Category Archives: Culture

Momo (Nepali Dumplings) Recipe

This is the most popular dish in Nepal. Might I dare to say, it’s a national food of Nepal. Nepali dumplings are unique in its own way. It’s more spicier with juicy filling of ground buffalo meat. It’s served with a spicy tomato achar (sauce). There are few types of tomato achar that is served with momos. In my last post, I shared a recipe of a jhol achar, which is most common in Kathmandu. Or you can make a simple tomato achar (Golveda ko achar) that I’ve posted few months earlier in my blog.

It’s also served with a side dish of chicken soup broth made with chicken bones.

You can rarely find a Nepalese who doesn’t like momos. As one of my Instagram friend said (quote) ‘it’s stamped in our DNA and I cannot agree more.’ (Do check my Instagram @mrsgrg2014 to explore Food gallery and videos).

We eat momos almost every week, be it family gathering or just a snack or dinner. It’s easier to make if you use premade store bought wrappers or skin. It can be found in Asian grocery stores.

However, I prefer home made wrappers. It’s bit time consuming and need a bit more labour but the end result is worth the time and effort.

If you are trying you hands on making momos for the very first time, I suggest use premade wonton skin. As there are lot of elements required to make momos, you just don’t want to be too overwhelmed. However, if you choose to make your own wrappers, make it a family affair and get everyone involved.

Here’s my recipe for Momos. I made this for my family gathering. This recipe yields about 120 momos with homemade wrapper. Please reduce the quantity of spices and other ingredients in half or quarter to suit your need. Also you can tone it the spicier as per your liking.

If you end up with too many momos, don’t worry. You can always freeze them, it lasts for a month. When cooking frozen momos, don’t defrost it. Put it straight in the steamer on top of boiling water and steam for 15 minutes. You can enjoy steaming hot momos in no time.

Ingredients (Yields 120 medium sized momos)

For Wrappers or Skin
1 and half kilos of plain white flour
1 litre of Water (adjust water quantity as required)

Sift flour into a big bowl. Make a well in the centre and add water. You can use fork or fingertips to slowly mix flour with water. When it all comes together, get your hands into it. Mix and until it all comes together and knead it into a smooth dough.

Tips: If dough is not coming together and very flaky, add more water little bit at a time, until it knead into a ball. If the dough is too watery of soft, add bit more flour to make it a soft but firm dough. When dough is ready, it should leave the side of your bowl and hands too.

Cover the bowl with a wet towel or a cling wrap and set aside. This helps to soften the dough and making it flexible and elastic to work with. Leave it for at least half an hour or more. Do not let the dough dry out, or it will be hard to work with.

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For Meat Filling

2 kilos of chicken mince (use beef or pork or buffalo meat as per your preference)
1 bunch of chives finely chopped (or you can substitute with few sprigs of spring onion or scallion)
1/2 of medium sized onion finely chopped
1/2 cup of chopped coriander (cilantro)
2 tablespoons of ginger paste
2 tablespoons of garlic paste
1 tablespoon of shallot paste (optional)
2 tablespoons of cumin powder
1 tablespoons of coriander powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
1 tablespoon of garam masala powder
Chilli powder as per your taste
Salt as per your taste
200 ml of Water
1/2 cup of mustard oil (or vegetable oil)

Put meat in a large bowl, add all the ingredients, spices, water and oil and mix well with mince meat. Set aside.
Note: You can add finely chopped cabbage to the mix to make it more juicier if you are using lean chicken mince.

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Making Momo Wrapper

Take a handful of dough and roll it into a ball. Dust the flat and dry (clean) kitchen bench with flour. Place the ball on the surface and flatten it with a rolling pin. Roll it out quite thinly.

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When it’s as thin as desired, get a round shape cutter and cut out as many as you can.

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Repeat the same process to make as many wrappers as required.

Shaping Momos

Here comes a tricky bit. There are few shapes you can make.

For round shape momos: place a spoonful of mince mix in the centre of the wrapper. Hold the wrapper on your left hand . Pinch one side of the wrapper for first crease with your right thumb and index finger. Then just pinch and stick second crease with your index finger. Continue pinching around the circle little by little, keeping your thumb in place, and continuing along the edge of the circle with your index finger. When you come a full circle, stick the end together to seal the momo.

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Oh how I wish I could load the video. So much easier to show a demo. However, I’ve seen a video floating around showing how to shape dumplings. If this is your first time making momos, please do check out the video. Here’s the photo of wrapped momos.

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The hard part is over. Now this is a easy.

