HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN DUMPLINGS
‘Dumpling’ is a general word that covers a wide range of food, all with the basic quality of being a starchy dough which has some kind of filling on the inside. Some of the most popular ones are Chinese ‘jiaozi’ and ‘wonton’, Japanese ‘gyoza’ and what you might not have realised fit the category from Italy: ‘ravioli’, ‘tortellini’ and ‘gnocchi’. In the States, you can find bits of dough dropped into a stew or soup and sweet ones that are baked fruit in pastry, while in India there are over 10 types of dumplings that are sweet, savoury and sometimes spicy. In this article, I want to share one that I’ve come across in my travels which I was lucky enough to practice making with the locals.
In Nepal, my host family became aware of how much I loved these dumplings, probably because they weren’t so spicy or heavy like the other food they were serving me. So quickly they arranged for a cooking class where I learnt to make my favourite Nepali dish and took notes so that I could repeat it again back home.
To make the dough for these dumplings you’ll need 4 cups of flour, 1 tbsp. oil, 1 pinch of salt and some water. Combine in a bowl and knead for about 10 minutes, adding water as needed. Leave it to stand for 30 mins (or more if you can) then knead again and finally, you can start to make into little rolls. With a roll, about the size of a golf ball, flatten it with a rolling pin so it is ready for putting in the filling. Be sure that the middle is thicker than the outer rim so that the filling does not drop out the bottom.
For the filling we need quite a lot more ingredients, starting with 1 kg of ground meat (your choice but half lamb and half pork is recommended), 3 tbsp. cilantro, 1 tbsp. garlic, 1 tbsp. ginger, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1 tbsp. curry powder, 3 red chillies, 1 cup red onion, 1/2 cup green onion, 1 cup tomato, 3 tbsp. oil and salt and pepper. Everything needs to be chopped, minced or grated into the smallest size possible, this is key to the tastes all mixing well and cooking evenly.
Mix everything together and if you have time, put in the fridge for about an hour.
Now for the assembly. Momos are made with a pleated pattern, so put a teaspoon of the filling into the middle of the dough and then bring in the sides, folding one side then the other kind of like you would with a braid or plait. Don’t stress that your first one looks a little weird or even you have some holes, as it’s something that takes time and practice to get right.
Momos can be steamed or boiled, and usually, it takes around 10 minutes, then you should eat them right away.
Do you have a favourite dumpling recipe that you love cooking? Share your ideas in the comments below.