Nepal has always held a special place in my heart, especially since that is where my sister was born. I recently reached out to her biological mother and sisters for suggestions on the most authentic Nepali meal there is – and they both agreed that momos were the way to go. Thanks for the help, Tara and Binita!
I did a little research and came to find that momos were brought to Nepal from Tibetan monks, and the dish quickly gained popularity from there, spreading even into India and China. With all of the different combinations of momos you can make, I can see why these tasty treats took off.
Here’s What You Need
For my momos, I used a 50% turkey, 50% veal combination, though you can use any mix of chicken, pork, or veal for the filling.
- Ground veal: Adds a tender and mild flavor to the filling.
- Ground turkey: Provides a moist and lean element to the filling.
- Red onion: Adds a sweet and tangy flavor to the filling.
- Tomatoes: Provides a hint of acidity and juiciness to the filling.
- Fresh cilantro: Adds freshness and a vibrant herbal note to the filling.
- Ginger: Adds a warm and aromatic flavor to the filling.
- Curry powder: Infuses the filling with a savory and complex taste.
- Turmeric: Provides vibrant color and subtle earthy flavor to the filling.
- Nutmeg: Adds a warm and slightly sweet note to the filling.
- Chile peppers: Brings a spicy kick and enhances the overall flavor profile of the filling.
- Flour: Forms the base of the dough, providing structure and texture.
- Water: Combines with flour to create a pliable dough.
- Ghee or olive oil: Adds richness and moisture to the dough.
- Salt: Enhances the overall flavor of the dough.
Momos, the food, even inspired the name of Momo, the flying lemur in Avatar: The Last Airbender. This may or may not be a sneak peek into the other recipes you can expect to see this week on The Starving Chef. By the way, if you’ve never seen Avatar, drop everything and watch the series. Not the movie. THE SERIES. It’s worth your time, I promise.
Let’s Get Started
Making momos is a delightful process. You start by creating a crumbly dough using oil, salt, and flour, adding enough water for a firm consistency. Let the dough rest for about 30 minutes, covered with plastic wrap, in a warm place.
While the dough is resting, combine the meats, spices, and vegetables in a bowl. At this point, things will start smelling extra good.
I love a nice curry scent in the afternoon.
Use your hands to really work everything together. Let the filling cool in the refrigerator for a while as you work out the dough.
After the dough has rested, gently knead it on a floured surface. Divide the dough into eight equal portions and use a rolling pin to shape each portion into a circle. Make sure the center is slightly thicker than the edges to ensure the momos hold up during steaming.
Now it’s time to fill and seal the momos. Spoon one to two scoops of the filling onto the center of each wrapper.
Draw in the edges and seal them with a pinch of water. This will prevent the filling from spilling out during cooking.
If you don’t have a bamboo steamer, don’t worry! You can use a vegetable steamer lined with parchment paper, making small slits for the steam to escape. Steam the momos for about 20 minutes until the meat is cooked through.
Helpful Hints & Tips to Making Momos
- Ensure the filling is well-mixed: Thoroughly mix the filling ingredients to evenly distribute the flavors.
- Adjust seasoning to taste: Taste the filling before assembling the momos and adjust the seasoning according to your preference.
- Keep the dough covered: Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a damp cloth while resting to prevent it from drying out.
- Add water gradually when making the dough: Gradually add water to the dough, as it’s easier to add more water than to fix an overly wet dough.
- Dust the rolling surface with flour: Dust the surface with flour before rolling out the dough to prevent sticking.
- Be mindful of the wrapper thickness: Make the center of the wrappers slightly thicker than the edges for better structural integrity.
- Seal the momos tightly: Ensure a tight seal by using a pinch of water along the edges and pressing firmly.
- Adjust steaming time as needed: Check for doneness by ensuring the meat is thoroughly cooked, adjusting the steaming time accordingly.
- Explore dipping sauce options: Experiment with various dipping sauces to accompany your momos.
- Practice makes perfect: Don’t be discouraged; making momos takes practice, so keep trying and improving with each batch.
Serve the momos alongside major grey chutney and homemade pudina chutney as dipping sauces. The tangy and flavorful chutneys complement the momos perfectly. As I savor each bite of these delicious dumplings, I dream of the day I get to taste the authentic momos in Nepal. Until then, these homemade ones will have to satisfy my cravings.
Remember, cooking is all about exploring new flavors and techniques. So gather your ingredients, get your hands dirty, and enjoy the culinary journey of making momos. And don’t forget to share your experiences and variations with me by tagging @TheStarvingChefBlog on Instagram!
Happy cooking, Hungry People!
- 1 cup flour + more for dusting
- ¼ cup water + more as needed
- 1 tablespoon ghee or olive oil
- Prepare the dough for the wrappers by combining the oil, pinch of salt, and flour until a crumbly dough forms. Add just enough water until a firm dough can be kneaded. Knead a few times, then place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rest in a dark, warm place for 30 minutes.
- While the dough is resting, combine the veal, turkey, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, ginger, curry powder, turmeric, nutmeg, and chile peppers in a bowl. Use your hands to mix everything thoroughly. Chill the filling mixture in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- When the dough has softened, dust a countertop with flour and knead the dough again. Split the dough into 8 evenly sized dough balls. Roll out each dough ball with a rolling pin, making the edges thinner than the center.
- Measure out 1-2 tablespoons of the meat filling onto the center of each wrapper. Fold the edges together in the center above the meat. Seal the momos with a brush of water along the edges and pinch them closed.
- Arrange the momos in a steamer and steam for 20-25 minutes or until the meat is cooked through.
- Serve the momos alongside a heaping plate of chicken biryani and naan. Enjoy!