Monday, August 29, 2011

Pancit Molo

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
The name of this soup is a bit of a misnomer since pancit in the local language means noodles. Hence, the dilemma since there is no noodle in this soup but instead, a wrap that resembles ravioli pasta. This soup is however aptly named after the city where it first originated, Molo, in the province of Iloilo, the home province of both my Mom and Dad. There are variations to making this soup but I've learned from the best molo maker in the family, my Nanay Mercy. The recipe is fairly simple and the flavor actually depends more on the broth and not what comprises the soup which is ground meat wrapped in the thin pasta-like wrap. Most grocery stores carry the Nasoya wonton wrappers and those work perfectly for this soup. Asian stores do carry dumpling wrappers which are a bit thinner and I prefer those whenever I can get hold of them. 

The secret according to my Nanay is a good broth. Thus, I make my own broth from scratch using soup bones available in the grocery stores. If you can find one with the marrow still in it, the better, as they make the best broth. Go for beef or pork soup bones. Chicken will do but it won't be as intense as the other two. To make the broth, just saute a few cloves of garlic (minced) and a diced medium-sized onion in a little bit of olive oil and once browned, add the soup bones and add lots of water. Season well with salt and pepper. Depending on how patient you are, a good simmer for about an hour or so will yield a rich broth. If pressed for time, canned or bottled broth is perfectly fine with me. 

Pancit Molo

1 packet Nasoya wrapper or dumpling wrapper 

1 lb ground pork
1/4 cup green onions, finely minced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp soy sauce
salt and pepper

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Mix all the filling ingredients and check for flavor by taking a tsp of the mix and poaching it in hot water until the meat loses its pink color. Once the flavor has been corrected, it is time to stuff the wrap with the filling. There is a specific way to prepare the filling where it resembles tortellini but the more crucial thing to remember, is to be a bit more conservative on the amount of filling used. About half a teaspoon of filling per wrap is about right and I say that no matter how you wrap it as long as you secure it well, that is good enough for me. The idea is to make sure that it does not fall apart in the simmering broth. Water is usually used to bind the wrap by wetting the edges but a beaten egg yolk will also work. 

Now, traditionally, you check the broth for flavor and you basically dunk the dumplings into the broth, soup bones and all. It does not take them too long to cook so you have to do this just when you are ready to serve the soup. Otherwise, the wrappers will absorb most of the broth and you end up with an engorged dumpling which in itself is still good eats. If you are going after presentation though, strain the broth in a sieve and bring back to a simmer. Add the dumplings to cook just before serving the soup. To serve, a simple garnish of chopped green onions and a drizzle of sesame oil is all you need. You will need about 10 cups of broth for the given amount of filling. You may also end up with extra filling which you can either add unwrapped into the soup or freeze for future use. 

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