Nepali Momo is a type of steamed dumpling with a filling of vegetables or meat mixed with ground coriander, ginger, turmeric, cumin, and chili. Momo is one of the favorite dishes of Nepalese People.
History of Momo:
The term Momo is now known in all places of Nepal but yet no one knows, from where it got its name. Exactly nobody knows how and when the dish started in Nepal. But the Newar Community of Nepal is believed to have brought the method of cooking of Momo from Tibet.
In Shanxi, unfilled buns are often called momo in Jin Chinese language, which is simply the character for “steamed bun”. The word momo spread to Nepal, Tibet, and India which now refers to filled dumplings. Momo word is believed to be a colloquial form of the Tibetan word “mog mog”.
The different names of Momo across Asia include Assamese: মম; Bengali: মোমো; Nepali: मम; Nepal Bhasa: ममचा, मम, Tibetan: མོག་མོག་, Wylie: mog mog; simplified Chinese: 馍馍; traditional Chinese: 饃饃; pinyin: mómo.
As Newari people used to travel to Tibet for trades which might be the reason behind the origin of Momo in Nepal. They might have changed the Tibetan ingredients with locally available ingredients such as local vegetables, spices, and meat of water buffalo, chicken and goats.
Others believe that the dish was prepared with Nepali cooking by Tibetans who relocated to live in the mountains of Nepal. Whatever might be its true story, Momo has now become an integral part of the Nepali foods.
Not only Nepal, Momo is a customary delicacy in Tibet, Bhutan, and India also. Momo is also quite popular in the Indian States nearer to the hilly regions of Nepal and Tibet like Sikkim, Darjeeling, Ladakh, Assam, Delhi, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Himachal Pradesh, Shillong, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal.
Where can you eat Nepali Momo?
In Nepal, you can have Momo in every corner of the street where there is a hotel. It is also available in street fast food vendors as well as in five stars restaurants and hotels. You can eat Momo in almost every place in Nepal and many North Indian States, Bhutan, Bangladesh and as well as Tibet.
As Nepalese People are now living in many foreign countries. You can also find Nepalese restaurants in countries such as the US and Australia where you can taste the Nepali Momos easily.
How Momo is served?
In hotels and restaurants, Momos are served on a per plate basis. On each plate of Momo, 10 Momo dumplings are served with Momo Achar. The Momo Achar has tomato as the main ingredient as well as other spices, it is similar to Tomato ketchup but taste differently. However, other ingredients also can be used as the main ingredient of Momo Achar.
You can have cold drinks with hot Momos to enjoy your food more. Hotels and restaurants may serve Momo especially in Momo plate which has a separate space for Momo Achar. Momos will be served with a fork and you can choose a normal spoon or knife along with a fork to eat Momo.
How to eat Nepali Momo?
To eat this tasty food, you need to dip a Momo dumpling into the Achar and have it fully in your mouth. You will feel the juices of fillings with each bite of it inside your mouth and the taste of Achar will enhance its flavor.
Just be careful if it is too hot to eat, you can use the fork to allow the Achar to enter inside the dumpling wrapper and eat it when it’s not too hot to burn your mouth.
What are the types of Nepali Momo?
You can have various types of Momo in Nepal. The variety of the Momo is based on the Cooking method and its ingredients. Here are various types of Momo that you can eat in Nepal:
Based on Cooking Style:
Generally, the variety of Momo is Steamed and Fried. But there are many other modified varieties of Momo. Some of them are listed here:
- Steamed Momo
The Momos are prepared by steaming the dumplings. Steamed Momos can be found in every restaurant and hotel in Nepal. These steamed juicy momos are filled with minced vegetables or meat. And these are prepared by putting in dumpling steamer.
- C-Momo or Chilli Momo (Spicy)
C momo is a spicy version of the regular momo dipped in a hot and spicy sauce. If you love hot and spicy food, then C Momo is the best option. You surely will enjoy eating this hot and spicy Momo if you can consume spicy things.
- Kothey Momo (Fried)
The half fried and half steamed momo which is made in an elongated shape is Kothey Momo. The filling inside the Kothey Momo can be either veg or meat such as mutton, chicken or buff.
- Open Momo
The open momo is different than regular momo. It has an unclosed wrapper at the top which makes it easier to pour distinctive momo Achar into the Momo.
- Fried and Steam fried Momo
The fried and steam fried Momo are the crunchy versions of momos. These Momos are made by deep-frying the momo or frying after steaming the momo. It is a little bit oily Momo but obviously, its taste will completely make you forget about your health-conscious thoughts.
- Green Momo
The Green Momo is made of spinach blended with flour and is also kneaded with the water from the spinach. Therefore, the color of the Momo is also green as its name.
- Buckwheat (Phaphar) Momo
Buckwheat Momo is a momo made of Buckwheat (Phaphar). This Momo is best for those people who are conscious about their health. It is a safe pick as the buckwheat momo contains more protein and nutrients than the other regular momos.
They have a light texture and are very tasty but it should be eaten when it’s warm as they tend to be a bit dry when they get cooled down.
- Jhol Momo
The Momos which are drowned in a bowl full of sauce or jhol, achar or Achar is known as Jhol Momo. Jhol means liquid or soup and the Momos are fully drowned in the jhol of the bowl. The sauce or jhol, achar or Chatni is texturally thin and has a hot, spicy and tangy twist.
- Tandoori Momo
This is a combination of momo and tandoori. The tandoori Momo is rich in texture, and your taste bud will feel the pleasure of eating a tandoori Momo. It has fillings of meat such as Chicken, Mutton or Buff.
