Hailing from the land of Bhotiyas, momos have taken over other parts of the world, particularly Nepal. While Dal Bhat may be the Official National Food of the country, the streets of Nepal tell a different story. The omnipresence of momos in Nepal has unofficially crowned it the “Unofficial National Food of Nepal.”
Now, the question arises: how did this Tibetan delicacy find its way into the hearts of the Nepalese people? The oldest Nepalese merchants, known as Newars, used to trade with Tibet and brought the recipe of this delight with them. Nepalese people then added meat and other herbs to spice it up and created bite-sized pieces. Since then, momos have become an integral part of Nepalese cuisine.
Momos, like many other dumplings, come in numerous variations around the globe. Each country has successfully formulated its own adaptation of dumplings. Let’s take a look at some of the dumpling variations found around the world:
- Mongolian Buuz: These dumplings are larger than your regular steam dumplings and are wrapped in thicker dough. They also have an opening on the top to allow steam to escape.
- Vietnamese Banh Bot Loc: These are small, transparent-looking steamed dumplings made with tapioca flour and water dough, typically filled with shrimp and pork.
- Japanese Gyoza: These dumplings are filled with veggies and meat, first pan-fried until the bottom is crispy, and then steamed to achieve a mix of textures – a crisp bottom and tender top.
- Korean Mandu: These dumplings contain a mixture of meat, vegetables, and other ingredients and can be cooked by boiling, deep-frying, pan-frying, steaming, or baking. Mandu has many versions throughout the country.
- Turkish Manti: Manti is made by mixing spiced meat, usually lamb or beef, and wrapping it in a thin sheet of dough, then cooking it by boiling or steaming. It is served with a sauce made of yogurt and garlic, along with a spicy butter sauce poured on top.
- Nepalese Momos: Momos, a steamed dumpling hailing from the Himalayan region, are served with a flavorful sauce called achar. They have many variations, ranging from steamed and fried to Jhol and Dhapu.
- Indian Modak: Modak, a type of dessert, is filled with a mixture of freshly grated coconut and jaggery. The outer shell is made from a combination of rice flour or wheat flour, blended with either Khauwa or maida flour.
- Polish Pierogi: These dumplings are made with unleavened dough and stuffed with sweet or savory fillings, depending on whether they are served as an appetizer or dessert.
- Georgian Khinkali: These dumplings are filled with pork, beef, or lamb and then boiled. They are filled with uncooked meat so that the juices from the meat get trapped inside, making them soup dumplings.
- Chinese Jiaozi, Wontons, Xiao Long Bao: China has innumerable dumpling varieties. Some examples include Jiaozi, which are pan-fried dumplings; wontons, which are served in a bowl of broth, and Xiao Long Baos, which are soup dumplings.There’s no doubt, dumplings, with their immense variety, have earned a special place in the hearts of people worldwide. Now, let’s delve into the fascinating world of momos, which come in so many variations that they are a delight for your palate.
Here are some varieties of momos:
- Steamed Momos: These are your classic steamed momos, available in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian versions, and served with a sesame-tomato dip or achar.
- Kothey Momos: These are first steamed and then pan-fried to achieve a crispy bottom, giving the momos a soft and crispy texture at the same time.
- Chilli Momos: Popularized as C. momos, these momos are served dipped in a hot and spicy sauce made with soy sauce, vinegar, and chili flakes.
- Fried Momos: These are steamed momos that are deep-fried to create a crunchy delight, although they may not be suitable for health-conscious individuals.
- Jhol Momos: The most famous and authentic Nepalese momos, which are a winter staple. These steamed momos are served in a bowl full of sauce called Jhol Achar, made with tomato, chili, peanuts, sesame powder, and spices.
- Open Momos: These are steamed momos with four openings on the top to pour an assortment of different sauces.
- Tandoori Momos: These momos are a fusion of Nepalese momos with Indian tandoori sauce. The momos are soaked and marinated in tandoori sauce, then baked to perfection.
- Green Momos: These are vegetarian steamed momos made with vegetables like spinach, green beans, and cabbage, giving them a healthier touch.
- Buckwheat Momos: As the name suggests, these momos are made with buckwheat flour, creating protein-packed momos that are lighter than other variations.
- Paneer/Khuawa/Cheese Momos: One of the most unusual combinations, these momos are stuffed with dairy products, mainly paneer, khuawa, or cheese, and served with achar.
- Dhapu Momos: These are giant steamed momos, as big as a child’s fist, which are said to be Tibetan versions but are very popular in Nepal.
- Sadheko Momos: For this variation, the momos are first pan-fried and then mixed with a variety of spices, seasonings, and sometimes vegetables as well.
In the realm of dumplings, Nepal’s momo varieties reign supreme. But how did momos rise to such greatness? Their unrivaled flavor, impossible to replicate, has enchanted people far and wide, resulting in their immense popularity. These little delights offer endless possibilities, allowing individuals to fill them with their desired ingredients. And let’s not forget their convenience—perfect for busy folks craving a quick and hassle-free meal.
But the fame of momos extends beyond the borders of Asian countries. Even the streets of Calgary, Canada, are abuzz with devoted momo-lovers. Thankfully, skilled artisans of the momo craft are ready to serve the finest creations in town. Visit Calgary Momo House, the ultimate haven for an authentic Nepalese experience. Here, you’ll discover not only a tantalizing variety of momos but also a rich assortment of traditional Nepalese dishes. For an unforgettable journey into the heart of Nepalese cuisine, Calgary Momo House is the place to be!