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What Is a Momo?

A. Leverkuhn
A. Leverkuhn

A momo is a type of dumpling popular in parts of Asia. This food item is originally from the Nepali and Tibetan areas around the Himalayas. Other nearby Asian food cultures, like Mongolian and Chinese cuisines, have similar forms of dumplings.

The wrapping for momos is a basic flour and water combination. This combination is rolled out thin and formed into various folded shapes. In some cases, cooks might add baking soda or other elements to change the texture of the dough.

Chutney might accompany a momo.
Chutney might accompany a momo.

Momo can be filled with many different fillings. Some are made with vegetarian items, like potatoes or other vegetables. Others are made with meats, like lamb or chicken. According to some who understand the local cuisines that include the momo, yak meat was traditionally used. This very specific kind of momo represents a cultural dish that may not get much attention outside of its original food culture.

Minced meat is a popular filling for momo.
Minced meat is a popular filling for momo.

Other fillings for momo include cabbage and cheese. These elements, and others like minced meat and vegetables, can be combined with flavoring ingredients like garlic and ginger. Some green herbs may also be added. Many recipes also involve onions or similar flavorful additions.

While many cooks make the dough for momo dumplings themselves, some may use pre-made items to wrap these foods. Some common choices include the thin spring roll wrappers that are commonly sold in Asian cuisine stores. Cooks will typically wrap the filling ingredients in these thin wrappers and steam them. In addition to steaming, some cooks may also deep-fry or pan fry these items.

Some sauces are often served along with momo dumplings. Traditional sauces are sometimes called chutney. These can include elements like the above herbs and spices, along with vegetable oils, hot peppers, and additional spice elements. Some complex spices, called curries, may be used as well.

After putting the filling ingredients into the wraps, those who are making these foods have to seal the wrappers so that the item doesn’t come apart during cooking. Some of these foods are shaped into half moon or crescent shapes, while some of them are round. Typically, a little moisture can provide a seal between the two edges of the dough that will keep the momo closed during cooking. These dumplings are often served on a plate in decorative patterns, with sides like soups or sauces in bowls.

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    • Chutney might accompany a momo.
      By: Meliha Gojak
      Chutney might accompany a momo.
    • Minced meat is a popular filling for momo.
      By: focha
      Minced meat is a popular filling for momo.