Happy Saturday all! It's been a rough week back as I'm sure everyone else can attest to. While I love long breaks and vacations, it's so hard to get back in a routine and actually have to set a alarm and be an adult. But! I am pretty proud of myself for eating fairly healthy all week, working out consistently, and making sure to get enough sleep at night. Hopefully I can keep this up!
In other news, tomorrow is NYC's annual no-pants subway ride. Basically, it's when a bunch of brave souls meet up, take off their pants (but continue wearing other winter regalia such as coat, scarves, beanie, boots, etc.), and keep a straight face while riding the subway. Is this city crazy or just awesome or what? I have a few questions about this no pants thing. How do you decide what underwear to wear? When do you take your pants off? Is it before you get on the subway or during the ride? What if you see someone you know, like your boss with her kids carrying grocery bags from Trader Joe's? Or, what if she is also participating in the no pants ride...?
Now, onto this Filipino dumpling soup. Pancit Molo is basically a version of won ton soup but it usually has extra noodles added throughout. Instead of extra noodles, I added a few of my favorite veggies (bok choy, mushrooms, carrots, and scallions). The key (and don't skimp out on this!) is to make your own broth. It totally changes the taste of the soup than if you just used pre-made broth, and it doesn't require that much effort!
I went through a very dark period in my life where I was indifferent to Asian food. I didn't crave it, I didn't think about it, I didn't want it. I didn't need it. It was so lame!
A few miraculous things happened to change me from my dark ways. 1) I went to the Philippines with my Lola and cousin Ann my junior year in high school. Here I had access to legitimate Filipino foods, such as Lechon, pan de sal, ube, halo halo, and pancit. It was a life changing experience, (and not just from the food!). I was also able to meet distant relatives and really understand where I come from and the culture of my moms side.
2) And then my freshman year in college, I went to Guangzhou, China. I used up the rest of my savings that I had made from working fast food in high school to pay for it, but it was on this trip that I had real Chinese food for the first time. It's completely different from American Chinese! Mostly in ways that it was lighter, healthier, with none of the cornstarch that makes it thick like most Chinese restaurants. It was amazing! It was here I became addicted to scallion pancakes 😍
3) And the most obvious reason, is living in NYC! Are we all tired of me talking about my experiences and observations of living here? Because I'm not tired of writing about it. Most specifically, besides everything in Chinatown, Koreatown, and the like, were the noodles at The Handpulled Noodle, the Pho at Pho Grand, the steamed buns from Fay Da Bakery, Ramen from Jin Ramen and the dumplings from Pure.
I love learning about my culture through cooking and food, and remembering my Lola through the things she used to cook. I hope you give this soup a try!
Pancit Molo (Filipino Won Ton Soup) serves 8-10
For the won tons (makes 55-65)
- 1 14-oz packet square won tons
- 1 lb. ground pork
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- half of large white onion, diced
- 1/2 cup scallions, diced
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbl soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
For the broth:
- 1 lb. bone-in chicken
- half of large white onion, diced
- 2 whole cloves garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 32 oz chicken stock
- 5-7 cups hot water water
- 1 tsp black pepper (or black peppercorns)
- 1 tbl. fish sauce
Extra (optional) additions to the soup:
- 2-3 stalks bok choy, thoroughly rinsed and roughly chopped in half
- 1 small carrot, diced
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- additional green onion for topping
Fill a large stockpot with chicken, onion, garlic, bay leaves, chicken stock, and hot water. Bring to a bowl then reduce to a simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Once chicken is cooked thoroughly, remove from broth and shred. Return chicken to broth and add fish sauce and black pepper. Return to low simmer for another 15 minutes, then add any additional veggies. Remove whole cloves of garlic and bay leaves.
While broth is cooking, make the dumplings. In a medium-sized bowl, combine ground pork, garlic, onion, scallions, pepper, salt, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Holding a single wonton wrapper in one hand, place about 2 tsp. of filling in the center. Bring top half to bottom edge, forming a triangle and sealing the won ton in half. Seal the edge by dipping finger in a dab of room temperature water. Bring the left and right side corners to the middle, sealing with more water. The won ton should look like it is giving itself a hug. Repeat!
When won tons are ready, you have the option to cook them all at once or freeze half of them. To freeze, simply arrange won tons in a row on a baking sheet and freeze for about 30 minutes. Then remove to a container and freeze for up to 4 months.
Adding more hot water if necessary, return to simmering broth. Bring back to a boil. Drop in dumplings (no more than 10-15 at a time) and cook for 6-8 minutes. They will float to the top when they are done cooking.
Serve with more green onions for garnish!