Guest Author - Rachel Meneses-Ponce
Being a tropical country, one may wonder why cold soups are not popular with Filipinos unlike hot soups. A wide selection of soups can be had any time of the day if one so wishes; more so during rainy days, when weather is cooler.
Filipino soups are usually with meat, vegetables and noodles. Widely popular soups and the main ingredients respectively are bulalo (beef knee bones), lomi (meat and fresh egg noodles), batchoy/bachoy (pork innards), mami (noodles and meat, heavily influenced by Chinese cooking) and pancit molo (dumpling soup). For the daring and adventurous, there is brain soup and what the locals call “soup no. 5”. Brain soup has pig’s brains and miswa (soft egg noodles). Soup no. 5 is said to be an aphrodisiac mainly because of what’s in it (bull’s reproductive organ). These two however are not common fare and few restaurants serve them.
For a taste of home-cooked soup, here is a simple pancit molo recipe from my sister. The ingredients are easily available in both wet market and the fresh produce section of supermarkets. Abroad, you can find the ingredients at oriental stores.
Pancit molo is prepared in three segments: the soup, the wrapping and the filling.
Prepare the filling first. You will need 1 cup of ground pork, a quarter cup of chopped shrimps (shelled and de-veined), a quarter cup of chopped, cooked chicken meat, a small onion - chopped, 2 tablespoons of chopped water chestnut, 2 cloves of garlic – chopped, one tablespoon of chopped onion leaves, one teaspoon of salt, one tablespoon of soy sauce, about a quarter teaspoon of ground pepper. Mix these ingredients well, divide into two and set aside.
Next, prepare the wrapping. You have a choice – do it yourself or buy the prepared wrapper called molo wrapper or wonton wrapper. Using the store-bought wrapper will save you time; however, if these are not available you can easily make your own. Here’s how:
Slightly beat one whole egg with half a teaspoon of salt; then add a quarter cup of water. Add about two cups of regular flour. Knead until smooth and elastic in consistency. Roll dough on a floured surface until thin. Cut into small triangles or 3” squares.
Fill each wrapper with enough meat mixture to allow it to be crimped at the ends and seal. A way of doing this is to put meat mixture in the middle of a wrapper, slightly wet the edges with water and bring up the four corners over the filling, then pinch together to seal. Do the same for the rest of the meat mixture. Set aside and cover while you prepare the broth/soup.
In a large saucepan, sauté in one tablespoon of vegetable oil, one tablespoon each of chopped onion, minced garlic and chopped, white part of onion leeks. Add the remaining half of the filling mixture. Cook for five minutes. Add 3 to 5 cups (depending on how soupy you want it to be) of chicken broth and let boil. Add in the filled wrappers. Lower the heat and simmer gently until meat is cooked and the wrappers are translucent. If there are left over wrappers or dough trimmings, cut into small strips and include in the soup. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and salt. Garnish with chopped onion leaves if desired. This could serve four people and is best when served hot.
Hope you like this version of Pancit Molo.