Momos are quite a healthy finger food apart from only the refined flour for the wraps. They are dumplings which you can pack with a filling of your choice, be it, minced chicken, meat or vegetables.
I tasted my first Momos, a few years ago in Delhi. My niece, Sonya and I were shopping in Lajpat Nagar Market and when we were exhausted from shopping she took me to this Momos stall, which was crowded and manned by 2 Tibetan ladies. We had to literally elbow ourselves in and order a plate. Now I had never eaten them before and when I saw them I wondered what these soft, squishy dumplings would taste like. The Momos were doused in a spicy tomato sauce and were absolutely finger licking delicious. No wonder the place was crowded. The ladies set up the stall at 5 pm every day and by 9 pm they were sold out! A trip to Delhi is incomplete without a double plate of these lip-smacking Momos.
Momos are originally the famous street food from Tibet or Nepalese which are similar to the dim-sums, wontons or dumplings. They are either steamed or deep fried in oil. The deep fried ones are called Kothey Momos. Momos are usually served with a tomato dipping sauce. The sauce builds up the taste of the Momos when they are dipped into it. They are best eaten steaming hot. When you roll the momos into the sauce and bite into them, the flavors of the tomato, vinegar, garlic, literally explode and your taste buds are actually on fire!
Esha my daughter loves Momos and can live on them. When she was studying in Miranda, I went to visit her and she took me to this quaint place which served tandoori ( grilled) Momos!! Trust a Punjabi to twist a unique recipe and make it local friendly. This place was crowded too and had closed the counter. Esha used her persuasive skills and angled for 1 veg and 1 non-veg plate which we had, standing on the roadside.
I just started learning how to make them, as we don’t get Momos here, I plan to master them so that I can make them for my daughter, Esha when she is back home in another couple of days. All those who have tasted them, have liked them so much that I was asked to teach the chefs at the local club. Now Momos are a part of the menu at the club.
Steamed Vegetable/Chicken Momos
For the wraps
1 cup flour
Salt to taste
Pinch of baking powder
1/2 cup Water, use enough to knead the dough
Combine the flour and salt in a bowl. Add water to make a stiff dough. Knead till you have a smooth dough. Add a drop of Olive oil to the dough to keep it smooth. Cover with a damp muslin cloth and keep aside for half an hour.
For the filling:
200 gms paneer (cottage cheese), mushrooms, cabbage, carrots and beans, peppers or veggies of your choice (200 gms minced chicken for non-veg)
1 large Onion
2 Green chilies
1 small piece Ginger
3 cloves Garlic
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Soy sauce
Salt to taste
For the vegetarian filling, chop the mushrooms, carrots, cabbage, and capsicum in the chopper. Add the grated paneer to the same and mix well with your hand. Add the soy sauce, pepper powder and salt to taste.For the chicken filling: Chop the onions, green chillies, ginger, and garlic in the chopper. Add to the minced chicken in a bowl. Add the pepper and soy sauce. Add salt to taste.Cover and keep it in the fridge until you assemble the sauce and make the wraps.
Clean the kitchen top and roll the dough into small balls. Then roll them out into thin circles. If you are not adept at rolling don’t sweat 🙂 You can roll out one huge shapeless roti and with the help of a round cutter, cut out perfect circles. Hold the momo wrap in your palm and place a spoonful of filling in the centre. Wet the edges of the wrap and fold the edges together, slowly gathering all ends, pleating as you go and make a neat money-bag or potli. Momos can be made in half moon and other shapes, but I like the money bags. Fill all the wraps and make the momos.
Meanwhile get your steamer ready as you should place the momos only when it is already steaming. I love the fancy bamboo momo steamers, but I didn’t have one and used my idly plate to steam the momos. You can even use a colander to steam the momos. Smear the plate with oil so that they do not stick or you can even put a banana leaf and place the momos on it and they won’t stick. Steam for at least 15 to 20 mins if you want the filling to be cooked nicely.
Now for the Sauce-
I like a spicy sauce, with a bit of tanginess and a wee bit of sweetness would make it tastier.
6 tomatoes chopped
1 large onion
4 cloves garlic
6 red chilies
1-inch piece ginger
1 tsp vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
Salt to taste
1 tsp olive oil
I have started using Olive oil as it enhances the taste and is also very healthy ( Eat junk food without losing sleep over it :))
Chop the onions, ginger, garlic and red chillies finely. Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the onions, garlic, and ginger, sauté till pink and add the red chillies. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook till they are nice and soft. Add the salt, sugar and vinegar and remove from fire. Cool this mixture and blend it in a blender nicely. Your Momo sauce is ready. You can store it in the fridge in an airtight container for a few days.
The Momos are ready and serve them piping hot with this red hot spicy dip. I served them in these ceramic serving bowls in the shape of woks, which my mom gifted me long ago and I cherish them so very much.Don’t feel guilty while eating them as there is minimum oil and the veggies and chicken mince too are steamed.Those lucky ones who do not need to count their calories can deep fry the momos. And if you have a tandoor, then try grilling them. Any which way you are going to totally enjoy your Momo experience.
This is a really spicy, tongue on fire, easy cooking idea for singles.Do try it out.