usually make their way into our kitchen at least once a
month. Below are momo making details as I have experienced over
the years. * Warning * Do not try this alone. Momo making
definitely works best when there is a group effort, especially for
the inexperienced, with all that grinding, kneading, rolling, and
packing. Therefore Friends, as Thubten suggests, `throw a
momo making party and raise some Tibetan awareness.
I'll try to be detailed as I describe meat, vegetable and
potato momos. We don't use any measuring cups, so please use your
best judgement on the portions. Also, apologies in advance about
any confusion in the language or descriptions I have written.
White flour is usually preferred when making the momo
wrappers. Simply kneed flour and water. Go light on the water, you
can always add more. I would suggest starting with at least three
cups of flour with approximately a quarter cup water, it is far
better to add more water than to have to add more dough (unless you
must). Your finished dough should be slightly sticky (only
slightly!) and smooth consistency without lumps as if you were
preparing a pizza. When making about 200 momos we use a little
less than a pound of flour --200 momos feeds about twenty people.
Some people like to add a bit of yeast or baking soda to the
flourwater mixture, and this will give the wrappers a `doughy'
taste. Most of our Tibetan friends prefer less dough and more meat
:) I'll describe later, as best as I can, how to make the
You can use either ground beef or pork, or mix beef and
pork. About 3 pounds (plus) will make 200 momos. Chop lots of
onions or leeks, garlic, and a little cilantro (cilantro being a
common herb in Nepal and India). Sometimes we'll add well ground
fresh tomatoes. Salt, pepper -and sometimes a smidgen of ground
cumin. Rely more on fresh spices than old powders. Mix your meat,
and then you'll be ready. Don't cook the meat separately, it will
cook inside the wrappers.
Saute some onion, garlic mixed with a smidgen of your
curry mixture. This will form your veggie spice base. Cook until
mixture is a mush then take it off the heat. Cut the following
veggies into very small shredded pieces: green cabbage, carrots,
broccoli (maybe just the flowers), cilantro, and whatever else you
like, just be sure to chop everything finely. Next steep the
veggies a minute or two in boiling water. You don't want the
vegetables to cook thoroughly. Drain, and mix with your spice
base. The veggies are now ready for packing.
This is very similar to the Indian samosa --and it makes
one great momo!! Cook potatoes, leaving them firm and not mushy.
Saute the same veggie base as above, but this time add chopped
tomatoes and lots more fresh cumin, salt, chopped chilis, and black
pepper. You want the tomatoes to completely cook down with your
onion/spice base, and after keep on a low heat. Cut and add the
potatoes to your spice base, and saute for a few minutes until your
potatoes are a semi chunky semi mushy mixture -you may need a few
drops of water. Potatoes will then be ready to wrap.
Now this is going to be the tricky part. The key to
making the momos is that the wrappers are completely closed, no
open spaces in the wrappers at all because you want the momo to get
juicy. If there are openings in the wrappers your meat will dry
out and you won't get to taste all that delicious juice :) You
will need to have plenty of room to roll your wrappers and plenty
of flour on hand to powder down your work area, hands, and rolling
Roll out a rectangular-like shaped strip of dough,
pretending you are playing with clay and want to make a snake.
Always try to make the dough smooth and without folds (the
smoothness of your dough will largely depend on how you have
originally mixed the dough). From this you will break off small
rounds about 3 inches all around, maybe a small bit bigger. Roll
these in your hand so that they too are smooth and without folds.
Now gently flatten each one for the rolling of the wrapper. The
following two directions, rolling and wrapping, will take some
practice --but you'll get there. Be patient.
To roll out each small ball into a flattened pie you will
need a small diameter rolling pin. We usually use a small narrow
glass jam or spice jar. Powder the rolling bin thoroughly with
flour. You'll need to repowder often, but be careful not to overdo
this as too much flour will ruin your wrapper. The key to a
successfully cooked momo (one that does not fall apart) will be the
way you roll out this small pie. You want the middle to be a bit
thicker than the edges so that what you are packing doesn't seep
through. Don't simply roll over the dough with the pin. Instead,
grasp the semi-flattened dough in the middle with your thumb and
index finger of one hand and with the other hand begin to roll out
the _edges_ of the dough. Almost simultaneously you will be
slightly swirling the dough with your thumb and index finger so to
give you an even roll around the outer edges. So it's like a roll,
swirl, roll, swirl, roll, swirl until your wrapper is done. As I
said, the middle should be thicker -not by a lot, but visibly so.
The finished flattened wrapper will be approximately 3 inches in
diameter ( 7.5 mm).
There are a variety of ways to wrap momos but here I will
describe only one. This finished momo should look circular with
folds like a pin-wheel. The size of your wrapper will determine
the amount of meatpotatoveggie. Usually one half or one full
teaspoon is enough. Hold wrapper and packing mixture in one hand
and with the other hand you are going to make pleats. Use your
thumb as the stable point and use your first two fingers to weave
the folds together, and around to a closing circle. Make the
pleats small, and you'll need to (again) slightly swirl your momo
to accommodate your pleating hand. If all fails, and the pleats
don't look just right you can squeeze what folds you do have
together to give you a sealed momo.
These are the most juiciest!! There are generic steamers
you can buy in most any asian market (usually aluminum
unfortunately) that are tiered pans fitting into one another over
an empty bottom and under a lid. They are inexpensive and a large
multi unit steamer is essential. Oil the pans well, and after
every momo batch. Earlier I warned about using too much flour, and
now I am warning against using too little oil. After all your hard
work, you don't want any momo sticking to the pan! After bringing
your water to a boil (maybe adding a few drops of oil to the water)
drop the pans and cover. It usually takes about 12 -15 minutes on
a high boil to cook, possibly a couple minutes longer. One sure
way to tell is by touching the momos --they should not leave a
sticky residue on your fingers.
Fry in well oiled pan for about the same time on low heat
in a covered pan. If your pan is too hot you will cook only one
side of the momo: the bottom! Fry your momos on low-med heat. You
may want to slightly stir these momos so they don't get stuck. You
may even want to add a drop of water at the very last minute, but
be careful that your pan doesn't steam up all over you. Replace
the lid quickly over top if you do add water.
Finally, enjoy yourself some good momos! Mix with a hot
sauce, or some soy sauce with horseradish or fresh chilis.
Don't hesitate to mail me your questions
Peace, Marguerite Tingkhye