Yup MOMO! And as good as the name has a ring to it, believe me, the taste is equally good, infact better.
(My current status and usual status)
It is the most popular dish among kathmandities. And there are no streets in Kathmandu, to my knowledge at least, that won’t serve you a delicious plate, be it a local restaurant, cafeteria, hotels or street vendors. Of course, nothing tastes better than ‘home made momos’. But, for that, you will have to wait for a big gathering or some sorta family reunion, where everyone participates in the cooking process. (The trend is big in Nepal. Invitation to ‘MoMo party’ is a big YES always! )
And trust me, when i say it, every household in Kathmandu knows the recipe for ‘these dumplings’. However, many of us still prefer eating outdoors or ordering take-aways because ‘gulping them quick’ is much easier than sitting down and ‘preparing them’. Stating the obvious fact. (No one likes to play chef when one gets to be a customer..Right? Atleast not me :))
So enough of that then. Lets start with, what is momo and how is it prepared?
‘Momo’ is a basically a ‘steamed dumpling’, made either with vegetables or meat wrapped in flour. Ones like Chinese dumpling but much smaller in size. That reminds me to mention, the dish itself may not be a of ‘Nepalese origin’, though’ where and how did it flourish in Nepal is definitely an answer i am looking forward to know.
So, preparation of ‘Momo’ is a two step process. 1) prepare the wrap and 2) Make the filling.
Question is, how do you prepare the wrap? Well, make the dough by usual process, mixing water with flour and kneading till the consistency is right. Do i need to explain more??? Oh well..Pound the flour, squeeze it and press; time and again with your heels firmly on it, back and forth, till the flour is soft, elastic and smooth.. So when you are done, poke it, does it spring back? If it does so, and also maintains it’s shape while you leave it lying on the rolling surface, then bravo! The dough is perfect and ready to be used anytime. Take a small portion now, and roll it into a small flat disc, gently with a rolling pin. There” the wrapper is ready too. (Reminder, that portion is just for one dumpling. You have 10 dumplings in a plate for one person.)
The second step is to make the filling. If you are vegetarian, you can prepare fillers with onions, cabbages and neutrellas. Infact anything, you want the fillers to be prepared of. And if you are a non-vegetarian like me, mix meat (any meat of your choice) with onions, cabbages, salt and spices (according to your taste). And by now, i will have to trust that, when you are putting together the fillers, you were smart enough to grind the ingredients in the blender. Because, remember, it’s a STEAMED dumpling, you don’t want under cooked chunks.
Now, once your wrap is done and fillers are ready. Fill the belly of wrap with the fillers and knot the wrap, gently at top. Make sure it is enclosed from all around the corner while you do so. (Traditional momos are usually cooked closed, other types may be open style like pic below. The openings are to add the sauces). Now steam them for 7-8 minutes. And serve, while the aroma still fills in your senses and the momos are still hot with juiciness, just boiling over their surface. I suggest something as simple as a tomato soup to go with it since it blends in perfectly with the taste, trust me. But, if you are thinking otherwise, any other sauce works great too.
Personally, for me, the perfect time to have momo is in ‘Winter’ or a ‘Cold chilly Rainy day’. Imagine, taking a bite through it’s soft supple contours, when the bun finally gives in to your demanding hunger. Imagine that moment, when the steam inside the wrap, puffs into your nostrils as a ‘give away’ sign to you, releasing into your mouth the mixed savouries, the flavors of all, that it was steaming over with. And now, picture yourself, watching the vapour, escape from it blending in with the thick winter fog to nothing infront of your own very eyes, while the taste of it lingers in your tongue wanting more and the pits of your stomach gives the deepest gratifying nod..
NOW THAT IS MOMO PEOPLE!! hehhehe