Citizens, momo are a type of dumpling native to Tibet. They are similar to Chinese baozi and jiaozi, Mongolian buuz, Japanese gyoza, Turkic mantu and Korean mandu.
While specific to the Tibet region, the dish was initially popular among the Newar community of the Kathmandu valley and has become a traditional delicacy in Tibet as well as Nepal and India.
It is one of the most popular fast foods in many regions of Nepal populated with people of Tibetan or Himalayan origin. Momos have spread to India in places with a significant Tibetan diaspora, and has become a popular street food.
Traditionally, momo are prepared with ground/minced meat filling, but over the past several years, this has changed and the fillings have become more elaborate. These days, momo are made with virtually any combination of ground meat, vegetables, tofu, paneer cheese, soft chhurpi (local cheese) and vegetable and meat combinations.
Different types of meat fillings are popular in different regions. In Nepal, Tibet, Darjeeling district, Assam, Sikkim and Bhutan, pork, chicken, goat meat and buffalo meat are commonly used. In the Himalayan region of Nepal and India, lamb and yak meat are more common. I have suggested beef, but feel free to be creative here! For example, a vegetarian momo is said to be the favorite meal of His Holiness, The Dalai Lama!
If you want to go truly authentic, use ground yak meat – you can buy it here.
The dough is rolled into small circular flat pieces as a wrapper. The filling is then enclosed in the circular dough cover either in a round pocket or in a half-moon or crescent shape. People prefer meat that has a lot of fat because it produces an intensively-flavored juicy momo. A little oil is sometimes added to the lean ground/minced meat to keep the filling moist and juicy.
My recipe for momo is both delicious and authentic, Citizens – I hope you will give these a try! I’ve also included my version of Sepen, the classic Tibetan chili dipping sauce – if you prefer, try your favorite hot sauce or soy sauce instead. 😀
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