As a child right up until my adult life, the only foreign trip/vacation, we ever had was a trip to Nepal. Well, Nepal is very close to India and one of the few countries where Indians didn’t require a visa. We didn’t have a passport, nothing back then. That was the first time my brother, my mum and me ever travelled by plane. And for many years later, none of us did so again. My dad expired the following year and that was the last vacation we had together as a family. Unfortunately, we never went anywhere together after that trip till date. That was the last. My dad had travelled abroad extensively, all through Western Europe in the late 70s and had a few very good friends especially in Switzerland who would visit us almost every year. He thought life was stable enough by that year and had made some financial plans and dreams to take us all on some more trips abroad. But those never really materialized because he died before those came to pass. One of my fondest memories of Nepal is that I ate a lot of momos there. I fell in love with momos and I still love them. Everywhere we ate, every meal, every single day I would excitedly ask for momos and they were always available everywhere. Momos, dim sum, wantons, dumplings, gyoza….they’re not the same, but quite similar….and I love them all! I make momos at least once every two months since the last 8 years. They’re not too difficult. But I’d be lying if I told you they’re easy for an amateur cook. Once you get a hang of shaping/wrapping them, it’s not a difficult task at all. There are 4 stages in the preparation process and hence, making momos is extremely time-consuming especially if you are making these for a large crowd/family. Here’s what I do:
Ingredients: makes about 30 small momos
- 1.5tbsp + to oil the steamer plate: Sesame oil or any other refined oil
- 1 small Onion, finely chopped
- 1 Green Chili, finely chopped
- 2-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 150 gms, minced chicken meat
- Salt to taste
- 2 tbsp Spring onion greens or corriander leaves, finely chopped
- 1 cup All purpose flour (maida)
- Water, as required
- Take 1 cup of all purpose flour. Add some water and make an almost firm/tight dough (like you would for rotis). You can add some salt and oil if you like. But I don’t add any salt in my doughs usually. I find the extra sodium quite unnecessary. It is not noticeable at all. Keep this dough aside for a while (at least 30minutes) for the gluten to develop.
- Heat about 1.5tbsp of sesame oil in a vessel. Add the green chilies, garlic and onions and some salt. Sauté for a few seconds.
- When the onions get translucent and the raw smell disappears, turn off the heat source (gas/etc) and keep this mix aside to cool.
- Once this mixture is completely cool, add the minced meat, an appropriate amount of salt and the chopped herbs and mix very well.
- Let it marinate for a while in the refrigerator.
- Now roll out a huge roti/flatbread. Divide into smaller portions.
- Stuff each portion with a tiny amount of minced meat mixture and shape into momos.
- Just lift the edges of the mini roti/rolled out dough like a cloth parcel and seal the edges well.
- Then twist and cut off the excess dough at the top.
- Now spread some oil on a steamer tray/plate to prevent the momos from sticking to the plate and tearing.
- Arrange your uncooked momos on the plate keeping them sufficiently apart because steaming will cause them to increase in size a bit.
- Pour about 10 cups of water under to boil. I do not have a steamer so I just use a huge aluminium vessel and a flat steel colander with a glass lid that is sort of oversized. But it works great for me. I steam idlis and dhoklas the same way. I don’t see the need for excess equipment that have restricted uses….especially ones that take up a lot of space.
- Once your water is bubbling, place the steamer plate on the boiler/vessel/steamer and shut the lid.
- Make sure there is always water at the bottom in your vessel. It must never dry up completely because you will end up burning your vessel and even your momos will get a burned flavour. So stay alert.
- Also remember steam burns are a lot more painful than dry burns and can scald your skin easily so be very careful please. Use protective gloves and adequate safety measures.
- Keep it to steam for about 12-15minutes at max if you are using chicken mince/ minced prawns/crabmeat. These cook very quickly.
- Serve hot. You can store the remaining ones in your fridge and steam them again for a short while to re-heat them before serving.
- You can alternatively choose to deep fry/bake/pan fry your momos. But I personally think momos taste best when they are steamed.
- You can use any other meat/cooked vegetables of your choice like pork/beef/veal/lamb but then the cooking time will differ.
I hope you enjoy cooking and eating/serving this dish.
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