Steaming Momos

In a momo steamer, boil water on the bottom pot. Grease the top container (one with small holes) with oil. Place the momos until the container is full ensuring momos are not touching each other.

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Place this container on top of the boiling pot and cover with lid. Steam it for 10-12 minutes on a medium heat.

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Serve hot with a jhol achar or tomato achar.

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Please do try it. It’s best served hot on cold winter days. Happy Cooking.

Jhol Momo Soup Recipe

Jhol momo is very famous and much loved steamed Nepali dumplings served with jhol achar (soup). It is an easy find in any restaurants and street hawkers in Kathmandu. The jhol achar is in house specialty of momos that you get in Kathmandu.

As I was born and raised in Kathmandu, I grew up eating momos for khaja (afternoon tea) almost everyday. These momos came swimming in a liquid (tomato soup) laced with powdered soya or sesame. This is perfect accompaniment for momos as this soup enhances the meatiness of the dumplings and also gives it a nice kick of chilli and tanginess. Depending on the kind of eateries, the taste and consistency varies. It was not always the healthy choice if you buy it from local eatery as they normally use lot of fat in the mince meat, but it sure was very tasty.

Every now and then I crave for this authentic taste of jhol momos. I make momos at all the time, be it for dinner, or for family get together, momos always gets a nod. I’ve been trying to recreate this jhol momos for a while now. I’ve tried few combinations of spice and consistency, it’s been a hit and a miss. But the recipe of the jhol (soup), I’m about to share comes very close to the authentic taste. When I tasted it, it took me straight back to those steaming stalls of Kathmandu street.

I will be posting recipe for momos very soon. Here’s my take on the jhol achar for momos

Ingredients

5 medium tomatoes (grilled or roasted)
Half onion finely chopped
4 cloves
2 green cardamom
1 black cardamom
1 cinnamon stick
4 bay leaves
1 tablespoon of garlic and ginger paste
Chillies as per your taste
2 tablespoon of oil
Salt as per taste
3 tablespoon of sesame (roast sesame with 2 dry chillies and 3-4 szehuwan peppercorns and grounded into a powder)
1 litre of chicken stock (or soup made from bone)

In a pot, heat oil and fry onion until soft and has slight colour. Add cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and let it infuse with sautéed onion for a minute.

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Add garlic/ginger paste, turmeric powder, salt and chilli powder. Fry it for a minute or two, till oil seperates.

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Add roasted tomatoes and cook until for 5-7 minutes by covering the pot.

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When tomatoes are soft and mushy, add chicken stock and bring it to the boil. Turn the heat to low and let it simmer on a gentle heat for 10 minutes ensuring the liquid doesn’t reduce.

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After 10 minutes turn off the heat. Let it cool.

When the soup is cool, take bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom out of the soup. Pour the soup in a blender and add sesame. Blitz it until it’s creamy and fine.

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Serve it with steaming hot momos. Enjoy.

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Khasi ko Masu (Simple Goat Curry)

As the Dashain festival has begun, I want to share this goat curry recipe as it’s the main dish of Dashain festival food.

During this festival, people are busy with visiting temples, cooking feasts and get togethers with family and friend. So this is a perfect recipe as its is a no fuss, simple but flavorsome curry that you can make during Dashain festival.

So without further ado, here’s the recipe.

Ingredients

1 kilo of goat meat
2 medium sized onion finely sliced
4-5 curry leaves
5 whole cloves
5 whole cardamom
5 black peppercorns
1 stick of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of cumin powder
1/2 tablespoon of coriander powder
1 tablespoon of garam masala powder
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon of chilli powder
Garlic and ginger paste (Pound 5 cloves of garlic and knob of ginger)
Salt as per taste
2 tablespoon of oil
Fresh coriander and green chilli to garnish

For marinade
2 tablespoon of plain yoghurt
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon tumeric powder
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder

Cut goat meat into big chunky pieces (I usually ask butcher to cut it in curry sized pieces. Put cut pieces in a bowl and marinate meat with all the marinade ingredients. Leave it overnight in the fridge or at least an hour for flavors to infuse.

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In a pot ( or pressure cooker), heat oil (in low heat) and add whole cloves, cardamom, peppercorns and cinnamon to infuse oil.

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Add curry leaves and onion and fry it until it’s soft and golden brown.

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When onion is golden brown, add garlic and ginger paste, tumeric, cumin, coriander, garam masala, chilli and salt. Cook the spices until it leaves the oil and becomes fragrant.

