Monday, 20 October 2014

Sharing is caring....let's make tibetan Momo's



As part of my cultural quest around the world, I had now made it a rule that every country I travel to I will do a cooking class. It's not negotiable! Everyone has their own tick boxes when they visit foreign places. Some are history or art buffs, some love the outdoors, some just shop…you all know who you are! Eventhough I am a lover of all of the above, I find that the way that I immerse myself in the country the most is to take to the streets. Sit, watch, listen talk with them, do what they do, eat what they eat.  And we all eat  right?? But sometimes due to cultural or religious beliefs, traditions and geographical location, humans do have different ways of satisfying the body's needs. So what better way to find out the nitty gritty than to cook with a local. Not only can you learn, meet others, and eat the fab fruits of your labour, but  most often it becomes one of the most memorable experiences of your trip!

So on this trip this was my first one! For those that don't know, I am in India. And I know it seems strange, but this class was a crash course in making traditional Tibetan momo’s. Why a Tibetan cooking class in India ?? Well one of my stays here in the the land of rainbow spices was in Mcleodganj which is home to Tibetans in exile, and residence of the Dalai Lama. So that means this  little mountain community is more Tibetan than it is Indian. So let me share what we made.  Tibetan momo’s!!

Momo’s are more or less like dumplings. The most common fillings on offer are mixed veg, chicken or mutton (lamb) and for some reason spinach and cheese. In Nepal or Tibet they also make them with sweet red bean paste or roasted barley ground into a paste. For this class we made spinach and cheese, mixed veg and then the surprise that I had tried hunting around town for but was defeated……wait for it…...chocolate momos!!! Yeeeeehaaaa! Oh it’s on people!! So here are the pics, of our momo's and guess what? These cooking classes I do??….I am going to share with my lil buddies all of the recipes! Yep! Yaaaaay it’s like you were there with me,  and you didn’t even have to pay for the airfare……..

Of course as per usual I am taking recipes and changing them to suit the way I like to eat so naturally I ask our teacher about substituting the awful refined white flour for alternatives, and the soy oil (eeeeewwwwww) so far he confirmed that rice flour will work and I can use any oil! So when I get home and I have a momo making party that is what I shall do. Gluten free momo’s! And I aslo have some crazy ass ideas for fillings and twists which will let my creative juices bubble and burst! In the meantime you guys give it a crack. May I tell you, that I have a huge appreciation for this skill now. Contructing those little pouches of whatever goodness you choose is not easy. Very fiddly.There is a way and reason for each step and different ways of sealing them and making them look pretty that was super crafty. And not in any way simple!


Here's the recipe straight from Sangye’s Kitchen!!

Ingredients for dough

½ kg flour ( I am going to try using a wheat free flour of course!)
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups water

Sift flour and baking powder together in a bowl.
Gradually add water using your hands to squeeze together the forming dough
Turn dough onto you floured bench space and knead for 5 minutes. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside as you make your fillings.

You can choose any kind of filling that you choose, honestly you can use last nights left over mince or mashed potato if you like. Here is an ingredients list for 2 options

Meat filling:

250gms of any meat cooked, chopped or minced
1 small onion finely chopped
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 tsp minced or finely chopped ginger
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
4 tbsp of nut oil (or oil of choice)

Mixed vegetable

¼ cabbage finely chopped
1  carrot finely chopped
1 onion finely chopped
1 tsp crushed grlic
1 tsp finely chopped or minced ginger
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
4 tbsp nut oil (or oil of choice)

Now to make mom’s.....

Fill a large pot with a steamer that has been lightly greased so your momos don’t stick and bring to boil while you make your pouches of supreme goodness.
Knead your dough again and take a third of the dough and roll into a sausage. Cut into pieces around an inch in length.
Take your pieces and round the ends with your fingers so they are a nice circle shape, then flatten to a disc on your floured bench space.
Holding your disc shape with one hand and using a rolling pin with the other (using the palm of your hand to roll) roll just the edges of the disc and continue turning the dough so the centre is thinker that the edges. Then the last roll, flatten the middle.

 Take your piece, lay it flat on the palm of your hands place 1 ½ teaspoons of your filling in the centre slightly length ways from your wrist to fingers
The easiest way to fold them is to cradle the piece in your hand as if starting to fold it in half length ways and pinch one corner completely so the dough is completely sealed and keep pinching around the edge of your momo so it looks like a pastie or half circle.

Place your momo’s in the steamer and steam for 15 minutes and when they are done, momo’s should feel dry, not sticky.  

Serve with any kind of dipping sauce!