Sunday, July 29, 2007

Momo - Calcutta Version

This was supposed to be my entry for WTSIM Dumpling! But, even though I made my momos on schedule, I just did not get the time to transfer the pics from my laptop to my home pc in time. Anyway, I had never attempted cooking dumplings before, because I am relatively new to cooking, lazy and avoid taking on anything that involves hard labour. However, I am getting more courageous in expanding my horizons and the WTSIM events, provide me an opportunity to try cooking food that I normally wouldnt. So, even though my work doesn't allow me posting the posts on time, I am glad, I actually make an attempt!

Anyway, I racked my brains for Indian Dumplings and even though my family does have a nifty dumpling tradition (dal ka dulha anyone?), given the fact that I don't like them, I wanted to attempt something more adventurous. So, I tried to find a dumpling equivalent and the closest I could get was with the Nepali Momo. The tastiest Momos can be found at Hamro Momo, off Lee Road, though I am sure all people from Calcutta have a favourite Momo place they swear by. The Calcutta version consists of minced meat (pork or chicken) flavoured with shallots, coriander, ginger and garlic and seased with salt and pepper, enclosed in a flour packet and either steamed or fried. I decided to stick with the steamed ones as I feel the flavours are preserved. I would have loved to make pork Momos, but I don't trust the quality of pork, so had to make do with Chicken.
Since my first try at making momos, I have made them twice and tweaked my recipe and am posting my tweaked recipe instead of the recipe I used to make these momos. Sadly, I did not take any pictures the other two times because both times, I was too hungry by the time I had finished and couldn't resist stuffing them into my face!
The first change I made was to roll the wrapper dough thinner. The trick is in rolling it so thin that the dumpling doesn't taste all flour but doesn't tear while steaming or frying. It isn't difficult to achieve and after one or two attempts, it comes easily.
The second change I made was that I did away with the garlic in the stuffing and also marinated the minced chicken overnight. The difference was that my second and third lot of Momos were wonderfully succulent and flavorful.
Anyway, this is the recipe:

For the stuffing:
Minced Chicken - 250 gms
Minced Shallots - 4 (divide into 2 portions, 2/3 and 1/3)
Coriander - a bunch - chopped superfine (divide into 2 portionsdivide into 2 portions, 2/3 and 1/3)
Onion Shoots - chopped fine (divide into 2 portions, 2/3 and 1/3)
Ginger - 1 inch - chopped superfine
Salt - To taste

Flour (Maida) - 2-3 cups
Oil - About 2 tbsps
Salt - a pinch or two

Dipping Sauce:
Red Chillies


Mix the minced chicken, 2/3rd portions of the shallots, coriander and onion shoots, ginger and salt. Mix well. Refrigerate for a day. Mix the other 1/3rd portion of shallots, coriander and onion shoots. If you want a pepper kick, you may add a smattering of black pepper, though I did away with it in my final recipe.

For the Dipping sauce, just combine all ingredients and process it in a food processor until smooth. I kept on tweaking and adding ingredients until the taste was hot, tangy, sour but with a faint sweetness to mute the hotness and the tartness of the vinegar.

To make the dough, combine all ingredients and knead with water until well-binded. The dough should have approximately the consistency of puri/ luchi (bread) dough but slightly wetter.

Once the dough is done, prepare your steamer. Grease the steamer container where you will place the Momos for steaming VERY generously or else the dough will stick to it while steaming and will disintegrate when you try to take it out.

To roll the dough you need LOTS of dry flour or else it sticks everywhere. Anyway, take a tiny portion, the size of a largeish marble and roll it into a round. Try and keep the edges thinner than the center, though this is easier said than done. Once the dough is rolled out, place a very heaped teaspoon of the stuffing and form pouches. This is not hard at all. You could keep it in a conch shape as well, but I like these pouch shapes easier to make. Place on the greased steamer container. Another point to note is that while placing the Momos for steaming, they should be placed with adequate space between each other, because they tend to expand while cooking. Steam for 25-40 minutes. Let it cool a bit, sprinkle some chopped onion shoots, serve with the dipping sauce.

Just a word of caution, this will make about 16-25 Momos depending on the size you make them.

If you are lazy and do not want to make the dipping sauce from scratch, just blend together Sriracha sauce with a little garlic and vinegar.

This is a somewhat painstaking process, but the Momos are so tasty and hearty, that it is worth the effort.



At 2:42 PM, Anonymous Varsha Cuisine said...

Momo's are like my favorite junk food in the entire universe. Especially the ones one gets at (gasp) Dilli Haat, which YES I know cannot holde ye candle to the MoMo's one gets in some unheard of Ma & Pa basement in Calcutta, and is a total overdone tourist trap, but still SHUT UP. Anyway.


At 8:07 PM, Blogger The Cloudcutter said...

Yummm! Momos... that's all we ever ate in Darjeeling and Sikkim. Bring that steamer along with you when you come here ;)

At 6:48 PM, Blogger ... said...

one word - wow!

u've opened up the world of momos for me!


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