I am in a serious relationship with momo. I often talk about this savory steamed dumpling to anyone who shows interest. My momo enthusiasm has rubbed off on many omnivore friends – most of them at least try this curried meat wrapped inside flour dough.
For many vegetarians, pescatarian, or folks with dietary restrictions, my momo enthusiasm is somewhat anticlimactic. One of my friends eats only halal meat, which means either getting halal certified meat or serving fish momo or vegetarian momo.
For the friend, I decided to make tuna momo.
Why tuna for momo?
Tuna is a rare fish because it’s warm-blooded like many mammals and have a higher concentration of myoglobin, which is used for higher oxygen intake. Myoglobin, a ubiquitous protein, gives meat its characteristic red color – the higher the amount, the deeper the red color. The amount of myoglobin depends on species of animal, their body parts as well as their age. For example, beef has more red color, i.e, has more myoglobin, than other mammals such as pork or veal (young beef). In tuna, myoglobin concentration is comparable to chicken (light muscles) to beef (dark muscles). I am using tuna steaks because I believe it will be closest fish with the meaty qualities.
For tuna filling;
Dumpling wrappers pack of 1 (40 pieces)
For momo achaar;
Here’s how I made the tuna momo.
First thing, make sure you get red tuna steaks — not canned tuna. Canned tuna is white tuna meat processed with salt, oil, and water.
Cut tuna steaks into pieces.
Grind the tuna steaks in a food processor. Since tuna meat is a tender, it needs only a few pulses. If you don’t have a food processor, you can chop/mash it with hand as well.
Chop onion, garlic, and ginger. I chopped them in the same food processor container. No need to clean since everything is going to get mixed.
Add onion/garlic/ginger puree to ground tuna.
Season it with garam masala, oil, salt, and water.
Mix to get the dumpling filling. The tuna momo filling looks like chicken or turkey momo fillings.
How to properly use the commercial dumpling wrapper?
Put a teaspoon of tuna filling in the middle of the wrapper. Brush (or coat) the borders of the wrapper with water. Seal the tuna inside the dough by pinching the dough. I am not going to get into the art of dumpling making here. The goal is to make a sealed filling wrapped in the flour dough.
Easiest Momo Sauce Ever!
For momo sauce, I whipped up a very easy (read lazy) version of classic momo achaar (sauce) made with roasted tomatoes and sesame from ingredients found in the any US grocery store.
For this you need a (double) roasted tomato salsa and tahini (sesame paste).
Optionally, you can put cilantro as well. Keeping the easy-theme, I used frozen cilantro cubes.
Mix tahini and cilantro to salsa. Spice up with ground cumin seeds. To get constancy right, add water and supplement salt to taste.
I wouldn’t say this is the best momo sauce ever, but considering the effort needed, it is the tastiest bang for your time.
The flavor of the tuna momo was slight fishy – not too fishy since tuna is a mild tasting fish. The texture was just right for the dumpling. I am happy to report that this tuna momo satisfied my pescatarian friend’s craving for momo.
I was surprised that I had even some leftover for the next day. Like any momos, fried next day momos are so preciously delicious.
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Posted in: Cooking | Tags: Asian Food, Chinese Food, dumplings, Fish momo, Momo, Nepali Food, Newari Food, Tuna momo recipe, vegetarian momo
Generally momos, curried dumplings, are steamed and consumed during cold winter evenings in Nepal. Hot steam used for cooking momos keeps the rooms warm between the batches (pakh) of momos, which also warms the body of the eater, in turn giving warmth to their hungry souls.
Momos are steamed in multiple batches every 15 minutes or so at the home in small steamer consisting of 2 or 3 levels/floors. Everyone ends up with only a few momos couple of times in an hour. So momo party usually takes a shape of a slow snacking all evening long usually resulting in bloated stomachs caused by the shared gluttony.
How many calories are in momo?
Nutritional analysis of momo meal to find calories per serving is an approximation at the best because there is no standard recipe for momo and there is no data on numbers of momo people consume per serving.
Nutritional Analysis on published Momo Recipes
The initial sets of nutritional values were calculated the four meat based momo recipes selected from published momo recipes. The first recipe chosen was the turkey momo recipe published on the DesiGrub by Anita (my favorite American momo recipe). The next recipe was khasi (lamb) momo recipe from the book Asian Dumplings by Andrea Nguyen. The final two recipes were lamb momo and chicken momo from the most comprehensive Nepali cookbook, The Taste of Nepal by Jyoti Pathak. The size of momo was based on what was suggested by the author.
All these values are calculated based on the USDA estimates. The quality of ingredients may change these values slightly.
Nutritional Analysis on the Same Momo Recipe – Different Meat
All those four momo recipes are inherently different. Many ingredients change from one momo recipe to another. What would happen if we just change the meat? Thus, keeping everything else same, we calculated nutritional value for the DesiGrub momo recipe by changing the type of meat. For this nutritional analysis, the size of a momo was about 28-32 grams each, which we found was about an average size for momo based on our quick measurements.
