton wrapper
1 pound ground pork
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 head garlic, finely chopped
3 medium carrots, finely chopped
2 small carrots, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
4 stalks celery, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1/4 red cabbage, finely chopped
1 can water chestnuts, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 egg, beaten
3 stalks scallion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
2 teaspoons sesame oil
6 cups chicken broth (or 6 cups water and one chicken bouillon)
1/4 cup evaporated millk
Filling: Mix together pork, onion (set aside 1 tablespoon for the broth), garlic (set aside 1 tablespoon for the broth), finely chopped carrots, 2/3 of the celery (set aside the rest for the broth), cabbage, scallions and egg. Mix well and season with salt and pepper. Test the mixture’s taste by microwaving a dollop of it for 30 seconds.
When seasoned to taste, mix in 1 teaspoon sesame oil and wrap the wontons using the directions above.
Broth: In hot pot, saute garlic, onions and celery. Add broth and carrots and simmer for 15 minutes. Add wontons one by one, evenly spaced so as to avoid sticking. Simmer on low-medium heat for another 20 minutes. Add 1/4 cup evaporated milk and 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Mix gently before serving. Serve topped with chopped scallions and fried garlic, when available. Mangia!