Momo Tibetan Food

Momo is utterly unique and delicious, Tibetan dumplings are basically the unofficial national dish of Tibet. Every Tibetan family has a slightly different momo recipe, with various theories on how to make them the juiciest and delicious, or how to keep the dough skins to the desired delicate thinness.

The variations are endless – momo can be meat, vegetarian, steamed (the most popular), fried, and cooked in soup. Here, we show you how to cook both beef momos and Lobsang’s unique and wonderful vegetarian momos. You might like to try also cheese and spinach momo or the super tasty chicken momo. 


The Dough Momo

First of all, make the dough.

If you want to make momo dough for four people, use about 2 cups of wheat flour (we don’t use whole wheat, but rather use white, all-purpose flour) and somewhere between 3/4 cups and 1 cup of water. The amount will depend on your particular flour. (You don’t have to be very exact about these measurements — Tibetans never are!

Mix the flour and water very well by hand and keep adding water until you make a pretty smooth ball of dough.

Then knead the dough very well until the dough is flexible.

Now leave your dough in the pot with the lid on while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

You should not let the dough dry out, or it will be hard to work with.

The doughThe doughThe dough

The filling

We make momo with either meat or vegetables. In Tibet, they often use yak meat, but here we usually use any meat, or just vegetables for our vegetarian friends.

Chop all the following ingredients into very, very small pieces:

  • Two onions
  • Two inches fresh ginger
  • Two or three cloves of garlic
  • A bunch of cilantro
  • One pound of cabbage
  • One pound of tofu*
  • A one-quarter pound of dark brown mushrooms (I buy them dried from Asian markets)*
  • Two tablespoons of soy sauce
  • One teaspoon of chicken, beef, or vegetable bouillon.   For meat momo filling, add:
    One pound of ground beef: This beef replaces the mushrooms and tofu in the vegetable recipe.If you have enough time, you can use un-ground beef and chop the meat into very small pieces.For both kinds of momos, but all of the ingredients in a pot or big bowl, then add a teaspoon of bouillon and two tablespoons of soy sauce.Mix everything together very well.(If you are making meat momo with ground beef, you may need to use your hands to mix it up.

    The filling

    Shaping Momo

    When your dough and filling are both ready, it is time for the tricky part of making the dumpling shapes.

    For this, place the dough on a chopping board and use a rolling pin to roll it out quite thinly.

    It should not be so thin that you can see through it when you pick it up, nor should it be quite as thick as a floppy disk for a computer (remember those? :-).

    Somewhere between those two should work out.

    After you have rolled out the dough, you will need to cut it into little circles for each momo.

    The easiest way to do this is to turn a small cup or glass upside down to cut out circles about the size of the palm of your hand.

    That way, you don’t have to worry about making good circles of dough because each one will be the same size and shape.

    Of course, you can also make the circles by the more traditional, and more difficult, way of pinching off a small ball of dough and rolling each ball in your palms until you have a smooth ball of dough.

    Then, you can use a rolling pin to flatten out the dough into a circle, making the edges thinner than the middle. This is much harder to do, and takes more time, though many Tibetans still use this method.

    Now that you have a small, flat, circular piece of dough, you are ready to add the filling and make the momo shapes.

    There are many, many different choices for momo shapes, and I will teach you two of the most common, the basic round momo, and the half-moon shapes.

    (Of these two, the half-moon shape is easier.)

    source momo                                                                    ROUND MOMO

    For both shapes, you will need to put one circle of dough in your left hand and add a tablespoonful of filling in the center of the dough. Or reverse all of these instructions if you are left-handed.

    With your right hand, begin to pinch the edge of the dough together.

    Basically, you will be pinching the whole edge of the circle into one spot.

    Continue folding and pinching all around the edge of the circle until you come back around to where you started and then close the hole with a final pinch.

    Make sure you close the hole on top of the momo. That way you don’t lose the juicy.




