A Momo Love Story

Back when I lived in Ahmedabad, we never knew what momos were. Maybe there were places that sold them, but our family wasn’t aware of them. Maybe they weren’t so popular then, six years ago. After I came to Bangalore, too, I didn’t spot many stalls selling momos – at least not as many as there are now. The husband would tell me stories about the gorgeous street-side momos he had on his work trips to Delhi, and I would long to try them. Then, I came across a couple of stalls selling momos in Bangalore, and tried them out, but wasn’t particularly impressed. To me, then, they felt like balls of steamed dough with a simple vegetable stuffing inside – too plain to be eaten on their own, and the sauce way too spicy to eat.

But then, as more and more momo stalls began appearing all over Bangalore, I was tempted to try out more and more of them. Slowly and gradually, I fell in love with momos. They are rather good to eat in the chilly, rainy Bangalore weather, too, so maybe that is what made all the difference. πŸ™‚ Today, we have a few favourite stalls we go to whenever the momo craving strikes us, and we swear by the taste of the momos at these stalls. The hot, hot, hot sauce is now, miraculously, no longer a problem.

Momos, however, were always something store-bought, something I never imagined I could make at home. They were something very foreign – much liked, but foreign. Lately, though, I came across a lot of people (mostly on the foodie Facebook groups that I am part of) making healthy versions of momos – ones with rice flour, wheat flour, sooji and what not. Why eat momos made of maida when I can make healthier ones at home?, I began thinking. How difficult could they be to make at home? I looked up recipes, and they did seem fairly simple. All they asked for were a few ingredients, a lot of patience in shaping the momos, and practice if you want to get perfect at the shaping. I decided to give it a go – with maida for the first trial and then, as I practised more and got more perfect, experimenting with different kinds of dough for the outer shell.

My first experiment at making vegetable momos, yesterday, turned out to be a huge success, if I may say so myself. The momos turned out wonderful in taste, though the outer shell could have been a tad thinner. Not at all bad for a first attempt, though. The next time, more patience, more precision, thinner shells, and healthier alternatives to maida. For now, however, I am thrilled with the results!

PicMonkey Collage momos
These are close-up pics – the veggies were chopped real fine, finer than they look here! The momos, too, were actually much smaller than they look here! πŸ™‚

This recipe was a great guide to me. This was the recipe that I followed largely. Like the author, I kept the filling lightly spiced, so that it would go perfectly with the Schezwan chutney I wanted to serve the momos with. I loved the way this simple filling turned out – I don’t think I will be making any additions or deductions there.

Here is how I made the momos – this beautiful Tibetan snack.

Ingredients (for about 10 large momos):

For the outer shell:

About 150 grams maida

Salt, to taste

For the filling:

A small piece of cabbage, very finely chopped

2 small carrots, peeled and very finely chopped

1 medium-sized onion, very finely chopped

6-8 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

Salt, to taste

2 teaspoons white vinegar

2 teaspoons dark soya sauce

2 teaspoons oil

Method:

Chop all the veggies first and keep them ready. Then, you can prepare the dough for the outer shell, and get the filling ready while the dough rests.

For the outer shell:

  1. Mix the salt and maida in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Adding water little by little, bind the maida into a firm dough that is pliant to the touch.
  3. Let the dough rest, covered, as you get the filling ready.

For the filling:

  1. Heat the oil in a deep-bottomed pan. Add the chopped garlic. Saute for a couple of seconds.
  2. Now, add the chopped veggies. Saute for just about a minute.
  3. Add the salt to taste, soya sauce, and vinegar. Mix well.
  4. Saute for a few seconds more. The veggies shouldn’t be fully cooked – just a little done.
  5. Switch off the gas, and let the filling cool down completely.

Making the momos:

  1. Keep an idli stand greased with oil and ready.
  2. Divide the dough into little balls of equal size.
  3. Take one ball of dough and shape it into a little flat disc on a roti stand – roll out the dough as thin as you can. You can sprinkle a little wheat flour on your roti stand to make the process of rolling out easier. Keep the rest of the dough covered as you do this, to ensure that it doesn’t dry out too much.
  4. Put a little stuffing in the centre of the disc, and then bring the ends together. Close the momo, pleating the ends. Pinch off the excess dough.
  5. Prepare all the balls of dough similarly.
  6. Depending on how big your momos are, place one or two in each compartment of the greased idli stand.
  7. Heat some water in a pressure cooker bottom and place the idli stand in it, ensuring that the water will not touch the momos.
  8. Close the pressure cooker and steam the momos for 5-7 minutes, not more than that. Cooking for more than a few minutes will make the momos dry and tough. Switch off the gas at the end of this time.

Serving:

Serve the momos with spicy Schezwan sauce or chutney. I served them with store-bought Schezwan chutney (I used the Ching’s brand).

Variations:

  • You could skip the vinegar in the filling, but I love the touch of sourness it adds.
  • You could add a little black pepper powder to the filling, too. I skipped that entirely.
  • You could add crushed corn kernels to the filling, too. Just ensure that they don’t become a fine mush – they should be just coarsely crushed.

Do you like momos? Ever tried making them at home? How do you make them? Any suggestions for me?

 

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10 thoughts on “A Momo Love Story

  1. CHCooks

    These look great for the first attempt, TGND πŸ™‚ I love love love momos but I am not sure how often I would be making them at home. They take up a long time to get the right shape.However, I have one more version of momos coming up soon! πŸ™‚

    Amma keeps telling me that momos are the jazzed up version of our Kozhukattais – thats what you get if you use rice flour – I am sure they would taste amazing too! πŸ™‚ I have tried using wheat flour and didnt like the texture much. There is too much gluten in the wheat that could make the momos dense. I would love to read more about your trials!

    Like

    • The Girl Next Door

      @CHCooks

      Yes, momos are indeed a jazzed up version of kozhukattai. Your mom is right. πŸ™‚

      I would love to experiment more with different doughs and fillings for momos, but like you say, they are time-consuming and tough to get right. I will surely be posting more about my trials, as and when I do them.

      Like

  2. dreamzandclouds

    Oh dear, I am a momo-lover too! πŸ™‚ But I prefer the chicken momos any day πŸ˜€ But I do have tasted veg ones with the filling of different veggies, soya chunks, cheese, etc. In our parts of the country, momos are one of the most loved local delicacies πŸ™‚

    And your efforts don’t look like that of a first-timer at all, keep it up! πŸ™‚

    Like

  3. Babushka

    Momos for life. They’re the best and so versatile, though not many people like them as much, especially vegetarians. You can play around with the filling and get as tastefully creative with them because they’re so amazing.
    Clearly I’m more than just a momo fan. πŸ™‚

    Like

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