I came to know about momos late in life but now when I visit Kolkatta, I must go to a momo house. Momos are a Nepalese dumpling similar to the Chinese dim sum but made with Nepalese/Indian ingredients and a touch of spice. They can be steamed or pan-fried and stuffed with a large variety of fillings and enjoyed with tomato chutney.
For the dough:
• 100 g plain flour plus extra
for rolling out
• 4 ½-5 ½ tbsp cold water
For the filling:
• 2 ½ tbsp vegetable oil
• 550 chestnut mushrooms, cleaned and finely chopped
• 1 small-medium red onion, finely chopped
• 1 rounded tsp fresh black pepper or to taste
• 6 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 1 ½ tsp cornflour, mixed into a slurry with 50 ml water
• 25 ml dark soy sauce
• 12 g finely chopped ginger
• 3 tsp white or red wine vinegar
• Small fistful of fresh chopped coriander
• 2 small spring onions, chopped
• 4 tbsp finely chopped green pepper
Make the filling first. Heat the oil in a small medium sized non-stick saucepan. Add the onion and some salt and fry until soft and colouring at the edges. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 40-50 seconds or until the garlic is cooked through.
Add the mushrooms and soya sauce and cook until the mushrooms release water and then it dries up. Add the vinegar, black pepper and cornflour slurry and cook for three to four minutes or until there is no more moisture in the pan and the cornflour is cooked. Cool and add the spring onion, pepper and coriander. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Take out the dough and knead well again. Roll out the dough into three equal long sausages and cut each into six equal pieces. Make little round balls of each and cover them with a damp kitchen roll. Taking one at a time roll into 2 ½-3” diameter circles using a little extra flour.
To make the momos, I place the wrapper in my left hand and spoon in 1½ teaspoon of the filling (around 15 g) in the middle.
Then making sure the filling stays away from the edge, with my right hand I seal the tops together, making little pleated folds along the way and then make sure the edges are properly sealed. You basically need to enclose the filling in the dough without any tears; you can do it any way which feels easy.
Oil the surface of your steamer or some greaseproof paper. Arrange the momos on the oiled surface as you make them leaving some space between them as they expand a little. Cover and steam on a rolling boil for 11-13 minutes.
Serve hot with a spicy tomato chutney or some simple soya sauce in which you have sliced some green chillies and added some finely chopped ginger.