Nepalese vegetarian momos

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I recently travelled to Nepal and had a hectic but absolutely amazing time; it was like no country I’d ever been to before, and I’ll never forget my experience and the beautiful people I met along my journey. Whilst volunteering and living in with a host family I had the privilege of learning how to make momos – delicious Nepalese dumplings! I went vegetarian in Nepal, but apparently the meat momos are just as tasty (pork or chicken). When I said I learnt how to make momos with the local family, I forgot to mention we made roughly 400 – for the whole village, but jeez they were definitely worth it! Put aside a couple of hours for this recipe (don’t worry I’m not giving you the 400 quantity, but it does take some time)… Nepalese food is simple in terms of flavour as they use alot of the same spices in their dishes – tumeric and cumin. Momos are the perfect entree before a delicious Dal or curry, or simply just a dish in themselves. Serve them with a spicy tomato chutney or sauce and you’ll be hooked!

Ingredients

Dough

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbl oil
  • salt to taste

Filling

  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cabbage, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup carrot, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cauliflower, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup spinach, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato, finely chopped
  • 2 chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tbl garlic
  • 1/2 tbl ginger
  • 1/2 tbl tumeric
  • 1/2 tbl cumin
  • 1/2 tbl black pepper
  • 1/2 tbl salt

Makes about 25 dumplings

Method

In a large bowl combine flour, oil, salt and water. Mix well and knead until the dough becomes homogeneous in texture, about 8-10 minutes. Cover and let stand for at least 30 minutes.

In a non-stick pan heat some oil and sautee onions until just slightly light brown. Add garlic, ginger, tumeric, cumin and chillies. Add the vegetables and stir-fry until slightly soft. Salt and pepper the vegetable mixture then transfer the filling into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow cooling.

Give the dough a final knead on a floured surface, then break the dough off into small balls (about 3 inches). Take a ball, roll between your palms to form a spherical shape then on the board gently flatten the ball with your palm. Use a rolling pin to roll out each flattened circle into a wrapper. Hold the edges of the semi-flattened dough with one hand and with the other hand begin rolling the edges of the dough out, swirling a bit at a time. Continue until the wrapper attains 3-in diameter circular shape. Repeat with the remaining dough. Cover with a bowl to prevent from drying.

To assemble the momos hold the dough wrapper on one palm, then put one tablespoon of the filling mixture in the centre and with the other hand bring all edges together to the center, making the pleats. Pinch and twist the pleats to ensure the absolute closure of the stuffed dumpling – this holds the key to good tasting, juicy dumplings.

Heat up a steamer, oil the steamer rack well (this is critical because it will prevent dumplings from sticking) then arrange uncooked momos in the steamer. Close the lid, and allow steaming until the dumplings are cooked through, about 8-10 minutes. Take the dumplings off the steamer and immediately serve. ENJOY!

Happy cooking, love Jem x

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