Our visit to Nepal many years ago was a memorable one. I loved the country and the people were very friendly. Though we had gone there in the month of April, it was freezing cold. The place we stayed at had a very small basic kitchen. No fancy food was available there. Our first meal was momo soup.” What is momo?” I asked the cook. He brought out a bowl of soup and showed me the momos. I thought, is that all we get for food? However, once I got my veggie momo soup, I wanted some more. It was filling, warming to the heart on a cold chilly day and delicious. For nearly a whole week, momo soup was my dinner.
Momos basically resemble dumplings, wantons, pot stickers or dim sums. Momos(steamed bread) was introduced by the Chinese to the Himalayan countries of Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and slowly became popular in the North eastern states of India. As the north eastern population travelled to the other parts of India, momos became more popular. Momos can be fried, steamed or cooked along with soups. Making different shaped momos is an art. I came across a recipe for momo soup on my diverse kitchen. Memories of Nepal came back and I had to make the soup at home. I changed the recipe quite a bit to suit my taste and on the availability of ingredients. So please feel free to play around with the ingredients.
Since the first time when I tasted momos in Nepal, I’ve had them umpteen of times in India. Its caught on popularity as a famous Street Food in every Foodie Street of India. Mostly you get steamed ones on the street. The fillings vary from meat ones, veggies to paneer, yes paneer ones and they taste awesome. Hot steaming momos served with a dipping sauce and you’ve had a healthy filling meal.
I still love my momo soup as a wholesome meal. The vegetables keep on varying depending on what is available. I have become more adventurous with the stuffing too, but leaving the original recipe as a guideline. I’ve sometimes added steamed rice to the stuffing along with veggies, have added tofu, paneer, mushrooms etc.
4 to 6 Servings
Momo wrapping dough:
¾ cups plain flour (all purpose flour)
a generous pinch of baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp oil
¼ – ⅓ cup lukewarm water
Momo stuffing or filling:
1 cup of mixed vegetables of your choice,finely chopped or shredded (carrot, French beans, mushrooms, zucchini, cauliflower, cabbage, onion)
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp garlic paste
½ tsp ginger paste
1 tsp sesame seeds
¼ – ½ tsp salt
½ – 1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp soya sauce
3-4 cups vegetable stock or water
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
½ cup sweet corn
½ cup chopped spring onion
1 cup snow peas (sugar snap), cut into halves
½ sweet pepper, any colour cut into cubes
1 tsp sesame seeds
1- 2 tsp chilli sauce
½ – ¾ tsp salt
½ tsp ginger
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp brown sugar or honey
1-2 star anise
1-2 tsp rice vinegar
½ tsp coarse pepper powder
1-2 tsp sesame seed oil
Preparation of Momo dough:
- Mix flour, salt and baking powder together in a bowl.
- Add oil and rub into the flour.
- Add little water at a time to make a stiff dough.
- Knead it till its a bit smooth.
- Cover with a damp cloth and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Preparation of the filling:
- Heat oil in a wide pan over medium heat.
- Add garlic, ginger, onion if using any and sesame seeds. Stir fry for a few seconds.
- Add the chopped vegetables and stir fry over high heat for 2 minutes.
- Take the pan off the heat and let the filling become cool.
- Add salt, soya sauce and chilli flakes when the mixture is cold. Mix well.
To make the momos:
- Divide the dough into 10 -12 parts. Roll each part into a ball.
- Keep them covered under a damp cloth.
- Roll each ball into a 3 inch diameter circle.
- Place about a tsp of the filling in the middle and bring the edges together. You can make money bags, half moon shapes or any shape you prefer. Watch this video for ideas.
- Place the momo on an oiled tray. Press the edges well to prevent any filling from coming out while cooking.
- Repeat the procedure with the remaining dough and filling.
- Cover the momos with a damp cloth till ready to use.
- Get the vegetables for the soup ready, cut zucchini and carrots into slices if using any. Slice the mushrooms, cut pepper into big squares. If using napa leaves Chinese cabbage, cut the lower thick part into squares. Cut the leafy part into thin strands. Keep it separate.
- Take a deep pan and add water or stock to it.
- Place the pan over medium heat.
- Add chili sauce, salt, rice vinegar, sugar or honey, star anise, soy sauce and bring the mixture to a gentle boil.
- While the stock is getting hot, heat oil in a wide pan over high heat.
- Add the sesame seeds and garlic. Stir fry for a few seconds.
- Add the vegetables except for the spring onion. Stir fry for a minute.
- Take the pan off the heat.
- When the water begins to boil, add the momos.
- Let them boil for 4-5 minutes.
- Add the stir fried vegetables and spring onion.
- Mix well and serve immediately with some extra soy sauce and chili sauce.
- Roll out the dough for the momos thin. If they are thick, it will take a longer time to cook.
- Any left over filling can be added to the soup.
- Use carrots, french beans, baby corn, broccoli, bell pepper, onion etc for the broth.
- Use any vegetable, meat or chicken for filling.
- Use any ready made chilli sauce of your choice.
- Use a bit of flour if the dough sticks while rolling.
- Use fresh coriander instead of spring onion for a different taste.
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