    Half moon momo                                                                HALF MOON MOMO 

    For this style, you begin the same as with the round momo style, holding the flat circular dough in your left hand and putting a tablespoon of filling in the middle of the dough.

    Then you have to fold your circle of dough in half, covering over the filling.

    Now press together the two edges of the half-circle so that there is no open edge in your half-circle, and the filling is completely enclosed in the dough.

    You will now have the basic half-moon shape, and you can make your momo pretty by pinching and folding along the curved edge of the half-circle.

    Start at one tip of the half-moon, and fold over a very small piece of dough, pinching it down.

    Continue folding and pinching from the starting point, moving along the edge until you reach the other tip of the half-moon.

    You can experiment with different folds and pinches to find the way that is easiest and nicest for you.

    As you are making your momos, you will need to have a non-stick surface and a damp cloth or lid handy to keep the momo you’ve made from drying out while you’re finishing the others.

    You can lay the momos in the lightly-greased steamer and keep the lid on them, or you can lay them on wax paper and cover them with a damp cloth.

    Steaming Momo

Finally, you should boil water in a large steamer. (Tibetans often use double or even huge triple-decker steamers, to make many momos at one time.)

Oil the steamer surface lightly before putting the momos in, so they won’t stick to the metal, then place as many as you can without touching each other.

Add the momos after the water is already boiling.

Steam the momos for about 10 minutes, then serve them hot, with soy sauce or hot sauce of your choice to dip them in.

Tibetan hot sauce, is perfect for momos.

At home, along with homemade chili, we use soy sauce and spicy, which we get in Indian stores, or the Asian section of supermarkets. 

Be careful when you take the first bite of the hot momos since the juice is very, very hot, and can burn you easily.

Momos are very good for your social life. When we are making momos, we chat and have a lot of fun. And they taste great

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Laping Tibetan Street Food

Laping is a spicy cold mung bean noodle dish in Tibetan cuisine. It is street food and is also popular in some parts of Nepal.  It can be eaten with red pepper chili, coriander, and green onion sauce. The noodles have a slippery texture and are served with a soy sauce gravy. It is traditionally a summer food. A tool is used to shape it. The laping derives from the Sichuan-style Liang fen. There are two types of laping, are yellow laping, and white laping.

laping white

laping would not traditionally be made at home. Most people in Lhasa, for example, would buy it from little stalls on the street. Tibetans outside Tibet do make this at home, as there are no laping stalls on most of our city streets.

lapping yellow

The laping requires at least 4-5 hours to set and can be prepared the night before and left to sit overnight.

Source-Tibetan Street Food

Ingredients for the Laping

  • 1 cup of potato or mung-bean starch (For the images here we used potato starch, but we’ve also made it with mung bean starch, and those noodles turn out much stiffer, which you may like, as a matter of personal taste. Mung-bean starch can be found in Korean stores and some other Asian markets.)
  • 5 cups of water.                                                                                                                   Ingredients for the Sauce
    • 7 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1 stalk green onion, chopped
    • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
    • ¼ cup of soy sauce
    • ¼ cup crushed dried red pepper (We bought this at an Asian store. If you can’t find this, you can cut up dried red pepper, or use chili powder, or a bit of chili sauce.                                                                                                                                                 

      Preparing the Clear Noodles

      Before heating, stir the starch and water together until you get an even texture.

      Heat the mixture on the stovetop to medium, stirring frequently, for 8-9 minutes, or until the mixture is so thick you can barely stir it. If the mixture is boiling before it thickens, turn down the heat until it stops boiling. When done the texture will be very thick, almost like jello, but it still needs to set.

      Transfer the cooked mixture into a clean bowl and let it sit overnight at room temperature. In order to shorten the time for cooling, it can also be placed in the refrigerator for 4-5 hours.

      After the laping has set, remove it from the bowl. It should stand up by itself, like very firm jello.

      In Tibet, people grate the laping with a very large grater, but our grater was too small and didn’t really work, so we did what many Tibetans do, and just cut the laping with a large knife into long strips.

      Also, do visit my other post by click here