Kickstarting the new year with the first Garam Masala Tuesdays post of 2014 and I promise I will TRY to be more regular with it!
I have done a vegetarian version of momos before (and all the people who think meat versions are the only way to go, really need to give the vegetarian version I posted earlier a try). Today I thought I will share a chicken version.
As mentioned in that post, yes I am aware that momos or dumplings or dimsums- whatever you may call them- their origins are not Indian, but they are very much a part of Indian cuisine if you ask for my opinion. And whatever position you take on the origins of this dish, there is no denying that momos have always been popular as a cheap snack food in much of North and Eastern India and very much loved by all.
Momos (that’s what I grew up calling them and that’s what I will stick to in this post but you can replace it with the word dumpling/wonton/dim sum if you like) have always been one of my favorite foods. When I was younger, I would look forward to the times when mom on the rare occasion served them at parties. She did not do it often since doing it from scratch is quite laborious, but when she did my stomach highly appreciated it.
Shopping in Sarojini Nagar, a flea market in Delhi, meant momos for lunch along with the really spicy garlic-chilli chutney. In fact, I would look forward to the shopping as much as the food we would feast on later. Nainital trip with my B school friends was the first time I tried vegetarian momos, mainly because everyone was full and the only person who was ready to share a plate of momos with me was a vegetarian. I did not like them. At all. And wrote off vegetarian dumplings from all future eating adventures. The vegetarian ones, the recipe for which I have shared previously changed all that and today, I like them as much as the chicken ones I am sharing in this post.
Its strange that even though I love them so much, its only now that I get to post about them. The reason is simple. The first year of marriage I made momos for V and me. After laboring the better part of the day and thinking it would be a surprise for V, I realized that he was not a fan of them. He liked the ones I made (he has always been very appreciative of my cooking) and loved the chutney I served them with but he said he never ever liked them that much, always giving them a pass when he was in India. As a result I put momos as a treat I could only enjoy in India, sans V. But then now I have realized that over the three years of marriage V’s tastes and preferences have changed and I have successfully converted him to like mushrooms, desserts and so another go at momos was possible. New Years party was the perfect excuse to try them out and thankfully V has warmed up to these too, or so he says.
Because most momos are steamed, they are also the healthy option for those who want to steer clear of oil, grease or fried foods. They are also probably one of those rare items that I prefer steamed than fried. I am not at all a fan of the fried version. For me they are a no-no. They are perfectly good steamed, so why spoil it with deep frying or frying or anything with oil. And please don’t think I am a health freak and that’s why I am saying it. Hey, I love fried food- donuts, pakodas, samosas, jalebis– all are fried and all deeply loved by me. But momos- they have to be steamed for me. No other way counts.
To make things simpler, for the covering you can use ready made dumpling pastries available in asian stores. But if you would like to do it from scratch, I have posted a recipe for that as well.
Also, this youtube video is helpful if you are struggling with shaping momos like I was:
- 250 gms flour
- salt, to taste
- 100 ml water/milk, or as required for kneading into a smooth dough
- 450 gms ground chicken, squeezed dry
- 2 inch piece ginger, finely chopped (or you could also use the juice of a 1 inch piece ginger- my mom prefers that since you don't get the mouth feel and any big chopped ginger piece wont tear the momo covering)
- 2-3 green chillies, or as desired
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- a generous drizzle of sesame oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- a few sprigs of spring onions, finely choppped
- few sprigs of cilantro/coriander, finely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 mushrooms, finely chopped (optional)
- few drops fish oil
- 100 gm garlic - peeled
- 25 gm dried whole red chillies - cut up and soaked in vinegar
- ⅓ cup oil
- 2-3 tsp sambal oelek (optional)
- Salt to taste
- Mix the salt in the flour, and add in water/milk and knead until you get a smooth ball of dough. Knead the dough till the dough is flexible. Let it rest covered for 30 minutes while you prepare the filling.
- In a bowl, mix all the ingredients listed under filling really well.
- Roll out small thin circles from the kneaded dough, about 4-5 inches. You can roll a big piece of dough and using a cutter, cut out similar sized circles for consistency. Make the edges more thin as the middle. I only learnt the trick half way through the whole momo making process and realized that made a prettier and less center-doughy momo. If using a pasta machine (which is what I use these days- I roll it out to number 6)
- Add a heaping tablespoon of filling (it will depend on how big you rolled out your circles) on the center of each rolled circle and close it giving proper folds. Give any shape you desire but seal it properly so that the stuffing does not come out. You can check out the video link I have posted above for better instructions on how to shape the momos and different ways to shape them.
- Heat a steamer with water. I used my pressure cooker without the pressure knob on, and used greased idli steaming plates to steam the momos, but if you have a steamer then please use that. Steam for about 10 minutes and serve hot with the chilli garlic chutney (recipe below).
- Grind all the ingredients together to a smooth paste.