The Happy Home Cook: Pansit Molo (Meat and Shrimp Dumpling Soup with Shiitake Mushrooms)

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This isn’t the only way to prepare pansit molo, and this recipe intentionally does not dictate how much seasoning one should use, the exact method of preparation, or the precise results. Cooking is a deeply personal thing and we should treat it as such. Want to use chicken instead of pork? Do it. Prefer to make your own stock? Go for it! Lucky and skilled enough to use heritage Kurobuta pork and handmade wrappers in a tomato consommé topped with calamansi foam? Awesome!

Preparation Time: 1 hour

Yield: 3–4 servings

Ingredients

4 cups vegetable broth or water

8 (or more) dried shiitake mushrooms

½ pound shrimp, peeled, deveined, and finely chopped (see Note)

½ pound ground pork, preferably 80:20 fat ratio

½ head garlic, minced

1 medium shallot, minced

1 handful fresh chives, finely chopped

½ (8-ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped (optional)

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons kosher salt, soy sauce, fish sauce, or bagoong alamang, or to taste

1 (12-ounce) package wonton wrappers, thawed if frozen

1 package Chinese soup herb mix (see Note; optional)

Chopped scallions, for garnish

Soy sauce and calamansi (or other citrus) juice, for serving


Procedure

Combine the vegetable broth and mushrooms in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and leave to simmer while you prepare the dumplings.

In a large bowl, combine the shrimp, pork, garlic, shallot, chives, water chestnuts (if using), and egg lightly by hand, taking care not to turn the mixture mushy. Add the salt. (You can use as much or as little salt as you want since you can set aside a small amount of it for dipping later, should your dumplings turn out too bland.)

Place a wonton wrapper on a clean work surface so that it looks like a diamond. Cover the rest of the wrappers with a damp cloth to keep them from drying out. Place about 1 teaspoon of the filling mixture in the center of the wonton wrapper. Fold the bottom corner up and over the mixture, covering it. Using fingers moistened in water, fold the left and right corners over to seal the dumpling. The result should be a dumpling with no meat showing and the top corner poking straight up like a nun’s headdress. Repeat this process until you’ve used all the filling.

Stir the Chinese soup herbs, if using, into the simmering broth. Working in batches, add the dumplings to the broth, without crowding, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until they float. Check one by cutting it open. If the meat filling no longer looks raw, remove the dumplings with a slotted ladle and distribute into soup bowls. If the filling is not cooked through, simmer for another minute. Repeat this process with the remaining dumplings.

Taste and season the broth as needed. Remove and discard the Chinese herbs. Ladle the broth over the dumplings in the bowls. Distribute the shiitake in the bowls, garnish with chopped scallions, and serve with a few squirts of soy sauce and calamansi juice.

NOTE: If your shrimp have their shells and heads on, remove them and put them in with the mushrooms to add flavor to the broth. Before adding the dumplings to the broth, squeeze the liquid out of the shrimp heads and shells before removing and discarding them.

Packaged Chinese soup herb mixes containing ingredients such as wolfberry fruit, jujubes, and lovage rhizome are available at Asian groceries, usually in the spice/powdered soups/tea aisle, at traditional Chinese medicine shops, or online.

 Chef Paolo Espanola

Chef Paolo Espanola


Reprinted with permission from The New Filipino Kitchen edited by Jacqueline Chio-Lauri, Agate Surrey, 2018

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