Mandu, vareniki, pierogi, jiaozi, siu mai, tamales, pasties… if you’ve got a national cuisine, you’ve got a stuffed dumpling. Rashmi Bhattachan, the enthusiastic proprietor of Curry Lane, has taken up the project of popularizing the Nepali take on the dish: momo, which she sells at the Mill City Farmers Market every Saturday during the market’s season.
Bhattachan “grew up eating momos. It’s a very popular in Nepal as a street food and restaurant item. I’m sure that 80 percent of the people who dine out in Nepal order momos first.”
The momo’s popularity in Nepal also means that there are infinite variations on the recipe. Bhattachan’s recipe is the final result of many comparisons with friends and family; as she discovered more and more variations on the dish, she incorporated them into her own version.
“I think the unique part of momos is the chutney that they’re served with. We serve it with a tomato-based chutney. You can do tomato and cilantro, tomato and mint, anything like that would be good.”
Though the recipe below is specifically for meat-filled momos, Bhattachan also serves a popular vegetarian version, which includes potatoes, cabbage, onions, and peas.
Serves 4 to 5
1 lb ground turkey meat
1 small cabbage, shredded
1 c onion, finely chopped
1 c green onion, finely chopped
2 tsp garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp red chili powder
2 tsp salt
1 c vegetable or corn oil
1 package dumpling wrappers*
- Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix the ingredients well and refrigerate for an hour so that the flavor of the spices are infused in the filling.
- Fill a small bowl or cup with warm water. Take a wrapper on one hand. Dip a finger in the water and tap around the edges of the wrapper so that it will stick together well. Take one teaspoon of the filling mixture and place it in the middle of the wrapper. Then with the other hand, fold the edges of the wrapper in the form of pleats to eventually form the shape of a potsticker.
- Fill the bottom portion of the steamer with water. Bring to a boil. Spray oil on the top rack of the steamer to prevent sticking. Place the wrapped momos in the steamer. Close the lid and steam for around 15 minutes for meat momos and 10 minutes for veggie momos. Once the momos are cooked, they will look shiny and smooth.
- Take the momos off the steamer and serve immediately with chutney or any kind of sauce.
*Bhattachan advises home cooks to use these rather than making scratch dumpling wrappers; they’re quicker and easier.