My summer nurse externship taught me so much - practicing my nursing skills, time management, teamwork and about Nepalese culture, particularly, how to make MOMOs. My preceptor, from Nepal, has a signature dish she brings with her to every party or potluck and upon trying them, I knew I had to learn how to make them.
Momos are an Asian dumpling that are a delicacy in Nepal and Tibet. From what I've read online, they are traditionally filled with yak meat (eek!) but fortunately, they are quite adaptable and can be filled with pretty much anything you like. Nepal, being a largely Hindu country, has 3 favorite fillings for their momos: vegetable, potato or (for the non veggies) ground meat (lamb, chicken, turkey... maybe even yak).
One afternoon, on a day off from the hospital, my preceptor invited me and her Nepalese friend over to her humble abode for a day filled of momo-making! It's really fun with a group of people because the process of filling the dumpings and wrapping them up is a bit tidious so it makes the time go by faster with friends! You can get creative with the wrapping - my favorite being the traditional half moon shape, with the two ends attached to from a circle.
While the dumpling is very important, I think the most key ingredient to delicious momos is the sauce, or chutney. My friend makes a kick-ass tomato chutney that is sooo good you could just drink it! It really makes or breaks the momos.
So this week being my only week of vacation from work and school, I decided to tackle the daunting task of recreating her fabulous momos. I'm very please to announce, that mine turned out equally delicious - even the tomato chutney!! While my friend used ground turkey for her filling, I decided to give cabbage mix and potatoes a try. They ended up being wonderful - almost like a steamed samosa with a zesty tomato sauce!
These take a big of time to make but take my suggestion and invite a bunch of friends over, pop open a bottle of wine, and make it a momo-making party!
- 1 tsp oil
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 2 tbs minced ginger
- 1 chopped onion
- 2-4 minced peppers
- 1/2 tsp tumeric
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp curry powder
- 2 chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 bunch of cilantro, stems removed
- pinch of salt
- 1 pack of round spring roll wrappers
- 2 tsp. vegetable oil
- ¼ tsp. cumin seeds
- 1 garlic clove, chopped finely
- 1 tsp. grated ginger
- 1 green chili, chopped finely
- 1 onion, chopped finely
- ½ cup finely chopped cabbage (I used cole slaw mix for the cabbage and carrot)
- 1 carrot, chopped finely into tiny cubes
- 1 potato, chopped finely into tiny cubes
- 3 fluid oz water
- salt to taste
- ¼ tsp. garam masala (my friend gave me Momo Masala but any masala will do)
Heat the oil and add the cumin seeds. Add the garlic, ginger, green chili and onions and stir for a minute. Add the cabbage, carrots and potatoes and stir again. Add some water and cook covered for about 7-8 minutes until the vegetables become soft and the water is dried up. Add the salt and garam masala and stir well. Remove from heat and keep aside.
Making the momos:
Before beginning, start up your steamer (making sure to oil it very well so the dumplings don't stick). Put on the table in front of you the spring roll wrappers, your bowl of filling, a small bowl of warm water, and an empty plate.
Grab a spring roll wrapper in one hand, dip your free hand in the water and wet the edge of the wrapper slightly. Next, put approximately 1½ tsp. filling in the wrapper. To seal, lift the bottom arch to the bottom arch of the wrapper and seal firmly by pleating the ends with your fingers. The shape should look like a half moon and have no openings. If the sides are having trouble sticking together, reseal them with water. If you want to get really fancy, take the two ends of the half moon and make them meet, pressing them together to seal.
Similarly prepare all the momos until you run out of wrappers or filling.
Steam the momos for about 15 minutes until they are swollen. Enjoy hot and serve with lots of tomato chutney on top.