Steaming hot momos fresh out of the steamer are a treat on cold foggy days. A small pouch of steaming hot meat or vegetable with a dash of spices, these are similar to the Japanese gyoza or the Chinese steamed won-tons. This simple and satisfying dish came from Tibet and has become very popular wherever the Tibetan diaspora spread , and I for one am glad for it!
The winter this year is turning out to be very disappointing for us. It is almost non existent. So a few days back when the mornings began to look very foggy, it was a welcome change. The fog and mist brought with it vision of mountains and the steaming cups of chai and of course momos.
Momos are these lovely one or two bite dumplings filled with all sorts of meats and vegetables. Chicken and pork dumplings are popular in our family but my favorite is the shrimp. Making these from scratch requires some skill, but this is the semi home made version. Store bought dumpling wrappers and cooked salad shrimp makes it all easier.
Where I was born – Southern India – we had our steamed rice dumplings – kozhukkatai and the like. These were vegetarian and could be sweet or savory. As more north eastern folks started moving south, they brought with them their hometown favorites, including Momos. These were an instant hit – and even the health conscious mothers and grandmothers gave this savory ‘tiffin’ a reluctant nod.
There is something very primal and satisfying about sharing a steaming bowl of food – My kids still remember one of their older cousins as the brother who got them momos in Bangalore.
The momos that I make are the easy versions and a far cry from the Chinese har gow. Har gow is pristine white dumplings. Their pure white wrappers are almost transparent. One could see the the orange shrimp goodness inside. These easy ones on the other hand does a good job of hiding the mystery ingredients 🙂 .
But is is super easy and absolutely delicious – and that was the whole idea. When you have time and good company try making it from scratch. It is a fun activity to have the kids involved in as well. But today we are short on time and store bought wrappers it is.
I use cooked shrimp in this recipe. The reason is simple – convenience. The cooked salad shrimp is usually very affordable and available in small packages. Fresh shrimp in these will taste awesome as well. Follow the same recipe , but make sure that you add the corn starch to absorb any extra moisture. Once the filling is assembled take about 1/4 tsp and roll into a ball and cook in the boiling water. This is going to be your tester.
The filling will cook in a minute or two , remove from the water and taste. Adjust seasonings if needed.
The store bought wrappers have a liberal coating of flour to keep them from sticking together. A little bit of water goes a long way in helping the wrapper seal. Brush the outer sides with water before folding the sides over the filling.
There are different ways of shaping the momos. The method shown above is one of the easiest for a novice – gather the sides together to the center. The moisture helps the sides adhere together, pinch the tips for insurance and you are good to go .
One thing to remember is not to over fill the momos. For my 2 inch wrappers I put a heaped spoonful – about 2 tsp if you want to measure. You could add up to 1 tbsp , but the more filling there is the more skill you need to close without spills.
Easy Shrimp Momos
- 3 Dozen 2 Inch Circular Dumpling Wrappers -
- 2 Cup Cooked Salad Shrimp
- 1 Inch Fresh Ginger
- 2 Stalks Green Onions / Scallions
- 3-6 Stalks Cilantro Optional
- 1 Tsp Soy Sauce
- 1 Tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
- 1/2 Tsp Corn Starch
- Salt To Taste
- Pepper To Taste
- Take the shrimp in blender bowl. Add 1 tbsp of the finely grated ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil , roughly chopped scallions and cilantro. Pulse a few times until the shrimp is roughly minced. Transfer to a bowl, taste and adjust salt and pepper. Add the cornstarch and mix well.
- Bring plenty of water to boil in a steamer. Grease the steamer rack and/or partially line with parchment paper. Make sure that at least some steam can escape through .
- Place the dumpling wrapper on the work surface . Take one and brush water on the outer sides. Place 1 to 2 tsp of the mix in the center of the wrapper and bring sides towards the center and pinch it close. Do not over stuff the filling as the dumplings will not close properly.
- Place the formed momos in the steamer rack and steam for 10 minutes.
- Serve warm.
- Keep the wrappers covered when not working with them.
- If not steaming immediately keep the formed momos covered as well.
- Finely shredded carrots, cabbage or minced chilies are all optional additions to the filling
Serve the momos hot/ warm. These can be prepared fled in advance and refrigerated in airtight containers. Take out and stem just before serving. A generous dip in soy sauce – well these are dunked momos …
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