Based on Ingredients:
- Veg Momo
Veg Momo has vegetables like Cabbage, spinach, etc as fillings inside the dumpling.
- Paneer Momo
Paneer Momo has Paneer as the fillings inside the dumpling. It is also a Veg Momo but it is costlier than regular Veg Momo. The dough of the momo is stuffed with Paneer and is served with achar.
- Cheese Momo
It is common to have dairy products as fillings inside the Momos. It is similar to Paneer Momo and has cheese instead of Paneer.
- Khuwa momo
A sweet and light-tasting milk product desert Momo is the Khuwa Momo. The filling texture of the Khuwa Momo reminiscent of a softened burfi. It is popular in Kathmandu Valley.
- Mutton Momo
It is a Momo which has goat meat as fillings inside the dumpling.
- Chicken Momo
The Non-veg Momo having fillings of Chicken Meat is Chicken Momo.
- Buff Momo
In buff Momo, the meat is of Buffalo. It is the most popular Momo in Nepal and is cheapest among all other Non-veg Momo.
- Fish Momo
Stuffed with fish meat, the fish Momo has an unusual flavor and is lighter than that of the regular momo. The fish Momo is a must-try for everyone.
- Chocolate Momos
The Chocolate Momo is with gooey chocolate lava filling and tucked between the layers. These dumplings are further topped with chocolate sauce and chocolate shavings. Surely, a must-try Momo for Chocolate and Momo lover.
How to Cook Momo?
Momo can be easily prepared at home. It doesn’t require any special ingredients, all the ingredients available at your kitchen will be enough for cooking Momo. One important thing that is required to prepare Momo is Dumpling Steamer.
Dumpling Steamer generally spelled as momo Pakaaune Bhaadaa in Nepali (म: म: पकाउने भाडा) is mainly used for steaming stuffed dumplings.
The Dumpling Steamer is generally of two or three racks and made of aluminum or stainless steel. More the number of racks, the number of dumplings can be prepared.
Each rack has holes that allow steam to pass through. The bottom base rack holds the steaming water and the top rack has a domed lid, which prevents water from dripping onto the steamed food. Fill the base of the steamer with 3 to 4 inches of water and allow it to boil. You need to place the dumplings in the racks of the steamer to cook Momo with the steam.
Preparing or Cooking Momos becomes much easier and fun when you have a helping hand to help you with cooking in the kitchen. More hands, faster you can prepare several dumplings.
Recipe of Nepali Momo:
The normal cooking time of Momo is 15 minutes but it may require 1 hour for preparation of the fillings and the dough.
Ingredients are mostly similar for all types of Momos. You can choose between Veg or Non-Veg Momo. For Veg Momo fillings can be of finely chopped Cabbage, Carrot, Spinach, green leafy vegetables or dairy products. Whereas for Non-veg Momo filling can be of any minced meat product that you want to eat such as mutton, chicken, buff or pork, etc.
The following recipe will prepare Momo dumplings for 4-6 people which can be around 50 to 60 dumplings. Generally, one plate of momo served at restaurants have 10 Momo dumplings.
Here is the recipe of Momo which will help know the procedure of the preparation of Dough, amount of fillings and other ingredients required to prepare Momos:
Dough for wrappers:
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon oil
- Water as required
- Pinch of salt
Ingredients and Fillings for Momo:
- 2 lbs of Fillings (Approximately 1 kg) (Meat, Veggies or Dairy Products)
- 1 full white onions chopped
- 1 tablespoon ground garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger minced
- 1 group scallions
- Salt as indicated by the taste
- 1 tablespoon of cumin powder
- ¼ tablespoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon curry powder, meat masala or MOMO masala
- Half tablespoon white pepper
- 3 tablespoon cooking oil
- 2 group finely cleaved cilantro
- Green Chili for the Sauce
- 1 tablespoon Sesame seed for the sauce
- 2 lbs of ready tomatoes
Instructions for Cooking Momo:
- Mix all filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Seasoning of the mixture with salt and pepper.
- Cover the mixture for at least an hour in the refrigerator to allow all ingredients to impart their unique flavors which also improves the consistency of the filling.
- Mix the flour, oil, salt, and water in a large bowl to prepare the dough.
- Knead the dough for about 10 minutes till it becomes homogeneous in texture.
- Cover the dough for 15 minutes and Knead well again before making wrappers.
- Prepare 1-inch diameter dough balls and prepare more than a dozen at a time so it can prevent from drying.
- Roll the dough between your palms to prepare spherical shape dough balls.
- Roll out the dough ball into a 3-inch diameter circular wrapper on the board.
- Similarly, prepare more wrappers and cover with a bowl to prevent drying.
- Take wrapper on one palm and put one tablespoon of filling mixture. Cover the fillings inside the wrapper by making it a dumpling for which bring all the edges together with the other hand to the center, while making pleats.
- Pinch and twist the pleats for absolute closure of the stuffed dumpling.
- Prepare the steamer by heating the water and oil the steamer rack well, as the oil will prevent dumplings from sticking.
- Place Momo dumplings with some space from each other in the steamer.
- Close the lid of the steamer and allow about 10-15 minutes for steaming until the dumplings are cooked through.
- Take the dumplings from the steamer after they are cooked and serve immediately.
- Serve the cooked Momos on a plate dressed with Momo achar.
How to cook Nepali Momo? Watch on video:
So with this recipe, you can prepare Nepali style dumplings, i.e. Momo at home yourself also. The Achar for Momo can be prepared by using tomatoes, spices, and salt according to your taste. And you can have a good time with family and friends by inviting them to eat Nepali Momo at your house.