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Momo - Reinventing Food

Reinventing Food is series of blogposts where as a chef, I will share a few of the food discoveries and recipes I am collecting throughout my world tour. Each traditional dish will be the playground for creative cooking and ideation.

Travelling in Ladakh, the most northern region of India, I encountered the delicious traditional Tibetan dish called Momo, also known as Dumplings or Dim Sum. Just by hearing its two syllable name, I was able to imagine deliciousness! My first bite confirmed it all. The flavour is a balanced mix of veg and carbs with the sweetness of caramelised carrots, a touch of umami from soya sauce and a light chewiness from it being steamed. I can understand why over time this food has become an inherent part of indian cuisine. Momo was my new every day meal for a few weeks and therefore I took the time to learn its recipe and I challenge you to make it my way.

MOMO (medium cooking level)


For the dough (outer cover):

1 cup of all purpose flour (maida)

½ teaspoon oil

¼ teaspoon salt or as required

2 to 3 tablespoons of water for kneading or as required

For vegetarian stuffing:

1 tablespoon veg oil

3-4 cloves of garlic paste

1 teaspoon ginger paste

1/2 cup finely chopped carrot

1/2 cup finely chopped cabbage

1/4 cup finely chopped capsicum

1/4 cup finely chopped green french beans

1/4 cup finely chopped green onion or onion

½-1 teaspoon soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder

Salt to taste

Cooking tools

Big bowl

Rolling pin

Frying pan

Microplane or small food blender


How to make it

First start with the dough:

  1. Add 1 cup of maida (all purpose flour), 1 teaspoon oil and salt in a large bowl.

  2. Mix all the ingredients well and prepare a soft pliable dough (like paratha dough) by adding water as needed. Cover the dough ( you can use cling film to wrap it) and keep it aside for 20-25 minutes. If longer keep it in the fridge.

Then prepare your stuffing:

  1. Start by chopping all the vegetables finely (carrot, cabbage, capsicum, green onions and green beans) and making the ginger and garlic paste.

  2. Over medium fire, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in your frying pan. First add the ginger and garlic paste and sauté for 30 seconds. Then add your green onion or onions and sauté for a minute.

  3. Add all your chopped veggies and some salt.

  4. Mix well and sauté them for 4-5 minutes. At this point you can add some spiciness to the dish if desired.

  5. Finish by adding 1/2 -1 teaspoon soy sauce and black pepper to your taste. Mix well and sauté for another minute to finish your stuffing and keep it aside.

Make your Momos:

  1. Knead the dough again for a minute and divide it into 2-equal portions. Give each portion a round cylindrical shape like cucumber. Cut each one into 8 equal portions with the help of a knife

  2. Give each small portion a round shape like a ball and flatten it a little into a patty by pressing it in between your palms. Then cover all of them with a wet cloth or a plate to prevent them from drying while keep making your momos.

  3. Place one dough patty on a flat surface and roll it out into a thin disc (approx. 4-5 inch diameter). The center should remain a little thicker compared to sides. If required, sprinkle some dry flour while rolling to avoid dough sticking to the surface or roll (don't add too much).

  4. Place approx. 1 tablespoon filling in the center. Don’t over-stuff it, otherwise it will be difficult to get a proper shape.

  5. Lift one edge and fold against the other to make a half circle. Then carefully, join the two edges

  6. Prepare momos from remaining dough patties in a similar way.

Steaming your Momos:

  1. Grease a steamer plate or any other plate (it should easily fit into the steamer or a deep vessel) with oil to prevent sticking. Arrange Veg Momos on a plate in a way that there is some space around them to expand.

  2. Heat water in your steamer over medium fire.

  3. Place Momos in the steamer and cover it with a lid for about for 6-7 minutes over medium flame or until they look a little translucent and shiny. Remove the lid and check them by touching it. If they don’t feel sticky then it means they are cooked.

MOMO Ravioli Style with Red Pepper Sauce, Capers and Parsley (medium cooking level)


For the dough:

The same ingredients as the Momo traditional dough recipe plus:

Change veg oil to olive oil

For the Vegetarian Stuffing:

The same ingredients as the Momo traditional stuffing recipe plus:

100 gr of Ricotta

Change veg oil to olive oil

For the Red Pepper Sauce:

2 red peppers

1 tomato

½ white onion

Small pinch of chilly flakes

1 teaspoon of butter

Salt to taste

For garnish:

Small handful of capers

Small cube of butter

Small handful of picked parsley leaves

Cooking tools

Pasta maker or/and good rolling pin skills :)

Frying pan

Big bowl

Microplane or small food blender

Fine strainer

How to make it

Make Dough:

  1. Follow the same steps as the Momo traditional dough recipe

  2. Make Vegetarian Stuffing:

  3. First, follow all the same steps as the Momo traditional stuffing recipe.

  4. Them, once the cooked vegetables are at room temperature mix them with the ricotta. Keep the stuffing in the fridge.

Make your Momos Ravioli Style:

  1. Knead the dough again for a minute. Then divide the dough into 4 pieces. Pieces that are not being used cover them in cling film. Each piece of dough should follow the next steps.

  2. Take a piece of dough and with the help of your pasta machine make one long fresh lasagna sheet. And with the help of a good knife, cut the pasta sheet in two lengthwise. Don´t forget to work on a clean surface and to sprinkle flour to avoid the dough to stick.

  3. Then, use a small circular shape (such as a cup or drinking glass) to make discs (with a diameter of approximately 2-3 inches).

  4. On the discs place approx. 1 teaspoon filling in the center. Don’t over-stuff it, otherwise it will be difficult to get a proper shape.

  5. First lift one edge and fold against the other to close your stuffing. Then carefully, join the two edges (see above: the 3 last photos from the traditional Momo recipe for help). Dust the ravioli with flour and keep them in the fridge.

  6. Prepare more raviolis from the remaining dough in a similar way.

Cook your Raviolis:

  1. Boil a big pot of water with a big pinch of salt.

  2. Add your raviolis to the boiling water.

  3. They will be ready when floating. Be careful when straining them from the water.

Make your Red Pepper Sauce:

  1. Start by chopping the tomato (and removing the seeds) and the onions (finely chopped).

  2. Then come the peppers. First remove all their skin. To do this easily, first entirely char roast the peppers over your fire stove or with the help of a blow torch. The peppers have to become totally black like charcoal. Then, on a big bowl of water scratch the skin out. Do this to all your peppers. Then remove the seed and white parts in the center and chop them in julienne.

  3. Over medium heat, add some olive oil in a pan. When hot, add the onion and cook until they are sweated - 3-4 minutes at medium heat.

  4. Then, add the tomato and the peppers and cook for an extra 5-10 minutes. Don't forget to add the chilly flakes and salt.

  5. 5. Finish by blending the sauce with the butter and straining it.

  6. 6. Pour the sauce on top of your cooked raviolis OR cool it down to room temperature and keep it in the fridge until use.

Make your garnish:

  1. Roughly chop capers and toast them on frying pan until slightly caramelised

  2. Then add the butter to scrape all the flavour from the pan.

  3. Finish by adding finely chopped parsley.

  4. Finalize your dish with 1-2 tablespoons of this garnish.

Enjoy your meal!

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