Beef Momos. Does that need an introduction? These steamed dumplings stuffed with meat are great on their own and even better with some chilli sauce!
Momo lovers will have at least one favourite dim sum outlet to hang out and binge. We don't stop from trying momos at every Chinese restaurant we happened to go to... ahem...Chinese? Tibetan? Nepalese? or Japanese?
I am sure by now most of you must have learnt that momos exist in most of the South-Asian countries with varied names and accompanying sauces. What I am sharing today is more of a Tibetan-style beef momos.
Like most of my food adventures, momos too were part of my Bangalore days. I often go to this one small hole-in-the-wall kinda restaurant. After a long tiring day at work, their one plate of momos is all I need for dinner and am a happy soul. They do have a takeaway option, but I always sat at a corner table and ate each momo mindfully.
Momo-making can be a stress buster if you are like me - enjoy wrapping without the need for it to be perfect. If your partner can join in, then this is a superb bonding time. F helped me the first time, and then I learnt I am better off making them alone.
dim sum vs momos
Btw, did you know there is a misunderstanding of dim sum vs momos? Dim sum isn't momos or dumplings. Dim sum is what mezze is in the Middle East. It is a brunch or tea time experience where bite-sized food is served with tea. No wonder my favourite place was named Dim Sum. 😛 If you are interested to read more about this topic, I recommend you read this article.
Garlic infused dough
I used to make the dough with just flour, salt and water until I came across this recipe on The Garum Factory that uses garlic-infused water to make the dough! You will never go back to the plain dough.
- flour: plain white flour aka maida
- ground beef: You may replace with ground chicken or lamb
- garlic chives: scallions
- coriander leaves
- soy sauce
- garam masala
- cumin powder
- black pepper powder
For chilli sauce
- dried red chilli
- white vinegar
How to make it?
- Prepare the dough and let it rest.
- While the dough is resting, prepare the sweet chilli sauce.
- Prepare the filling and let it cool to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, roll out the dough discs and stack them.
- Fill, fold and steam the beef momos in batches.
- Serve immediately with chilli sauce.
Wrapping momos will come by practice. Watch several youtube videos to get a hang of it. But trust me, it will come to you the moment you start. Don't give up if first few failed to impress you. Keep going and you will get the hang. I hope to make my video to share here next time.
What I learned is that trying to replicate what the video or images show restricts your thinking. I tried to follow the folding instructions for the first momo I made and got disappointed that it never looked like how it should... but now, who cares as far as you can make the way your fingers know! Get creative and wrap the momos up!
Tips to make the best momos
- Add cabbage when making veg momos, as it releases moisture while steaming making it juicy when done
- If you are used to washing the minced meat, then ensure it is drained well before you make the filling.
- Make one momo and taste it and then adjust the seasoning if required before wrapping the rest.
- Keep them covered all the time before and after steaming to retain the softness. Steam again to make it warm if serving later.
If you love steamed food, then do try a Malabari dish, Kakka Orotti.
Meat Momos with Sweet Chilli Sauce
For the Dough
- 1 garlic clove crushed and minced
- ½ cup water approx
- 2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
For the Filling
- 1 cup ground beef or lamb or chicken
- 1 medium onion diced finely
- 3 garlic chives or scallions, chopped
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves minced finely
- Fresh coriander leaves
- 5 teaspoons soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- ¼ teaspoon cumin powder
- 2 teaspoons sunflower oil
- salt to taste
- black pepper to taste freshly ground
For the Sweet Chilli Sauce
- ⅓ cup water
- 5 dried red chillies torn into 2 to 3 pieces
- 5 garlic cloves
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- salt to taste
- ½ tablespoon cornflour mixed with ½ tablespoon water
- Oil to grease the steamer
Prepare the dough
- Add the minced garlic to a small bowl along with water and let it steep for 20 to 30 minutes.
- In another bowl, add the flour and make a well in the centre.
- Strain the garlic-infused water through a sieve into the well in the flour. Use your fingers and make a circular motion to incorporate the water into the flour.
- Start to knead the dough until stiff and smooth, approx 5 to 8 minutes. Cover the dough and let rest for 30 minutes.
Prepare the Sweet Chilli Sauce
- Add the dried red chillies to the boiling water. Switch off and cover the pan and let the chillies soak for 10 minutes.
- Transfer the soaked chillies along with the water into a blender and add the sugar, garlic, salt, and vinegar and blend.
- Pour the sauce back into the pan and bring this to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer.
- Meanwhile, mix cornflour with water and stir into the sauce. Keep stirring until the sauce thickens.
- Turn off the heat and let it cool down completely. Serve with steamed or fried momos.
Prepare the filling
- Add all the filling ingredients into a bowl and give a good mix. Check the taste and adjust the flavours.
Shape the momos
- Divide the dough into equal-sized pieces. approx 25.
- Take a dough ball and dust it with flour and flatten it slightly. Use a rolling pin (small), and roll the dough balls into 2-inch rounds, making sure not to put pressure in the middle. Ensure to put pressure on the edges as we want the edges to be thinner than the centre. Roll out enough dough balls your steamer can hold and stack them with flour or spread them on a large plate but ensure to keep them covered at all times.
- Place a tablespoon of filling in the centre of rolled dough rounds and seal the dumplings with your choice of method.
- Pinch to close one end of the momo and start to pleat. You can pleat one side and stick the pleat to the other edge as you go. Or, pleat on both the edges and stick as you go until the end (leaf-like momo)
Steam and serve
- Grease the steamer with oil to prevent the momos from sticking. Ensure to add enough water to the steamer and bring it to a full boil before placing the momos.
- Place enough momos in the steamer without touching each other and steam for 15-20 minutes.
- Serve hot with sweet chilli sauce and tea.
Sweet chilli sauce recipe adapted from Fun Food Frolic.