Vegetarian Tibetan Momos

In our house, we love making momos. Momo (རྨོག་རྨོག།) is a Tibetan word that means steamed dumplings. These little dumplings are easy to make, cheap, and packable – all of which makes them a great choice for picnics or parties.

In order to make your own momos, you’ve got to get yourself a steamer. Steamers come in a variety of sizes and materials and can be purchased at your local market or Asian grocery story. I prefer metal steamers over bamboo because metal steamers don’t become a domicile for burrowing bugs.

When buying a steamer, you want to make sure that each steamer tray fits together without gapping, the lid fits snugly, and the base of each tray is flat. Any gaps will result in a loss of steam, which means the whole unit will take longer to cook the momos. At our house, we have a three tiered ten inch diameter aluminium steamer.

Before using your steamer, make sure it is clean. Grease the insides of the steamer with a light coating of oil and you’re good to go. The oil will keep the momos from sticking and tearing apart.

For the dough you’ll need:

5 1/2 cups of flour

2 – 3 cups of water

salt (optional)

Mix the ingredients until you have a dough, then knead that dough on a floured surface. If the dough is sticky, knead in some flour until the dough is smooth. Cover and let it rest while you make the filling.

IMG_3376

Finished dough that’s resting.

Here’s what you’ll need for a vegetable filling:

1/2 pound of paneer. Paneer is Indian farmer cheese. It looks like this:

1280px-Panir_Paneer_Indian_cheese_fresh

If you are in the US, you can replace paneer with Halloumi, Quesos Fresco, Quesos Blanco, Quesos Panela, or tofu.

For the vegetables you’ll need:

1 cup of cooked and drained grated zucchini

1 cup of grated carrot

1 cup of shredded and diced cabbage

1/2 cup of grated daikon radishes. Daikons look like this:

Daikon.Japan

1/4- 1/2 cup of grated onion and garlic paste to taste

1 nest or round of cooked and drained rice or bean noodle. They look like this:

Dongfen

Salt and pepper to taste. You can substitute white pepper or Sichuan numbing pepper powder for black pepper.

1/4 cup of oil

Mix these ingredients and set aside.

IMG_3378.JPG

Meanwhile, lightly flour your work surface and roll out 1″ thick dough snakes. Cut 1″ pieces:

Roll your 1″ pieces into disks that look like the picture below. Don’t roll them out too thin or the resulting momos will break on the bottom when you take them out of the steamer. You now have momo wrappers:IMG_3381

Now comes the fun part -momo stuffing time. Put a generous spoonful of filling in the middle of your dough round:

IMG_3384

Next, you’ve got to seal up your momos. There are several shapes you can make:

Momo shapes use me.jpg

Here’s how to fold a flower momo:

Here is how to fold a rat tail momo:

Here’s how to fold a crescent momo:

When you’re finished folding, pop the momos in the steamer until the steamer trays are full. Meanwhile, cover the steamer pot and set it to boil. When the water boils, steam the momos for 15 minutes. They are done when the momos have darkened in color and don’t feel wet or sticky to touch.

IMG_3400

Turn off the heat and carefully lift the first momo out of the tray with a spatula, being careful not to separate the base of the momo from the top. The rest of the momos should come out easily. Momos can be served with a mixture of soy sauce and sesame oil or chilli paste. Enjoy!

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