Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What to eat Wednesdays - Momos

As long as I've known Paul he's had a steel momo cooker sitting on top of the fridge. He bought it and a Nepalese cookbook when he lived in Nepal and carried them both home with visions of cooking his favourite lunchtime meal - momos. 

As I said, the entire time I've been with Paul, the momo cooker has sat untouched on top of our fridge. Not knowing what it was, I once suggested we give it to a charity shop. Paul was horrified by the suggestion and promised he'd make me momos in it one day.

After four years together, that day came on Monday.

Paul spent a massive three hours preparing a meal of Chicken and coriander soup, Momos, Dipping sauce and Chai Tea. It wouldn't have taken so long if he hadn't had a major hiccup along the way, so don't be entirely put off this recipe. And if you don't have a momo cooker, any steamer will do - although you'll need to cook the momos in batches because this recipe makes a lot (only half the momos are shown in the picture above).

Chicken and coriander soup ingredients
  • 4 litres of water
  • 1 chicken carcass
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2c coriander
Put the water, chicken carcass and salt in a large pot or stock pot, bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and leave simmering for up to three hours. (Add more water if it drops below the level of the chicken carcass.)
When ready to serve, pour soup through a sieve into bowls and add a few leaves of coriander to each.
Raiding my coriander supply for the meal.
Momos are spicy little meat or vegetable steamed dumplings. 

Momo wrapper ingredients
  • 4c (500g) flour
  • 1 1/2c (375ml) water
Momo filling ingredients
  • 2c (500g) minced meat, preferably lamb or chicken 
  • 1c onions, finely chopped
  • 1T garlic, crushed to a paste
  • 1T ginger, crushed to a paste
  • 1T cumin powder
  • 1/2c fresh coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1t chilli powder, or less
  • 1t turmeric powder
  • 1t fenugreek (optional)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2T oil, ghee or butter
Put flour in a big bowl and add water slowly, bit by bit. Knead well so that it becomes a pliable dough. Cover and set aside while making momo filling.

In a bowl put minced meat, onion, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, chilli, turmeric, fenugreek (if using), salt and oil. Mix everything together by hand for 5 minutes.

Make a small dough ball and roll on a lightly floured surface into a thin flat round, like a chapati about 10cm (4 inches) diametre. Place a spoon of prepared meat mixture in the centre of this. (If you roll out all the rounds at once, don't stack them on top of each other as they'll stick together and you'll have to start over. Paul learned that the hard way.)

Pull edges up over the filling, pleating to close top over the filling. Pinch and twist gathered pleats to secure filling inside. Repeat until all the dough and filling has been used.

Put water in bottom pot of steamer and bring to the boil.

Oil each tray of momo steamer, place Momos in each tray of the steamer, ensuring the Momos are not touching each other.

Stack the steamer trays on top of the bottom pot, cover the top tray with the lid and cook the Momos by steaming for 10-15 minutes. You can choose to fry the bottoms of the Momos in a little oil as well, but this is best done the next day to freshen up your leftovers.

Serve hot with Momo dipping sauce.

Momo dipping sauce ingredients
  • 2T oil
  • 1t ginger, ground to a paste
  • 1t garlic, ground to a paste
  • 1/2t cumin powder
  • 400g chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4t turmeric powder
  • Chilli powder, to taste
  • Pinch salt
  • 2c coriander leaves, finely chopped
Heat oil in pan. Fry ginger paste, garlic paste and cumin powder for a few minutes, being careful that it doesn't burn.
Add chopped tomatoes, turmeric, and chilli powder to pan and stir well. Cook for ten minutes, stirring continuously.

Add salt and enough water to make a good sauce consistency, and then add coriander leaves to give Momo sauce its distinctive flavour.

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