My first pragmatic instinct nags me that baking bread or freshly grinding spices or knitting are rather indulgence celebrating a romanticized past. I later realize that those who bake bread can eat it warm, or those who knit can choose eccentric designs, or those who grind pepper can get wholesome flavor off the fresh pepper oils. One of those archaic relics of not so distant past is grinding up flour for bread – which is something I have never seen anyone do now.
Prior to the mass proliferation of cheap electric grinder in early 1980s, every household in the Indian subcontinent used these stone grinders. Chakki, the traditional millstones or mill stones from Indian subcontinent, grind wheat into Atta flour or split legumes in half for making Dal or ground up fresh roasted spices. For most people who know about Chakki, it evokes either idyllic image of female members of grinding up floor for roti, such as shown in the painting. For others, Chakki reminds them of backbreaking work often comically referred to as default job inside jail in Bollywood movies.
Chakki consists of two stone cylinders. An upper stone cylinder rotates on top of another stationary stone cylinder, which is generally larger than the lower cylinder. Grains are fed in between the two cylinders from a hole in the middle of the top cylinder. When the cylinder rotates, the grains squeezed between the cylinders are grounded, split or separated from husk. Generally, in the home version of a Chakki is the top stone rotated by placing a wooden club as the handle inside a smaller hole on a side. The home version is operated by one or two people. The larger Chakki uses livestock to rotate the upper cylinder. Chakkis are made from stones but one can find other variants made from wood, which are believed to better at separating husk from the grain.
Finding someone using Chakki in a city is rarity nowadays. I was lucky to find a local grocery vendor using it split daal. In the video, the local vendor puts whole urad beans on a hole on the top cylinder and as cylinder is rotated the urad beans is split into half in between the two cylinders to give urad daal. See my earlier post on urad (kalo) daal and jimbu. The posted video shows Chakki splitting whole urad bean was shot in Kathmandu, Nepal. Newars in Kathmandu call this millstone Gha, while rest of Nepal calls it Janto and more recently by its Pan-Indian name Chakki.
I am not sure if grinding flour and splitting bean by Chakki make them taste better. However, I am sure that freshly grounded flour and split beans do taste different. Ask any coffee connoisseur if freshly ground beans are necessary for their morning espresso.
Posted in: Food Culture | Tags: Chakki, Gha Newari, Grinding Indian Spices, Indian food, Indian Stone Grinders, Janto Nepali, Nepal Stone Grinders, Stone Cylinder Grinders
Generally momos, curried dumplings, are steamed and consumed during cold winter evenings in Nepal. Hot steam used for cooking momos keeps the rooms warm between the batches (pakh) of momos, which also warms the body of the eater, in turn giving warmth to their hungry souls.
Momos are steamed in multiple batches every 15 minutes or so at the home in small steamer consisting of 2 or 3 levels/floors. Everyone ends up with only a few momos couple of times in an hour. So momo party usually takes a shape of a slow snacking all evening long usually resulting in bloated stomachs caused by the shared gluttony.
How many calories are in momo?
Nutritional analysis of momo meal to find calories per serving is an approximation at the best because there is no standard recipe for momo and there is no data on numbers of momo people consume per serving.
Nutritional Analysis on published Momo Recipes
The initial sets of nutritional values were calculated the four meat based momo recipes selected from published momo recipes. The first recipe chosen was the turkey momo recipe published on the DesiGrub by Anita (my favorite American momo recipe). The next recipe was khasi (lamb) momo recipe from the book Asian Dumplings by Andrea Nguyen. The final two recipes were lamb momo and chicken momo from the most comprehensive Nepali cookbook, The Taste of Nepal by Jyoti Pathak. The size of momo was based on what was suggested by the author.
All these values are calculated based on the USDA estimates. The quality of ingredients may change these values slightly.
Nutritional Analysis on the Same Momo Recipe – Different Meat
All those four momo recipes are inherently different. Many ingredients change from one momo recipe to another. What would happen if we just change the meat? Thus, keeping everything else same, we calculated nutritional value for the DesiGrub momo recipe by changing the type of meat. For this nutritional analysis, the size of a momo was about 28-32 grams each, which we found was about an average size for momo based on our quick measurements.
We found an average number of standard (generic) size momo has 59 calories. We can safely assume each momo is ~ 60 calories depending on the recipe and exact size.
