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Family Recipe: How to Wrap and Cook Nepalese-Style Momos/Dumplings

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My family and I have become addicted to these little delights, and we eat momos almost every month.

Nepalese-style momos/dumplings served with tomato chutney/sauce.

Nepalese-style momos/dumplings served with tomato chutney/sauce.

The mouth-watering smell and the smoke coming out from the freshly steamed momos/dumplings in the Momo Parlour was very popular in the suburb where I grew up.

I wasn’t aware of the popularity of these dumplings until I first went to pick up my brother from his after-school program, and the Momo Parlour was just opposite from his program. The shop lady would sell momos, including freshly made tomato chutney/sauce wrapped in banana leaves. It soon became my favourite.

Since then, I have become addicted to these little delights. My family and I eat them almost every month. My little son enjoys messily wrapping the momos, and I love watching him do it.

Momos in Nepal

Momo is a very popular food in Nepal and Tibet. Nepali-style momos taste quite different: lightly spicy, very juicy and quite soft. According to Wikipedia, the idea of making these wonderful appetizers was bought to Nepal by Newari traders from Tibet during 1930s. Since then, it has become part of the family meal in almost all of the Nepali homes.

Making momo is a family chore here. All the family members are involved in preparing and cooking it. Involving the kids and the invited guests in wrapping the dumplings is common, which makes preparing this dish a fun activity to do.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

25 min

20 min

45 min

serves 5 people 10 dumplings each

Instructions for Making Your Own Momo Wrappers

(Skip this step if you would prefer to use wonton wrappers.)

  1. Mix the water and the flour and knead into a soft dough (the dough shouldn't be sticky).
  2. Cover it and let it rest for half an hour.
  3. Divide the dough into 50 small balls of 3–4 cm.
  4. Sprinkle some flour over the little dough balls (to avoid the balls sticking to the rolling pin while rolling and, also, to make the rolling of balls easy) .
  5. Finally, roll each pieces in a round shape of about 3–4 inches in diameters (see the pictures).

Ingredients for Momo Filling

  • 50 round-shaped wonton wrappers, (or 2 cups of all purpose flour and 1/3 cup of water to make your own dough)
  • 250 gm chicken/lamb, minced
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 6 garlic cloves minced
  • 2–5 cm ginger minced
  • 1 teaspoon of roasted cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of roasted coriander seeds
  • 1/2 cup fresh green shallot thinly chopped
  • 1/2 cup of mushrooms finely chopped
  • 1 medium tomato finely chopped
  • 2 green chlli finely chopped or minced (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric (optional: very common in nepali dish though)
  • 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil/melted butter
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Instructions for Preparing Momo Filler

  1. Make the paste of roasted cumin and coriander seeds, garlic, ginger and chili.
  2. Add all other ingredients listed for filling, except turmeric and oil/melted butter, in a bowl. Add the above paste to the to the mixture.
  3. Now, add the turmeric at the top of the mixture and add the hot oil/butter to the mix (Adding hot oil/butter to the turmeric lets the bitterness of the turmeric subside—see in the picture).
  4. Mix all well and leave the mixture in the freeze for about half an hour.

How to Wrap Dumplings/Momo

(See video to learn how to wrap the dumplings in three different ways).

  1. Moisten the inside edge of the wrapper by brushing some water.
  2. Fill the wonton wrap with a teaspoon full of mixture and wrap by bringing all the edges together. You need some practice. However, don’t panic if wrappings don’t look perfect, because they will still taste delicious.

How to Cook Momos

  1. Spray some oil to the dumpling steamer and add the dumplings in the steamer. Keep each dumplings close, but they shouldn’t be touching each other, otherwise it will be difficult to separate them after they are cooked.
  2. Let the water come to boil before adding the steamer filled with dumplings to the heat so as to avoid the sticking of the dumplings to the steamer and to each other.
  3. Steam for about 20 minutes and serve it with tomato chutney.
Dumpling ready to be steamed.

Dumpling ready to be steamed.

Ingredients for Tomato Chutney/Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil or any oil you prefer
  • 2 tablespoon of roasted sesame seeds
  • 5 medium tomatoes divided into 4 pieces each (choose sour-tasting tomatoes)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt or as desired\
  • 2 hot green chili (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Timur/Szechwan pepper (optional: spice commonly used in Nepali food, found in Asian store; looks like black pepper)
  • 2–3 cloves of garlic
  • 2–4 cm of ginger.
  • 3/4 cup of chopped fresh coriander
Here is all the ingredients required to cook tomato chutney/sauce: tomatoes, oil, sesame seeds, garlic, ginger, coriander, chili, Timur/Szechwan pepper  and salt.

Here is all the ingredients required to cook tomato chutney/sauce: tomatoes, oil, sesame seeds, garlic, ginger, coriander, chili, Timur/Szechwan pepper and salt.

Instructions for Preparing Tomato Chutney

  1. Heat oil in the pan. Add ginger, garlic and salt, and fry until brown (see the picture to find out how they may look when roasted. Now, add the tomatoes, cover the pan and let it cook until tomatoes are just soft.
  2. Add all the remaining ingredients, including above mix, in the mixture and make a thin paste. The momo paste should be thin but not runny. If the chutney is too thick you can add some hot water to make it a bit thin.

Thank you for reading. Involve your family and friends in making momos and enjoy!

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