Tonight, I served a less-indulgent, simple soup meal to my family. The Pancit Molo- Filipino Pork Wonton Soup was perfect. It’s a soup that’s an entrée. It was simmering chicken broth and a bunch of hearty pork dumplings. I threw in some leftover turkey slivers and vegetables I had laying around. It was amazing.
The Filipino Pancit Molo (say ‘panh-seet moh-loh’) is a soup with dumplings, which originated from a town called Molo, in Iloilo, a province in the southern islands of the Philippines. My late mother reveled in cooking this for us often. My grandma was a native of Iloilo and mom was born in that province. Clearly, mom and grandma knew their Pancit Molo, having learned it from generations before them.
The longest part of the process is making the dumplings. I was trained early on by mom how to wrap the pork filling neatly into the wonton wrapper. “Wrap it like you were folding a diaper” mom suggested. Daintily and swiftly, mom would whip up a dozen dumplings and stashed them in plastic containers to go into the freezer. We were all summoned to help on days like this. The household would sit at the long dining table, the bowl of pork filling in the center, wonton wrappers laid out before us. Like an assembly line, we all learned to “wrap the pork-filled wontons like diapers”.
Back here in my American home, miles away from those memories, I taught my sons how to wrap these iconic wonton dumplings, too. We had our own ‘wrap the wonton’ sessions when they were little. I used the opportunity to do mini math lessons in the kitchen (count the wontons), reading and spelling (yes, read the wrappers) and later on a cooking lesson.
The best part of it all was when we got to drop the pork-filled wonton dumplings in the simmering chicken broth. The aroma of chicken, stewing in onions and scallions, seasoned with fish sauce, was such a comfort. It all brought back a rush of those days when I first learned to make these little dumplings.
Every family has a favorite. This is one of ours. After the wontons quickly cooked in the fragrant broth, we sat down to dinner. We drowned ourselves in the big bowls of Pancit Molo. Slurping was all that could be heard around the house. This Pancit Molo was stupendous!
Pancit Molo- Filipino Pork Wontons Soup
- 1 pound lean ground pork
- 1/2 pound fresh shrimps peeled, heads and tails removed, chopped fine (optional if there are allergies)
- 3/4 cup water chestnuts canned, drained and chopped
- 1 medium carrot peeled, chopped fine
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Xiao Xing rice wine
- 2 stalks scallion whites
- 2 whole eggs 1 for ground pork mix, 1 beaten with a tablespoon water for egg wash
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper powder
- 2 stalks scallion greens chopped, for garnish
- 50 - 60 pieces wonton wrappers square-shaped, this is usually 1 pack
- 1 cup shredded cooked chicken breast
- 8 cups organic chicken broth or use water
- 1 whole white or yellow onion sliced, divided - use half for boiling broth, half for saute
- 1 cup chopped celery divided- half for boiling broth, half for saute
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- boiled jasmine white rice for serving
- To make the pork dumplings: In a large bowl, place all the ingredients together – the ground pork, water chestnuts, carrot, leeks. ( Note: I omitted a cup of chopped shrimps due to family allergies. Feel free to add shrimps if you prefer).
- Mix all the ingredients well. Add the eggs, cornstarch, salt, black pepper powder, rice wine, soy sauce and drops of sesame oil. Cover ground pork mixture with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes for easier handling.
- To wrap the wonton pork dumplings: Prepare the wonton wrappers by thawing and separating the wrappers. Place them on a clean, dry, surface. On the center of each wonton wrapper, place half a teaspoon of the ground pork mixture. Brush the sides of the wonton with egg wash. Fold the wonton wrapper into a triangle, sealing the edges with your finger. Hold the right corner of the folded wonton and place it over the left tip. Seal with egg wash and press firmly with your finger. The wonton wrapper should look like the bottom folded part of a letter envelope or as mom used to call it “folded like a diaper”. Once you have made a whole batch, put aside 12 to 14 pieces for a soup serving of 2. Keep the rest of the uncooked pork wonton dumplings in an airtight plastic container in the freezer. This should keep for a month.
- To assemble the Pancit Molo soup: In a medium stock pot, add vegetable oil. Saute the onions, garlic, celery. Add the patis or fish sauce. Pour in the chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper. After about 8 minutes on medium high, the soup broth will start to boil. While it is briskly boiling, add 12 to 14 pieces of pork wonton dumplings. The wontons will take 5 to 6 minutes to cook.
- Add the cooked chicken shreds. Lower heat to a slow simmer for about 2 minutes. Garnish with chopped scallions. Serve piping hot. If desired, serve with boiled jasmine white rice -- pour the soup and dumplings over a mound of rice and it becomes a meal.
- YouTube video: Watch my video on how to make the Pancit Molo. Click here.
- COOK’S COMMENTS: If you like, add shreds of cooked turkey to the soup broth and slices of vegetables. I added napa cabbage in small slices. For an extra special Pancit Molo, I add a beaten egg right after the wontons have been cooked, and while the broth is still boiling. This would be similar to the Wonton Egg Drop soup.
- How to keep leftover uncooked dumplings: Freeze the rest of uncooked pork-filled dumplings in air-tight containers or plastic freezer bags. Take out batches of 12 to 14 pieces each time you cook Pancit Molo for a family meal.
- Ingredient Notes: If there are allergies in the family, omit the patis (fish sauce) in the broth.
Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
Did you like this recipe? I have more classic recipes inspired by my late mother’s cooking in my popular cookbook: My Mother’s Philippine Recipes. If you’re learning how to cook Filipino food or a fan of Philippine cuisine, buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.
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