Average Number of Momo Consumed per Person
After getting average calories per momo, we still need to know how many momo an average person eats to calculated the total calories of momo dinner. Momos sold as a fast/street food is served usually in a plate of 10 momos. However, during “steamout” with friends and family, who is really counting? We performed a quick survey on the Facebook (Join DesiGrub @ Facebook!) and got 37 responses up to the point of writing.
The average numbers of momo per person per meal is 18±13. However we found these averages changed depending on national origin and sex of the respondent. The highest average was for a male of Nepali origin, who typically consumes 27±10 momos per meal. The lowest number of momo eating group was non-Nepali female with just 10±3 momos per meal.
Average Number of Calories Consumed per Person During Momo Dinner
Here are average calories we are consuming per momo dinner. This estimate still underestimates the total caloric value of momo meal because we don’t account for the sauce (achaar) consumed with momos.
Hopefully, we have not deterred you for eating momos. In future blog post, we will talk about lesson learned on making low calorie dumplings.
Related Dumpling Posts
Posted in: Cooking | Tags: Beef Momo Calories, Buffalo Momo Calories, Calories in Buffalo Momo, Calories in Chicken Momo, Calories in Lamb Momo, Calories in Momo, Calories in one momo, Calories in Turkey Momo, Chicken Momo Calories, dumplings, How many calories in momo, Indian food, Kathmandu Food, Lamb Momo Calories, Meat Momo Calories, Momo, Momo Calorie, Momo Calories, Nepal Food Calories, Nepal Momo Calories, Nepali Food, Nepali Food Calories, Nepali Momo Calories, Newari Food, Tibetan food, Tibetan Momo Calories, Turkey Momo Calories
Aloo chat is the most basic type of Indian subcontinental savory snacks (chaat) (also spelled alu chaat). Tradtionally, it’s made from deep fried potatoes (aloo) served with vegetables and chaat sauce, which is usually made from yogurt. This recipe is dedicated to my cousin R’sha, who is studying in a sleepy Midwestern town. She is a big fan of aloo chat. During her last visit we made samosa chat, she asked me to show her a basic aloo chat recipe with everyday dorm ingredients. A good chaat contains savory, salty, sour, and sweet flavors in a perfect harmony. It also has a velvety smooth sauce encompassing soft and crunchy fillings.
Here’s how to make a simple aloo chat.
Get home fries, sprinkle with pinch of garam masala and mix.
Microwave three times, for 90 second each, while stirring in between. If using home fries, microwave only once. Let it stand for at least 15 minutes. Cooling potatoes before adding yogurt and other ingredients is essential.
Add chopped onions and tomatoes. Other highly recommended toppings are cilantro and canned garbanzo beans. Here I used yellow onion and grape tomatoes.
Posted in: Cooking | Tags: Aloo Chaat, chaat, chat, Indian fast microwave food, Indian food, Indian snack
Perfect kabob = flavorful grilled marinated (or spiced) meat cooked succulent but tender enough to melt in your mouth. The major disappointment for kabob is a dry and chewy kabob. Generally, kabob is served with leavened flat-bread (often known as naan), rice and vegetables/salad.
There are four categories of kabobs;
Shish kabob or souvlaki or satay or sekuwa: marinated chunk of usually cubed boneless meat grilled over open charcoal. Shish kabobs are usually grilled with skewers. Shish kabobs need the highest quality meat because there is no processing of meat before cooking except marination. Since shish kabobs are cooked with just radiant heat, it can be most succulent and juicy kabob if cooked right.
Tandoor kabob or kathi kabob or bhatti Kabob: marinated chunk of (usually with bones) meat grilled in a high heat clay oven known as tandoor. Temperature in tandoor can go as high as 900°F. Tandoor Kabob is generally a bit dry than shish kabobs because both radiant heat (from fire) and convection heat (hot air) is cooking the kabobs. A famous example of tandoor kabob is the tandoori chicken served in virtually any non-vegetarian Indian restaurants.
Chapli kabob or kakori kabob or Kubideh kabob: spiced ground meat usually cooked over charcoal grill. Since it’s made of ground meat, many inferior meats can be served as this kabob. Basically it’s like grilled burger (with more spice). A burger can be McDry burger or a heavenly delight (see best burgers in DC).
