Today, we will travel all the way to Nepal, a country with a rich heritage, great food, and some of the most spectacular mountains in the world. Nepal has rich geography and great diversity in food because of the wide range of ethnicities, soil, and climate. When I think of Nepali food, the first thing comes in my mind is momo, which is a traditional Nepalese dumpling dish made with a simple flour and water dough which you can fill with lamb, chicken, pork or vegetables. It is usually served with Globedha Acchar, a spicy tomato chutney, and in some areas it is served with a stew made from meat or vegetables. Momo is one of the most popular fast foods in Nepal.
I remember being told, when I was a child, that momo is a type of dumpling native to Tibet. This dish is an example of Tibetan influence in Nepali cuisine. It is so popular that every restaurant in Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, serves on the menu. It is usually served as an appetizer or snack, but sometimes people eat as a main dish.
There are different ways of folding the dumplings once they have been filled, usually in a round pocket or half moon shape or crescent. The folding part can be a little tricky, but once it is done, all you have to do is steam and you’re ready to serve. And the leftover momos are great fried the next day.
To steam momos you can buy a steamer from an Asian market. And if you feel too lazy to make dough for momo, buy the wonton wrappers (the square ones) that can be found in most grocery stores – they work almost as well.
Momo is one of my favorite dishes. It’s fast, easy, and delicious.
Momo Wrapper Dough
- 4 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Tbsp Oil
- Water, as needed
- 1 pinch Salt
- 2 lbs Lean Ground Meat (50% lamb & 50% pork works best) or a combination of finely chopped cabbage, egg, and other ingredients.
- 1 cup Red Onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup Green Onion, finely chopped
- 1 Tomato, finely chopped
- 3 Tbsp Fresh Cilantro, chopped
- 1 Tbsp Fresh Garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp Fresh Ginger, minced
- 1/2 tsp Coriander Powder
- 1/2 tsp Cumin Powder
- 1 Tbsp Curry Powder,
- 2 Fresh Green Chilies, minced (or to taste)
- 1 Tbsp Red Chili Powder
- 3 Tbsp Cooking Oil
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
To make the dough:
- In a large bowl combine flour, oil, salt and water. Mix well.
- Knead until the dough becomes medium soft in texture.
- Cover and let stand for at least 30 minute
To make the filling:
- In a large bowl combine all filling ingredients including all spices.
- Mix well and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least half hour to allow all ingredients to impart their unique flavors.
To make the momo:
- Give the dough a final knead and then separate into 1-inch dough balls.
- Take a ball, roll it between your palms to form a round shape and flatten. Continue with remainder of dough.
- Dust working surface with flour and use a rolling pin to roll out each flattened circle into a 2 – 3 inch circle. Cover the wrappers and dough with a wet cloth or napkin to keep them from drying out as you work.
- TIP: The key for a successfully cooked momo (one that does not fall apart) will be the way you roll out this wrapper. You want the middle to be a bit thicker than the edges so that once you put the filling it doesn't break through. For well executed Momo's, it is essential that the middle portion of the wrapper be slightly thicker than the edges to ensure the stuffing remain intact when the momo is cooked.
- To fill, place a wrapper on one palm, put one tablespoon of filling mixture in the middle, and, with the other hand, bring all edges together to the center, creating pleats. Pinch and twist the pleats to ensure that the dough seals firmly and completely. You can also shape them like half moons or crescents if you prefer.
- Heat up a steamer. Oil the steamer rack well to prevent dumplings from sticking to the pan.
- Arrange uncooked dumplings in the steamer, close the lid, and allow steaming until the dumplings are cooked through, about 10-15 minutes. Don’t overcook the momos – they are best when the filling is moist and juicy.
- Remove dumplings from the steamer and serve immediately. Arrange the cooked dumplings on a serving plate with Globedha Acchar (recipe follows) as a condiment.
Globedha Acchar (Tomato Chutney)
- 1 Roma Tomato
- 1 Tomatillo
- 1 Small Red Onion
- 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
- 1 Green Chili, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp Cumin Powder
- 1 cup Coriander Leaves, chopped
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Blacken tomato, tomatillo, and red onion over a flame for 2 minutes. Chop roughly and add to the bowl of a food processor.
- Add chili powder, green chili, cumin, coriander, and salt and pepper to the mixer along with 1 tsp of cooking oil.
- Process to a salsa-like consistency.
- Chill until ready to serve.