Momos or Dimsums are popular street food in India. Who doesn’t like these steamed dumplings filled with veggies, paneer, tofu, chicken, pork and whatnot? Having my in-laws live in Dharamshala has made me privy to some of the best-steamed momos one can find. There is a strong influence of Tibetan and Nepali culture there due to a big number of migrant settlers. Hence, you find an amazing variety of Momos, Thukpas and Noodles in the streets of McLeodganj, which is just a stone’s throw away from Dharamshala.
Next to Dharamshala, I have also had some of the best-steamed momos in Bhutan and on the streets of Delhi. Every food connoisseur would have once visited the famous Dolma aunty in Lajpat Nagar or the Tandoori momos at Hunger Strike, Amar Colony. The list is long.
I have tried making them at home several times now and other than the arduous task of shaping them; I find the rest of the process simple.
- Shapes: I try creating multiple shapes but the only one I have perfected till now is the classic modak style shape. So that’s what you will see here today. But my favourite shape is the braid style which I am yet to achieve perfection.
- Stuffing: I have used a vegetable and tofu stuffing for my steamed momos. I equally enjoy paneer and soya chunk stuffing too.
- Dough: All-purpose flour is the most commonly used ingredient for the dough. You could also try wheat flour or a mix of APF and wheat flour like I did. However, if you were trying for the first time, I would recommend trying with APF first since it is highly elastic and easy to handle.
- Cooking Style: There are various types of momos/dim-sums available in the market – steamed, tandoori, fried, seared etc. This recipe details the basic steamed version. I did sear a few in a non – stick pan with a little oil to get a nice crispy base. However, that is optional.
PREPARATION TIME: 30 minutes
COOKING TIME: 18-20 minutes
DIFFICULTY SCALE: Medium
For the steamed momos dough-
- All-purpose flour – ½ cup
- Whole wheat flour – ½ cup
- Oil – 3 tablespoons
- Water – ½ cup
- Salt – to taste
For the stuffing –
- Cabbage – ½ cup, shredded
- Spring onion – 1
- Beans – about 10
- Carrot – 1
- Tofu – ¼ slab
- Garlic pods – 4
- Ginger – 1 small piece
- Green chilli – 1
- Vegetable oil – 1 tablespoon
- Salt – ½ teaspoon
For tomato – garlic dip/chutney–
- Tomatoes – 3, medium
- Red Chillies – 4-5, or more to taste
- Garlic pods – 4
- Sugar – ½ teaspoon
- Soy Sauce – 1 tablespoon
- Vinegar – 1 teaspoon
- Salt – to taste
For the dough –
- Take the all-purpose and wheat flour in a bowl and add some salt and oil to it.
- Crumble the flour with your hands.
- Now add a little water and knead it into a soft and smooth dough.
- Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 20 minutes.
For the Stuffing –
- Grate the cabbage and carrot. I used both purple and green cabbage. You can use any or a mix of both.
- Finely chop beans and spring onion as well.
- Peel few garlic pods and a small piece of ginger. Crush them well along with one green chilli.
8. Take a little oil in a pan and add a little oil in it.
9. Put the ginger-garlic-chilli paste in the pan and let it cook for a minute until the raw fragrance goes away.
10. Now add all the veggies, tofu and add a little salt.
11. Let the veggies cook on low heat for 5-7 minutes. Cover with a lid.
12. Open the lid and cook on medium heat for 2 more minutes until all the moisture is gone.
13. Let this stuffing cool down completely. I kept it under a fan for 5 minutes.
For stuffing and steaming –
- Take a small piece of the well-rested dough and roll it.
- Flatten it with a rolling pin until it is very thin. If you want, you can cut it with a cookie cutter for a perfect round shape but usually don’t do that.
- Take a little water and brush the sides of the flattened dough. This will ensure it sticks well.
- Now place a tablespoon of the cooled down stuffing on it.
18. Pick up one side of the dough and start folding it in little folds in a circular motion until the entire dough comes together. Take the dough on top and pinch it to make a nice little shape.
19. Repeat this step with the entire dough and stuffing.
20. Steam some water in a steamer. Brush the plate with a little oil before placing the momos so that they don’t stick to it.
21. Steam them for 18-20 minutes. Let them cool down for the next 5 minutes.
For the tomato – garlic dip/chutney –
- Take some water in a pan and boil it.
- Now add 3 medium tomatoes and a few dry red chillies and let them cook for the next 5-7 minutes on medium heat. Cover the pan.
24. Once the peel of the tomatoes starts separating, you would know that they are cooked.
25. Drain out the tomatoes and chillies from the water and cool them down for 5 minutes.
26. Remove the peel and add the tomatoes into a grinder jar along with the cooked chillies.
27. Also add in a few garlic pods, a little sugar, salt, vinegar, and some soy sauce.
28. Grind well to make a quick dip.
Serve the steamed momos with this tomato garlic dip and some mayonnaise. You could also sear the momos in a non-stick pan and a little oil. Place the momos on the hot pan for 2-3 minutes and enjoy these steamed momos with a crispy base. Sprinkle some fresh spring onion greens on top.