Doner kebab (Turkish) or Turkish kabob (Indian subcontinent and Iran) or shawarma (Arabic) or gyro (Greek) : vertical cone shaped kabob that are sliced to order. The traditional way to make doner kabob is to stack marinated slices of lamb meat on a rotating vertical skewer in the shape of an inverted cone topped with fat, tomatoes, and onion flavoring the meat in bottom with its drippings when heated. However, in west doner kebab is often industrially manufactured with ground meat. The traditional doner kabob is cooked in rotating charcoal or wood cooker. It is sort of old fashioned rotisserie meat.
Spices, marination, sauce, side ingredients and type of meat may change but the above four categories encompass essence of all kabobs. For example, in countries with large Muslim population, kabobs are made from lamb and sometimes with beef, in Indian subcontinent it has curry based spices, in Thailand it may be served with peanut sauce, Greeks make gyro from pork, which is taboo meat in Muslim countries, and serve with yogurt sauce.
For me Kabob is street food or at most a fast food such as oldstyle delis. So, I don’t like the idea of kabobs in a fancy restaurant. A kabob joint should be an unassuming place that serves the quality Kabob with possibly flatbread and should not be heavy on your wallet. My search for perfect kabob took me to these places in and around DC.
In Moby Dick, it is sirloin. Many of Moby Dick’s entrees are very similar to the Persian national dish, Chelow kabob. Chelow kabob consist of steamed saffron basmati rice (Chelow) and kabob. Traditionally, Chelow kabob is served with grilled tomatoes on the side and butter on top of the steamed rice like the way it’s served in Moby Dick. Moby Dick also provides a classic condiments, ground sumac (Somagh), on their tables. You can sprinkle this reddish looking powder on rice to give somewhat of aromatic tart flavor. If you are adventurous enough, Moby Dick also serves the traditional yogurt drink, Doogh, which are often carbonated and flavored with salt and mint. Moby Dick has two varieties; the homemade and the commercial. The homemade is more flavorful while commercial is more carbonated. It reminds me of salty lassi drink people in northern India drink to cool off during hot summer days. Definitely try, if you are a foodie!
The kabobs here have more of Indian subcontinental influence (read; Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan and India) because spice marination of kabob has more curry flavors. However, it also serves kubideh, which is more of Persian style kabob. They also serves chapli kebab or chappal kabob, a spicy beef patty made in Peshawari style, a northwestern part of Pakistan. Lamb kabobs are served with bones as well as without bones. All the kabobs are served with rice, salad and Indian subcontinental style curried vegetables such as spinach potato (palak aloo), chickpeas etc. Beside kabob, Kabob Palace also serves other dishes such as Karahi chicken. One of the best part of Kabob Palace is that you get a free black masala chai (see previous post on chai) while you wait for your kabobs. Both time I went to Kabob Palace, it was snowing and their hot tea made me feel at home.
Ravi Kabob, Kabob Bazaar and others
Kabob Bazar is a kabob between courthouse and clarendon metro. It serves Middle Eastern type kabob, i.e., light on curry spices. It also has other Middle Eastern fare such as falafel, hummus, as well as decent selection of vegetarian and fish kabobs.
There are many other wonderful kabob joints around DC area that I have yet to explore. My suggestion is go and try them out. You may find a hidden jewel hiding in your neighborhood.
In search of Doner Kabob
Posted in: Travel and Food | Tags: bengali food, bhatti Kabob, Chapli kabob, DC Cafe, Doner kebab, Indian food, kabob bazaar, Kabob Palace, kakori kabob, kathi kabob, Kubideh kabob, Middle eastern food, Moby Dick, Pakistani food, Ravi kabob, satay, sekuwa, shawarma, Shish kabob, souvlaki, Tandoor kabob, Turkish kabob, types of kabob
Maggi microwave medley (3M) is my standard way of cooking any packet noodle (e.g. Ramen, Wai Wai). I like using Maggi Masala because I love the spice sachet inside it (Maggi’s version of curry powder) .
Maggi Masala Packet
Maggi noodle and spice inside the sachet.
1 cup water (more for soupy, less for dry), thinly sliced onions, frozen peas (add whatever fresh or frozen vegetables you have on hand)
Cooked for 3 and half minute. Make sure to stir once in the middle.
Egg. Beat it.
Half minute in the microwave.
Posted in: Cooking | Tags: How to cook Maggi, India Maggie, Indian curry noodle, Indian food, Indian Ramen, Maggi, Maggi Curry Noodle, Maggi Noodle India, Noodles, Ramen, Wai wai