I woke up to an overcast sky today. The early monsoon had weaved it’s magic; the trees outside my balcony lush from last night’s rain and swaying to the tune of the gentle, cold breeze. You immerse yourself in the silence, your senses fully focused on the sight, smell and sounds of nature. You soon find yourself drifting, your thoughts meandering to finally converge in a memory that evokes an intense sense of nostalgia.
Sipping on my morning tea, I was strangely transported to an old trip to Kodaikanal. I recall the same greenery, the cold draft and us friends huddled together in a quaint little stall selling hot Tibetan momos. The mind has a way to elevate the experience of a dish based on the ambience, your state of mind and the company you keep. Till today, I firmly believe that very tiny stall whose name I can’t remember now, sold the best street-style momos I’ve tasted so far (believe me, I’ve had plenty).
I emerged from my trance to realize I had my next inspiration 🙂
Street-style steamed chicken dumplings served with a simple soy-ginger chilli dip. Made out of part whole wheat, these momos are reminiscent of the ones that I once found in a Tibetan street stall in Kodaikanal.
These dumplings turned out fairly impressive for a first attempt. I try to be as honest and critical as I can when it comes to publishing my recipes. With this particular one, I really nailed the stuffing. It was exactly what I had imagined it to be – soft, juicy and replete with flavour. I’d like to believe that the secret to this was my last minute intuition to add oyster sauce to the marinade 🙂
Now that we have covered what went well, let’s also talk about what could have been better. The dumpling skin was slightly thicker than what’s ideal. The perfect dumpling skin is almost translucent when cooked and so tender that you don’t think twice about chewing on them. My big takeaway – take smaller portions of the dough and roll them really thin around the edges. This comes with a lot of practice, so don’t be disheartened if you don’t get it perfect on your first try (this is also a note to self).
The whole process of kneading the dough, making dumpling wrappers and folding them into interesting shapes takes time and patience. A quick hack would be to buy store bought wrappers. However, if you have some time to spare and an appetite to learn, why not give this a try ?
Here’s a play by play of the recipe. I have focused primarily on the filling, the star of this recipe. For help on how to make homemade dumpling wrappers and folding techniques, there are several helpful tutorials on youtube.
Street-Style Steamed Chicken Momos
- Prep time does not include marination time of 2-4 hours
- This recipe gives you roughly 15-16 dumpling pieces.
- 300 grams Minced Chicken ** The Filling **
- 1 tbsp garlic (6-7 cloves), finely mined or crushed
- 1/2 tbsp ginger, finely minced or crushed
- 1-2 green chillis, finely chopped (No. of chillies you add depends on your spice tolerance)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
- 1.5 tsp Salt
- 1 tbsp Soy Sauce
- 2 tsp Oyster sauce (optional)
- 1/2 cup Green onion or half bunch
- 1/2 Coriander leaves or half bunch
- 30 grams of minced chicken fat or 1 tbsp of unsalted butter ** The Dough**
- 1 cup all purpose flour (Maida)
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (Aata)
- 1/4 tsp Baking powder (prevents the coating from becoming chewy)
- A pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup water ** The Steaming**
- Cabbage Leaves for lining (optional but adds to the flavour)
- Steamer (Bamboo momo steamer or any idli steamer works)
- Finely chop all the ingredients for the filling ie; ginger, garlic, green chillis, coriander leaves and green onion.This step is important to ensure that it’s well cooked. The finer you chop the tastier your final product.
- Add these finely chopped ingredients to the minced chicken.
- Add black pepper powder, salt, soy sauce and oyster sauce. I find that the oyster sauce adds a subtle sweetness and heightens the flavour of the filling. Use your hands to mix thoroughly.
- Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours. If you’re able to plan even ahead, then best to refrigerate for 10 hours.
- Use this time to prepare the dough and make the momo wrappers. ** The Dough**
- Combine wheat flour and all purpose flour
- Add baking powder and a pinch of salt
- Add water to the dough while kneading at the same time. Be careful not to add all the water at once.
- Keep kneading and adding water until you get a firm dough. Resist the temptation to add more water. You will find that the dough keep getting wetter as you keep kneading.
- Knead continuously for about 7-10 minutes.
- Cover with with a slightly damp cloth and set aside for 30 mins – 1 hour. Covering ensures that the dough does not dry up. I kept mine is a zip lock bag for 1 hour.
- If you like, you can use this waiting time to make a spicy chilli dipping sauce with red chillies, garlic and tomato. ** Momo Wrappers**
- Take the dough out from the plastic bag, you will find that it’s considerably softer now.
- Knead it a few more times and then use your hands to make 14-15 small sized balls. Work in batches of 2-3 balls. Keep the rest covered in the plastic bag to prevent the dough from drying up.
- Use a rolling pin to flatten and form discs. Then start rolling out the dough. Roll with your right hand and use your left hand to grip the dough.This method of rolling produces thin edges which is key to producing good momos. The edges MUST be thinner than the center.
- Once done (roughly 9-10 cm in diamter), set aside. Make sure to dust the wrapper with flour to prevent from sticking.
- Roll similarly and make the rest of the wrappers. ** Folding**
- Take out the marinated minced chicken from the fridge. Take a tablespoon of filling, place it on the momo wrapper and start folding into the desired shapes. There are multiple helpful tutorials on youtube. ** Steaming**
- Take the bamboo steamer or a regular idli steamer. Line the base with a few cabbage leaves(optional). The cabbage helps to cook the momos more uniformly and it’s also delicious once cooked.
- Grease the cabbage leaves with a drop or two of oil.
- Place the momos over the bed of cabbage leaves.
- Cover and cook for 12-15 minutes. Check to see if it’s done. You know it’s done if the dough doesn’t stick and the skin looks a little translucent. Make sure you don’t overcook, else the skin tends to become hard and chewy.
- Garnish with some chopped green onion.
- Serve piping hot with a sauce or dip of your preference.