Saturday, 19 May 2012

They go down faster than you can say, "Fold, pinch, crimp, repeat"!

Veg Momos with Tomato Chutney

The whole family loved these when we had them for the first time in a most unlikely place – in a shopping mall in Pune! We first mistook them for the classic Marathi sweet dumplings called Modak, which is a specialty of the Marathi folk from Pune! Even the name ‘Momo’ we thought was some cutie pie version of Modak! Since then, we have had momos in many places, even in Nepal. We also discovered that momos, a favourite food in Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet, were very close first cousins of the Chinese steamed buns...

I have been so intrigued by the way in which the momos are crimped, that after my first, rather “clumsy in presentation but great in taste effort”, I decided to nail it today!

So, like all of us do these days when we need to learn, know, find out, research anything ranging from weather to wealth creation advice, addresses to antecedents of anyone we want to ‘Google’,  rates of things to recipes, I succumbed to the easy way and looked it up on the Internet. Lo! Behold! Youtube had it all nicely lined up with so many videos of how to crimp different types of momos!  Well, a few misshapen momos later which were willingly walloped by eager family members as sacrificial offerings, I was able to make these beauties!

What made the experience most exciting was my discovery yesterday that the commercially available Chinese five spice powder contains a spice that I was most intrigued about- Timur (Nepalese for Szechwan peppercorn) a spice made so mysterious by Atul Sikand of Sikandalous Cusine, a FB group that I am a part of.

Lovely taste! And another two things crossed out of my list of things to make and taste…

For the wrapper

1 cup self raising flour

½ cup plain flour

1 tbsp oil

Water to knead

Salt to taste

Knead the ingredients into a smooth and stiff dough and keep covered for half an hour.

For the filling

1 tbsp oil

1 small onion

½ tsp garlic paste

½ tsp ginger paste

1 small carrot, finely chopped

7-8 green beans, finely chopped

2-3 button mushrooms, finely chopped

1½ cup finely chopped cabbage

1 green (spring) onion finely sliced

A large pinch Chinese five spice powder (includes timur!)

A pinch of black pepper

A large pinch chili powder

1 tbsp light soy sauce

1 tsp white vinegar

Salt to taste

In a pan, heat oil and add onions and sauté. After half a minute, add the garlic and ginger pastes and cook a little. Then add all the finely chopped vegetables. Cook for a few minutes on high heat, working the mixture all the time to keep it dry. Add all the spices, sauces, vinegar and salt. Adjust the taste.  Cool the filling.

Divide the dough into equal portions and roll into small thin discs. Take care to keep the edges thinner than the centre. Place a spoonful of the filling in the centre of each disc and bring the sides together in the centre holding them to make a half circle. Pinch a small piece of the dough on the side closest to you and crimp it into the other side. Continue this action of pinching which will give you the pleat and the crimping which will join the two sides until you reach the end. Make sure that both sides are firmly crimped together. Place the ready momos in an oiled bamboo steamer or flat colander inside a large pot of boiling water, just able the boiling water. Steam for 12-15 minutes until the momos are cooked to your liking. Remove on a platter and serve with the tomato chutney or any oriental dipping sauce.

For the Chutney

1 tbsp oil

½ onion finely chopped

1 tsp garlic and ginger paste

1 tsp five spice powder (star anise, cloves, cinnamon, timur or Szechwan pepper, fennel)

½ tsp cumin powder

1 tsp red chili powder

2 tbsp toasted and powdered sesame seeds

1 tbsp light soy sauce

1 cup canned diced tomatoes

1 tsp gur (jaggery) or brown sugar

Salt to taste 

In a sauce pan, heat oil and add the onions followed by the garlic and ginger pastes. In a minute, add all the spices and then immediately add the powdered sesame seeds. Add the sauce and stir a little. Now add the tomatoes and gur or brown sugar and let the mixture cook for 10-12 minutes, until reduced. The mixture will look glossy and let out the oil. Add salt to taste and cool.

1 comment:

  1. You forgot to add the Lamb mince :-)
    On a serious note look fantastic, the only time I've ventured to make and eat veg momo's I added the closest non veg cousin : soya granules and they came out eatable. The chutney looks nice and different, this I gotta try...............Jasii


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