The Spanish colonized the Philippines from 1521 to 1898 and the Chinese
set up trade posts in Filipino coastal towns as early as the Sung Dynasty (960–1127 AD). Pancit molo resembles Chinese wonton soup, but with an addition of ingredients and flavors that meld the Filipino, Chinese and Spanish cuisines. The name pancit molo refers to the famous Filipino town Molo. Wontons were first included in the seaport village, adding a Chinese element to the soup. Spanish fried garlic was included as a garnish and Filipino fish sauce added roundness and umami. The traditional components are Chinese wontons (a mixture of ground/minced pork wrapped in wonton wrapper), shredded chicken meat and prawns. Pancit (or pansit) is the Filipino word for noodles. Although there are no traditional noodles in this soup, it earns the name from the wonton wrappers.
120 ml (4 fl oz / 1/2 cup) vegetable oil 15 garlic cloves, finely sliced
225 g (8 oz) small peeled and deveined prawns
4 spring (green) onions, thinly sliced
1 × 1.35 kg (3 lb) chicken
2 garlic cloves
2.4 liters (81 fl oz/10 cups) water or Chicken Stock
1 tablespoon salt
60–70 ml (2–2 1/4 fl oz/ 1/4 cup) fish sauce
450 g (1 lb) ground (minced) pork 1⁄4 large yellow onion, finely diced 1⁄2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 large egg, whisked with a fork and divided in half
2 teaspoons salt
24 wonton wrappers
To make the broth, place the chicken and garlic in a large pot. The chicken should fit in the pot snugly with the garlic. Add the water or stock and salt and bring to the boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low–medium and simmer very gently. Place a few small plates on top of the chicken to keep it submerged, then cook, uncovered, for 20–30 minutes until a thermometer registers 74°C (165°F) when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh and breast and the juices of the chicken run clear.
Meanwhile, caramelize the garlic. Warm the vegetable oil in a small frying pan over a medium heat. Add the sliced garlic, reduce the heat to low and cook gently for 10–15 minutes until the garlic is caramelized. Strain immediately and reserve the garlic for the garnish.
To make the dumplings, line a baking tray with baking paper. Combine the
pork, onion, sesame oil, 1⁄2 egg and salt in a bowl. Place 1 tablespoon 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
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. The filling should make about 24 dumplings.
When the chicken is cooked, strain the liquid to remove any solids and reserve the broth. Leave the chicken until cool enough to handle, then remove the chicken skin and discard. Using your hands, shred all the meat from the carcass and discard the bones. Set the meat aside.
Rinse and dry the pot, then pour the broth back into the pot. Add the fish sauce and season with salt. Bring to a gentle simmer, then add the wontons and cook for
2 minutes. Add the prawns, spring onion and chicken meat and cook for 1 minute, or just until the prawns are barely cooked. Garnish with the caramelized garlic.
Recipes excerpted with permission The Chicken Soup Manifesto by Jenn Louis, published by Hardie Grant Books September 2020
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