Friday, December 20, 2013

Recipe of the month: Vegetable Momos

I've been meaning to make momos at home for quite a while now but I had put my plans on the back burner. When my parents were here two weeks ago, we happened to go shopping one evening and I got my hands on a $10 bamboo steamer that reignited the momo-making fire in me and subsequently culminated in this blog post

Momo is a type of dumpling native to Nepal but also popular in the bordering regions of Tibet, Bhutan, and Northeast India. My first rendezvous with momos was probably 4-5 years ago while I was pursuing a Masters degree at University in Singapore. I had a Nepali friend during that time who introduced me to these shiny little dumplings. We used to frequent Nepali restaurants like Shish Mahal and Kantipur where momos would invariably feature in our order. Apart from momos, another dish that I would order without fail was the Nepalese nine-bean soup called Kwati which I love! Momos on the other hand, I like but don't love. But having said that, I've always found them intriguing because they looked kinda cool (with those pleats and all), and not like anything from my native cuisine. Momos are quite versatile - they are usually filled with meat but vegetarian versions are also popular. There are different folding techniques as well such as the half moon or dumpling style. They can also be fried or steamed which of course varies according to personal preference. For the first time in my life I declare that I prefer something steamed over deep-fried!

Since this is the very first time I've attempted making momos, I know they aren't perfect but I'm satisfied with how they turned out. In hindsight, I should have rolled out the dough a little thinner because after steaming, the momos should appear translucent. However, the flavour was good and I did indeed enjoy the results of my debut momo venture. I think now that I've done it once, the next time can only get better. I may even get adventurous and try the more challenging shapes!

So here is the recipe. Please don't be intimidated by these dumplings. They may look slightly complicated but in reality, they are not very difficult to make. It just takes some time and patience and I can assure you that you will feel quite pleased with yourself once you are done making them!

Vegetable Momos 

Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Makes: 8 momos
Recipe category: Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, India/Appetizer or Main Course
Recipe level: Intermediate
Recipe source: Adapted from here


For the outer covering:
3/4 cup all purpose flour
~1/2 cup water (you will need less)
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp oil

For the stuffing:
1 cup cabbage, finely shredded
1/2 cup carrot, finely chopped 
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped (refer notes)
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1/2-inch piece ginger, minced
1 small fresh red or green chilli, finely chopped Optional
1/2 cup spring onion, chopped
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper 
2 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp vinegar
Salt to taste
1 tbsp vegetable oil

1. Mix flour, salt and oil  in a bowl and add water little by little to make a smooth and pliable dough (similar to poori dough). Keep aside covered until you prepare the filling.

2. Heat a pan with oil, add minced garlic, ginger and chopped chilli and fry on high heat for a minute. Add in the chopped red onions and fry till translucent. Add the chopped carrot and fry for 1 min. Next add the chopped cabbage and fry for another min on high flame. 

3. Add salt, sugar, black pepper, soy sauce, vinegar and mix well. Switch off the flame and add in the chopped spring onion greens and mix. Keep aside to cool.

4. Divide the dough into 8 balls and roll out each ball into a uniform circle. The circle should not be too thick or even too thin that you could see through it. You can use a sharp rimmed lid or dessert ring to get a perfect circle (I didn't bother). Add 1-2 tbsp of the filling in the centre. 

6. Fold it to make momo shapes and pinch the top. You can remove some of the extra dough that forms the cone on top. You can refer videos on youtube that offer simple tutorials on folding momos.

7. I recommend lining the bamboo steamer with cabbage leaves or parchment paper with holes here and there. Place the bamboo steamer over a pot of boiling water and steam the momos (spaced properly) for 8-10 min. I steamed them four at a time in two batches. Keep in mind that when they are done, they look shiny & translucent.

8. Serve piping hot with chilli sauce. If it is available where you live, I highly recommend ABC chilli sambal sauce which is one of my favourite commercially available sauces

  • Instead of using red onion in this recipe, you could use the whites of the spring onions. I used red onions because the spring onions that I get here don't typically have much of the white onion bulbs. 
  • You can consider using french beans, radish, bell peppers, mushrooms, bean sprouts and tofu in the filling for this vegetarian version as well.
  • If like me, you are using a bamboo steamer, you can line it with the following: leaves from cabbage and lettuce, corn husks or squares of cheese cloth, parchment paper or aluminium foil. It is also possible to cook directly on small plates that will fit inside the baskets. This is to prevent the momos sticking to the bottom (which happened to me but I was fortunately able to pry them away without them getting ripped). 
  • You can also steam the momos in a rice cooker, pressure cooker (without the weight) or idli steamer. With the pressure cooker and idli steamer, use a preferably perforated lightly greased stand to place the momos on. 
  • You have to eat the momos immediately while they are still hot because they don't taste as good once they go cold. 



  1. They look really yum Megha. I haven;t tried making them at home but recipe is sure tempting me too :-)

  2. They look delicious Megha! I have always wanted to try momos but was intimidated by the recipe.. plus I didn't have a steamer. Should try this one :)

  3. This look so delicious! I’d like to try this recipe, but I don’t have a steamer.


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