Local Cuisine of Ladakh: Momos, the Indian Dumplings

Momo, a Ladakhi dumpling that takes an important place in the local cuisine, is made with white flour and water. These dumplings are steamed and served hot with soup or deep fried. A variety of stuffing like ground meat, vegetables, tofu, paneer cheese and vegetables can be used, however we bring you a vegetarian option that can be easily made in any kitchen. 

fried momos, indian dumplings, served on a plate


Momos/Indian Dumplings Ingredients

 

For the Stuffing

½ cup of finely chopped cabbage
½ cup of finely chopped carrots
½ cup of finely chopped spinach
½ cup of green peas
1 cup of yellow cheese (we used Yak cheese)
1 tablespoon butter (optional—not needed but butter can be added to give a good taste)
2 onions – finely chopped
1 tablespoon oil
Salt as required
Black pepper as required
½ tablespoon Garam Masala (optional—a mixture of ground spices used in Indian cuisine.)

For the dough or the momo skin:

2 cups of white flour
1 tablespoon salt (salt is used for boosting the flavor and making the dough stronger)
Water for kneading the dough (as required)


Method

 

To make the dough or the momo skin (should be done before the cooking of the stuffing so the dough gets to rest a little bit):

1. Mix the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.

2. Add water in parts and start kneading.

3. Keep kneading till the dough becomes firm (the dough shouldn’t be sticky. If it is though, it means you put too much water. Add more flour in this case.)

4. Once done, cover the dough and let it rest.

To make the stuffing for the momos:

1. Finely chop all the vegetables and mix them together in one bowl.

2. Heat oil then add the onions. Sauté until they become light blonde in color.

3. Add the chopped vegetables and stir.

4. Add salt, black pepper and Garam Masala.

5. Continue to stir until the vegetables are cooked.

6. Once cooked, turn off the heat and add cheese and butter then stir well.

7. Check for taste and add salt and black pepper as required.

8. Stir well and let it sit until it becomes cold.

To make the shape of the momos:

1. Divide the dough into small balls.

2. Dust them in flour.

3. Take each small ball and roll it with a rolling pin into a thin circle of around three inches in diameter.

cutting dough to make indian dumplings called momos

4. Place 2 tablespoons of vegetable stuffing in the center.

5. Join the edges together and pleat until they become half-moon shaped (the form should look like a Karanji—a traditional sweet made during the Diwali festival. If you don’t know how it looks, google it!)

filling indian dumplings to make traditional momos

6. Prepare all the momos this way and place them in a steamer pan covered with oil at the bottom to prevent the momos from sticking.

7. Keep space between each momo in the steamer pan.

8. Steam the momos for 5 to 8 minutes.

steamed momos, traditional indian recipe

9. When the momos are ready to be served, they will give a shiny look and start to become transparent (they shouldn’t feel sticky. If they do, it means they’ve been steamed more than necessary.)

10. Place them in a dish and serve with them soya sauce, tomato-chilli sauce or chilli-garlic sauce.

Bon Appetit!

steamed ladakhi momo dumplings served on a plate

 

© All photos by Sayali Goyal

Sayali Goyal

Sayali Goyal

Sayali Goyal, a graduate from the University of Arts London, is a textile artist and creative consultant who believes that travel is a soul searching journey allowing her to experience all things she feels passionate about like philosophy, architecture, culture, food and art. She is a nature lover and vintage collector.

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