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.
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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