Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Non-vegetarian Momo with Chicken, Pork or Beef Filling

This is a Tibetan recipe as you most probably know and is taking the city by storm for a past few years; a fad so popular that it has replaced the age old favourites of noodles and rolls the city was so proud of! A health conscious yet fast food addict generation has switched to the wonderful, wonderful world of – momos!

I personally have been having momos before this momo addiction broke out, at a time when I would know the very few momo joints by heart and could tell from one shop to another just by taste. In fact, without sounding too conceited, I somewhat reckoned myself a Kolkata-momo connoisseur. Not for long though, as innumerable other joints cropped up and road-side vendors took it up, making it a household name. Everyone has their own secret recipe and eventually, ways to Indianising the dish, making it more fast food oriented, inevitably crept in.

The cute Tibetan name has an equally cute English term that is the closest way to describe what it is. A dumpling. But a bit different in technique and a whole lot different, as far as the flavour goes. The best momo I have ever had, so far was in Sikkim, the tiny, beautiful state to the North East of India, that shares a border with Tibet, where the food originated. I believe that is the closest to the authentic version that I have ever tasted. However, it is a little disappointing to announce that this recipe is very Indianised. I am still working on it to get to the real version, and when I do, I will post an update and link that one to this recipe for interested readers. But speaking from an experimental point of view, this is very delicious, none the less. I hope you'll enjoy it. One more thing. My meaurements for this recipe is very far from exact. I mean everything is totally approximate. You don't have to be exact about the measurements either, because it doesn't hamper with the flavour (yayy!).


For ...um, my measurement was just about enough for two. It's really up to your appetite.

For the dumplings
  • Boneless chicken/pork/beef – 250g, minced
  • Chicken or beef bouillon (broth)
  • Flour – 1.5 cups
  • Spring onions – a few sprigs, finely chopped
  • Garlic – 4-5 cloves, made into a paste
  • Ginger – 1 inch, made into a paste
  • Onion – 1 small, finely chopped
  • Cabbage – finely chopped, same quantity as the onion, if not less (optional)
  • Soy sauce – 1-2 teaspoon
  • Vinegar – 1-2 teaspoon
  • Sunflower oil – 2 tablespoon
  • Salt – to taste
For the sauce
  • Tomato – 1 medium diced to small pieces
  • Garlic – 2-3 cloves, made into paste
  • Cayenne powder – to taste
  • Vinegar – 1-2 teaspoon
  • Soy sauce – 1 tablespoon
  • Sunflower oil – 1-2 teaspoon
  • Tomato ketchup – 1 teaspoon (optional)

For the dumplings
  1. Mix the minced chicken with half of the ginger-garlic paste, a little salt, 1 teaspoonful vinegar, 1 teaspoonful soy sauce and and 1-2 teaspoonful of the bouillon and set aside.
  2. Knead the flower into a soft dough and add a little salt while kneading. Cover it and set aside.
  3. Heat about 1 tablespoon oil in a pan and lightly fry the onions until they turn transparent.
  4. Add the cabbage if you're using them and stir fry until they soften.
  5. Add the rest of the ginger-garlic paste, 1 teaspoonful vinegar and soy sauce respectively, a little salt and stir fry for a minute.
  6. Add the spring onion and take the pan off the hob after a few seconds. The spring onions will be cooked as much desired from the heat of the pan and the rest of the ingredients.
  7. Mix it into the marinated chicken and keep aside. This is your filling.
  8. Make tiny circles from the dough using a rolling pins. The circles should be about 3-4 inches in diameter. You obviously don't have to be exact.
  9. Shaping the momo: Lay each circle on one of your palms at a time and place one tablespoonful of filling in the centre and shape the momo into your desired shape. Keep in mind the shape is not as important as the fact that the filling must be trapped inside the dough with no openings to trap the juices inside. You're supposed to pleat the edge over the filling and seal on the centre or just fold over one half of the edge onto another and pleat as you seal. But really, if you prefer to make it like a ravioli – or even a pillow – by all means, do: it'll taste just the same.
  10. Keep them in a momo steamer or a metallic air-tight container, lightly greased with sunflower oil and cover with a damp cloth to retain moisture.
  11. If you are using a momo steamer, you've probably seen what's done: put on the lid and place it over the water boiling inside the base of the steamer. Some momo steamers have multiple tiers to cook many momos at a time. If, however, you don't have one, you would be needing the air tight container (must be metallic) and arrage the momos inside without piling one over the other. Sprinkle with water lightly, close the lid and place inside a pressure cooker with a little water inside the cooker. 1-2 blows should be enough.
For the sauce
  1. Heat the oil on a pan and put the tomatoes in it. Cover with a lid for a minute and let it melt.
  2. Add a little water and all other ingredients and simmer.
  3. Let the sauce thicken, throw away the tomato skins and store or serve.
Serve the hot, steamed momos with the sauce. The remaining bouillon is often served along with it, and is sometimes garnished with chopped spring onions.

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