Momo: the sound, the ambience and the memory of its smell could bring water to the mouth. In Kathmandu valley, this steamed dish used to be commonly cooked by the Newar community. Momo is primarily made with the ground buffalo meat wrapped in thin dough about 3 inches in diameter from all purpose flour called maida.
Water buffalo meat could be the primary reason that momos were limited to the Newar and handful of other community in the past. Due to the religious taboos, the buffalo meat was prohibited amongst other castes. Many Nepalese believe momo originated from Tibet, but similar dishes are found throughout the Central Asia. In recent years, the popularity of momo has risen very high – you probably won’t find anyone in Kathmandu who doesn’t like momo or at least have heard about it. Now, you can easily find momos with turkey, chicken, goat, beef or mixed vegetables. The prevalence of vegetarian Momo is the proof of the momo mania.
Momo is normally eaten with a sauce made out of tomato, cilantro and sesame seed and/or combination of one or many types of nuts such as cashews, peanuts, walnuts. Adding nuts to the sauce not only provides a good source of needed fat for your body but also gives a unique taste that makes a “plate” licking dish. Although momo comes in many different shapes/sizes and with varieties of meat, the best and the authentic Kathmandu Momo would be the one made with the ground buffalo meat.
No one could dispute momos is the mostly eaten street food in the Kathmandu as well as a party dish for Nepal expat community living abroad. In the United States, I make Momo with the turkey meat. This is not by my choice but what I can commonly find in local grocery stores. Many people make momo with wrapper that is freshly made using all purpose flour. For me, that is an extra chore. Thus, for my own convenience, I use wonton wrapper, easy to wrap and readily available in most Asian (e.g., Korean) grocery stores. Oh yeah- wrapping the momo requires a skill. If your momo is wrapped too tightly and close to the meat, it might not be as good as the one that has a small space between the meat and the wonton.
Ground Turkey (approximately 1.5 lb)
How to prepare Momo?
Add all the ingredients together (beside wonton wrapper) mentioned above in a bowl that is large enough to mix them all together.
Best if mixed with bare (cleaned) hand for about 10/15 minutes.
Upon mixing, you can put one tsp of mixed meat on to each wonton wrapper and wrap it leaving a space between meat and flour. Spray some vegetable oil on the steamer or rub some hardened butter or ghee. Place wrapped momo on steamer.
Steam for 10/12 minutes. The good indicator is when the dough just turns from dull matte texture to slightly shiny.
Serve with sauce of your choice.
Momo is the dish that can be most enjoyed making and eating with group – rather than just by yourself.
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Posted in: Cooking | Tags: Authentic Momo recipe, Buffalo Momo, Easy Momo Recipe, Healthy Momo Recipe, Kathmandu Momo, Momo, Momo Recipe, Newari Food, Step by Step Momo Recipe, Turkey dumplings, Turkey momo, Turkey Momo Recipe, Water buffalo meat, Water buffalo momo
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