We found an average number of standard (generic) size momo has 59 calories. We can safely assume each momo is ~ 60 calories depending on the recipe and exact size.
Average Number of Momo Consumed per Person
After getting average calories per momo, we still need to know how many momo an average person eats to calculated the total calories of momo dinner. Momos sold as a fast/street food is served usually in a plate of 10 momos. However, during “steamout” with friends and family, who is really counting? We performed a quick survey on the Facebook (Join DesiGrub @ Facebook!) and got 37 responses up to the point of writing.
The average numbers of momo per person per meal is 18±13. However we found these averages changed depending on national origin and sex of the respondent. The highest average was for a male of Nepali origin, who typically consumes 27±10 momos per meal. The lowest number of momo eating group was non-Nepali female with just 10±3 momos per meal.
Average Number of Calories Consumed per Person During Momo Dinner
Here are average calories we are consuming per momo dinner. This estimate still underestimates the total caloric value of momo meal because we don’t account for the sauce (achaar) consumed with momos.
Hopefully, we have not deterred you for eating momos. In future blog post, we will talk about lesson learned on making low calorie dumplings.
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Posted in: Cooking | Tags: Beef Momo Calories, Buffalo Momo Calories, Calories in Buffalo Momo, Calories in Chicken Momo, Calories in Lamb Momo, Calories in Momo, Calories in one momo, Calories in Turkey Momo, Chicken Momo Calories, dumplings, How many calories in momo, Indian food, Kathmandu Food, Lamb Momo Calories, Meat Momo Calories, Momo, Momo Calorie, Momo Calories, Nepal Food Calories, Nepal Momo Calories, Nepali Food, Nepali Food Calories, Nepali Momo Calories, Newari Food, Tibetan food, Tibetan Momo Calories, Turkey Momo Calories
Momo: the sound, the ambience and the memory of its smell could bring water to the mouth. In Kathmandu valley, this steamed dish used to be commonly cooked by the Newar community. Momo is primarily made with the ground buffalo meat wrapped in thin dough about 3 inches in diameter from all purpose flour called maida.
Water buffalo meat could be the primary reason that momos were limited to the Newar and handful of other community in the past. Due to the religious taboos, the buffalo meat was prohibited amongst other castes. Many Nepalese believe momo originated from Tibet, but similar dishes are found throughout the Central Asia. In recent years, the popularity of momo has risen very high – you probably won’t find anyone in Kathmandu who doesn’t like momo or at least have heard about it. Now, you can easily find momos with turkey, chicken, goat, beef or mixed vegetables. The prevalence of vegetarian Momo is the proof of the momo mania.
Momo is normally eaten with a sauce made out of tomato, cilantro and sesame seed and/or combination of one or many types of nuts such as cashews, peanuts, walnuts. Adding nuts to the sauce not only provides a good source of needed fat for your body but also gives a unique taste that makes a “plate” licking dish. Although momo comes in many different shapes/sizes and with varieties of meat, the best and the authentic Kathmandu Momo would be the one made with the ground buffalo meat.
No one could dispute momos is the mostly eaten street food in the Kathmandu as well as a party dish for Nepal expat community living abroad. In the United States, I make Momo with the turkey meat. This is not by my choice but what I can commonly find in local grocery stores. Many people make momo with wrapper that is freshly made using all purpose flour. For me, that is an extra chore. Thus, for my own convenience, I use wonton wrapper, easy to wrap and readily available in most Asian (e.g., Korean) grocery stores. Oh yeah- wrapping the momo requires a skill. If your momo is wrapped too tightly and close to the meat, it might not be as good as the one that has a small space between the meat and the wonton.
Ground Turkey (approximately 1.5 lb)
How to prepare Momo?
Add all the ingredients together (beside wonton wrapper) mentioned above in a bowl that is large enough to mix them all together.
Best if mixed with bare (cleaned) hand for about 10/15 minutes.
Upon mixing, you can put one tsp of mixed meat on to each wonton wrapper and wrap it leaving a space between meat and flour. Spray some vegetable oil on the steamer or rub some hardened butter or ghee. Place wrapped momo on steamer.
Steam for 10/12 minutes. The good indicator is when the dough just turns from dull matte texture to slightly shiny.
Serve with sauce of your choice.
Momo is the dish that can be most enjoyed making and eating with group – rather than just by yourself.
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Posted in: Cooking | Tags: Authentic Momo recipe, Buffalo Momo, Easy Momo Recipe, Healthy Momo Recipe, Kathmandu Momo, Momo, Momo Recipe, Newari Food, Step by Step Momo Recipe, Turkey dumplings, Turkey momo, Turkey Momo Recipe, Water buffalo meat, Water buffalo momo
A textbook definition of momo, for those who don’t know, is a steamed dish with spiced minced meat wrapped inside a pocket made of a thin sheet of flour dough.
Momo, in its basic construction, is similar to the following dishes. Most of these dishes originate in Central Asia.
