If you ask any Nepali what their favorite food is and most, if not all, will definitely say Momo.
Momo (nepali dumpling) has become the perfect fast food item for all age groups within Nepal, and it would not be wrong to call it “the king of fast food.”
It is unanimously the unofficial national dish of Nepal. Momo, often known as Nepali dumplings come in various shapes, sizes and with all kinds of filings.
With simple recipes and delicious taste, momo (nepali dumpling) is the go-to meal for any period of the day. Not to mention, momo is more than a dish in Nepal, it is a way of life.
So, forget plain meals because momo is going to become your favorite staple food from now on.
The word Momo is said to be originated in ancient Tibet but the history (origin) of momo in Nepal is uncertain and clearly rustic.
No one knows precisely how and when the momo originated in Nepal and why it was named momo.
Since momo is popular among the Newar community of Kathmandu, they believe that Newari trades brought momo techniques from the Tibet to Nepal.
The seasonings of momo with available ingredients such as buffalo meat gives the dish a Nepali name.
Whatever its origins, the momo (nepali dumpling) has become a traditional delicacy not only in Nepal, but also in Tiber, Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling, and Ladakh.
How is it Made?
Like any other type of dumpling, momo is filled with meat or vegetable wrapped in a dough. It is usually served with dipping sauce.
Particularly, in Nepal, the traditional momo (nepali dumpling) is prepared with ground meat filling, but over the past several years, this has changed and become more elaborate.
Nowadays, momo is prepared with any combination of ground meat, vegetables, tofu, paneer cheese, pork, and the list goes on.
Traditionally Nepalese prefer the meat that has a lot of fat, because it produces intensively flavored juicy momo.
In Nepal, it is said that the best momo is always juicy, so sometimes a little oil is added to the leanest types ground meat.
The vegetables used to prepare the Nepali dumpling is cut into very small pieces, and flavored with fresh herbs and spices.
These vegetables are then put into the meat and smashed all together to get the flavor. The meat prepared to stuff inside the dumpling is called Kema.
Kema, the filling mixture is often not so watery, as it could be difficult to seal the dough wrappers as the filling mixture falls apart.
The dough is rolled very thin, and the filling- often Kema, is placed in the center, and then the momo is shaped and sealed into small packets.
Momo shaping is an art that takes patience and practice to keep the filling inside its wrapper perfectly.
For vegetarians, potatoes and cabbages are a popular combination to stuff inside the Nepali dumplings.
The dipping also known as “Achar” or “Chutney” is made with a blend of spices and flavors such as mint, oregano, and mustard to gives momo a special taste.
Basically, a steamer is used to make typical momo in Nepal. It is a thin pasty shells which are much easier to buy than make yourself. And the other important ingredient is the typical momo spice.
- All-purpose flour 1 kg
- Water- for dough 4 cups
- Grounded meat 1 kg or alternative Vegetables or Cheese
- Spring Onion- finely chopped
- Onion- 1 tablespoon finely chopped
- Ginger ½ cup
- Garlic Paste- 1 tablespoon
- Oil- 2 tablespoon
- Garam Masala – ½ teaspoon
- Cumic Powder – ½ teaspoon
- Cayenne Pepper – ½ teaspoon
These are the typical ingredients used to make proper Nepali dumplings. So, if you want to add some extra flavor, you can according to the numbers of momo you want to make.
Momo Making: A Family Affair
Usually, family, friend and relatives often gather together to spend a joyful time preparing momo together.
Momo often makes family close as they all sit together on the momo making process and chit-chat among each other.
Each family takes pride in their own version of savory stuffing and the way they fold the dough wrappers.
It’s not necessary to shape the dumplings prefer and fill in perfectly when hanging with the family members.
Everything is about having fun and eating delicious momo without concerning about the shape and size.
Varieties To Try
Momo is more than a food, it reflects tradition, lifestyle and culture especially of Nepal and Tibet.
There are many families running momo restaurants that have been around for years serving the same dish with family recopies.
You should definitely try momo, not only because it’s a tradition but with the fact that momo works for everything including lunch, snack, and dinner.
Usually, steamed momos are found in every other restaurants and café’s of Nepal.
These gorgeous dumplings are stuffed with minced veggies or meat which are scrumptiously juicy.
These small dumpling are then kept in the steamer and fully cooked. These momos are always healthier than the other types.
Fried Momos are another famous type of momos where the dumpling is deep fried. These crunchy version of momos are fried after steaming the momos.
Although, a bit oily, the taste will totally make you forget about your health-conscious thoughts.
Jhol momos basically consists of liquid or having a liquid-like consistency. The dumplings in Jhol momos are drowned in a bowl full of sauce called jhol achar.
The sauce or jhol achar is thin in texture and have a bit of a hot, spicy, and tangy twist.
Kothey momos are best option which has the best of both steam dumplings and pan fried which has a crusty skin.
The filling can be either veg or various kinds of meat i.e. chicken, buff and pork, which are mostly available in any restaurants of Nepal.
Chilly momos are the dumplings dipped in a hot and spicy sauce. It is most commonly known as C. Momo.
If you love hot and spicy food, C. momo you can definitely try this once, we bet you won’t regret it.
Paneer/ Khuwa/ Cheese Momo
If you are a vegetarian, don’t worry, there are lots of other options of momos waiting for you.
The dough of the momos are stuffed with either Paneer, Khuwa or Cheese and is served with achar.
Where To Find The Best Momos in Nepal?
The best place to find momo in Nepal is where ever they are freshly cooking. More specifically, you can visit New Road, if you want to have cheap yet delicious momo.
During the evening hours the premises around New Road seems very crowded. Most people of the valley come for shopping and have momo over stalls.
Though the seats seems limited, the crowd of people never fail to have momo in the stalls present in New Road area.
You don’t have to go for restaurants or small hotel for momo as they are likely to be expensive.
Just roam around Kathmandu Valley and you will find momo anywhere between 150 to 300 rupees a plate quite easily.
And yet to admit, these momos are far more delicious than one served in the expensive restaurants and malls.