A textbook definition of momo, for those who don’t know, is a steamed dish with spiced minced meat wrapped inside a pocket made of a thin sheet of flour dough.
Momo, in its basic construction, is similar to the following dishes. Most of these dishes originate in Central Asia.
The difference is that the meat filling inside the momo is spiced with curry or related spices from the Indian subcontinent such as cumin, turmeric, coriander seeds etc.
Technically, momo is a potsticker with curried meat. For me, momo is a lot of fond memories; my mother making momos for 17 consecutive nights on our request, savoring cheap “especial” Mo: Mo in a local pasal against my parents wish, hitchhiking 100 miles to Philadelphia to buy my first steamer, Friday night weekly momo dinner at my cousin’s house in Virginia, loud momo parties at friends, last minute mad dash to accommodate a vegetarian momo eater or just a quite weekends with a special someone and lot of momos.
Although I have lot of special memories associated with momo, I hate making them. At first, I believed that I despised the repeated task of pinching dough and filling meat. I still hated it even when I got creative with each pinching of the dough and shape of individual momo.
I finally realized that more than disliking the monotony of making momo, I love the idea that someone made that “momo” just for me. To me, momo carries the warm feeling of someone taking care of me – maybe my ma, bhauju, fufu, bahini, sathi or just a complete stranger. Each packet of dough filled with the curried meat is just made for me, someone took care of my needs and pampered me with my favorite dish.
For you many other Nepali people, momo would probably symbolize something else, it may mean comradery of working together in a group, taking care of people by feeding, sharing a plate with someone you just met, learning to cook as a child, finding innovative ways to steam momo in a college dorm, casual weekend gluttony, a bout of rebellion by eating meat against the religion, not giving into the peer pressure by staying vegetarian, or getting warmth in a winter night with the family. Whatever the reason maybe, lets celebrate talking, making, steaming, sharing, and eating momo this first week of February.
Posted in: Food Culture | Tags: American Momo, dumplings, Eating Momo, Kathmandu Momo, Mo-mo, Momo, momo masala, Momo Nepal, Momocha, Nepal momo, Nepalese Momo, Nepali Food, Nepali Momo, Newri food, Tibetan food, Why I like Momo