The difference is that the meat filling inside the momo is spiced with curry or related spices from the Indian subcontinent such as cumin, turmeric, coriander seeds etc.
Technically, momo is a potsticker with curried meat. For me, momo is a lot of fond memories; my mother making momos for 17 consecutive nights on our request, savoring cheap “especial” Mo: Mo in a local pasal against my parents wish, hitchhiking 100 miles to Philadelphia to buy my first steamer, Friday night weekly momo dinner at my cousin’s house in Virginia, loud momo parties at friends, last minute mad dash to accommodate a vegetarian momo eater or just a quite weekends with a special someone and lot of momos.
Although I have lot of special memories associated with momo, I hate making them. At first, I believed that I despised the repeated task of pinching dough and filling meat. I still hated it even when I got creative with each pinching of the dough and shape of individual momo.
I finally realized that more than disliking the monotony of making momo, I love the idea that someone made that “momo” just for me. To me, momo carries the warm feeling of someone taking care of me – maybe my ma, bhauju, fufu, bahini, sathi or just a complete stranger. Each packet of dough filled with the curried meat is just made for me, someone took care of my needs and pampered me with my favorite dish.
For you many other Nepali people, momo would probably symbolize something else, it may mean comradery of working together in a group, taking care of people by feeding, sharing a plate with someone you just met, learning to cook as a child, finding innovative ways to steam momo in a college dorm, casual weekend gluttony, a bout of rebellion by eating meat against the religion, not giving into the peer pressure by staying vegetarian, or getting warmth in a winter night with the family. Whatever the reason maybe, lets celebrate talking, making, steaming, sharing, and eating momo this first week of February.
Posted in: Food Culture | Tags: American Momo, dumplings, Eating Momo, Kathmandu Momo, Mo-mo, Momo, momo masala, Momo Nepal, Momocha, Nepal momo, Nepalese Momo, Nepali Food, Nepali Momo, Newri food, Tibetan food, Why I like Momo
Momo is my favorite food. For those who don’t know about momo, it’s a very similar to Chinese potstickers/dumplings or Japanese gyōza. To be honest, I was quite conflicted either to call my dish, momo or gyōza or dumplings, before writing this post. Other words are probably understood more widely but momo was what I was set to make, and how I know it from my heart. So be it, it’s “momo”. Oh well it’s not that I am calling a burger as “masu ko dalla”.
Often, I get asked by my vegetarian Nepali friends (Sau’bh, A’ya, A’u, S’e, Dha’na) how to make a good vegetarian momo. The easiest answer is to use any meatless sausage from your local grocery or homemade seitan instead of meat. However this time, I wanted to make a healthy and less processed vegetarian filling from scratch.
Many converted vegetarians don’t like momo much because they use watery vegetables that results in soggy overcooked momo. It’s complete blasphemy to art of momo making with complete disregard to the fact that momos are the texture food with meaty texture. You need to get the right texture not just flavor for your momos.
This is my journey on how to make a partially successful veggie momos. Partial success, because I’m still not satisfied with the final vegetarian momo. It’s definitely not as good as my favorite classic meat (masu) momo.
I used defrosted frozen spinach because it is has somewhat neutral flavor, is convenient, and has healthy overtones.
This is the most important step of making vegetarian momo — giving it texture. I added texture by adding lentil flour (urad dal) and use egg to bind the concoction. You can use other lentil flour such as chickpea flour or besan, now conveniently available in your local Wholefoods. I added imported momo masala for spicing my momos. If you don’t have momo masala, add any garam masala or make one. Please remember that all garam masala (or curry powders) are not created equal. Invest in a good one since it will last for many meals to come.
Here I’m improving my momo recipe by adding flavorful cilantros.
For more flavors, chopped onions, tomatoes and ghee were added. Everything could be added earlier but this shows how I was improvising (or was nervous about) my momo.
I used Nasoya wonton wrappers from a generic grocery store to wrap my momos. My momo looked awful, but I was really tired and hungry. I just wanted to get done (also I can’t wrap momos well). For comparison, see some of the finest momo in this momo facebook album.
Steam it for about 10 minutes around when momo wrappers are cooked showing its shiny exterior.
Serve with classic momo sauce made with roasted tomatoes and fresh cilantro. As you can see from image of one open momo that the texture of even spinach momo was meaty like momo – not watery. Even though , the texture was fine, the momo was lacking something else.
I made a quite a few of these momo – so luckily I had the leftovers for dinner the next day. One of the classic ways to serve leftover momo is to deep fry or pan fry them. I decided on going a healthy route and baking my momos. Lightly coat with oil – maybe those Pam oil spray will come handy here. Bake 20 minutes in 375 °F oven. This still remains an attempt because I was not completely satisfied with it. Trust me the photo looks tastier.
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Posted in: Cooking | Tags: baked momo, dumplings, Green momo, Momo, momo facebook album, momo fillings, momo masala, momo wonton wrappers, Newari Food, Spinach Momo, Vegetarian, vegetarian momo, vegetarian nepali