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Add meat and mix well with the spices. Cover the pot and cook it for an hour on medium heat (if using pressure cooker, 20-25 minutes) until the meat is tender and falling off the bone.

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Garnish with fresh coriander and chili and serve with a bowl of steam rice.

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Sekuwa ( Lamb Skewers)

There’s something special about grilled meat especially grilled on charcoal.

Today I’m going to share this recipe which is eaten as appetiser or as a set with beaten rice( chuira or bhuja), spicy potato, soybeans, lemon wedge and slice of carrot and cucumber. It’s called sekuwa in Kathmandu but my hubby says it’s known as jhir on its own or as taas with the set.

You can find street hawkers fanning a charcoal grill with lines of these yummy skewers usually made with buffalo or goat meat. The right amount of fat and meat makes it a perfect sekuwa. The sight and smell is just so amazing. I used to buy it from the hawkers as my evening snack.

We make this dish during Dashain (biggest Nepali festival) along with other varieties of meat dishes. During this festival, most household have whole lot of meat in their kitchen as it’s a tradition to slaughter goats, ducks, sheeps and buffaloes for consumption by family and relatives during 10 days of celebration.

Over the next few weeks, I will try to make as many Dashain special recipes and share it.

Ingredients

1 kilo of lamb meat (fat included)
6 cloves of garlic
Knob of ginger
10 whole sichuan peppers
1 tablespoon of cumin powder
1 tablespoon of garam masala
1 teaspoon of red chilli powder
2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
4 tablespoon of plain yoghurt
2 tablespoon of oil (for marinating)
Salt as per taste
1 freshly squeezed lemon juice

Pound garlic, ginger and sichuan peppers in mortar and pestle to make a coarse paste. Mix diced lamb meat with garlic, ginger paste, dry spices, salt, yoghurt and oil. Leave it overnight or for 2-4 hours for meat to tenderize and flavors to develop.

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Soak the skewers in water for few hours so it doesn’t burn.

Insert 4-5 cubes of marinated lamb per skewer.

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Heat the grill pan (for best results, use charcoal grill). When hot, grilled lamb skewers for 7-8 minutes on each side or until it’s cooked per your liking.

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Serve skewers hot with a squeeze of lemon with side salad or with set of chuira, spicy potato ( will post recipe soon). Enjoy.

Please do share your favourites holiday or festival food that you love to cook and eat.

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French Toast with Strawberry Coulis (Father’s Day Special Breakfast)

It is my hubby’s first Father’s Day this year. And what a great father he has been.

He used to be one of those men who wasn’t very fond of babies. When I became pregnant, he had self doubt in his parenting skills . But boy were we so wrong. He was the first one to hold the baby. When he did, the look on his face was so priceless. He was simply in an awe (I think he was fighting back tears). It is the most precious and unforgettable moment in our lives.

Since then it’s been a roller coaster ride being new parents especially baby having infant eczema. It had been trying times at the most. But my hubby’s relentless dedication and optimism to manage and care for our baby has been most inspiring to me. I believe it may just be why my baby’s skin condition is now fully healed.

I’m so thankful to have a hubby like him. So to celebrate his first Father’s Day, I made him his favourite special breakfast.

I believe everyone knows how to make a French Toast. Here’s my version and it’s such a delicious recipe.

Ingredients
4 Eggs
4 pieces of rustic white bread
60 ml of cream
2 tablespoons of raw sugar
Pinch of salt
Dash of Black Pepper
4 tablespoon of Olive oil
1 stick of cinnamon
2-3 cardamom whole

Strawberry Coulis
12 (250 grams approx) of Frozen Strawberries or fresh ones if available
2 tablespoons of raw sugar
1 teaspoon of Vanilla essence

Crispy bacon
4 slices of Bacon

Whisk eggs, cream, sugar and salt and add dash of black peppers.

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Spread the mixture thoroughly on the bread and set aside let it soak.

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In a bowl, add halved strawberries, sugar and vanilla essence. Pop it in a microwave for 2-3 minutes until the strawberries are mushy and syrupy. Set aside for plating.

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Heat pan and add tablespoon of olive oil. Add cinnamon stick and cardamom to infuse oil. Add a slice of bread and fry it gently on low to medium heat. When it golden, flip it to cook the other side. Repeat same process for all the other slices of breads.

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When breads are done, fry bacon slices until crispy. Remove it from the pan and dab off the excess fat in a paper towel.

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Slice french toast in triangular shapes. Serve it on a plate with strawberry coulis and crispy bacon.

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Five Spiced Pork Belly with Crispy Crackling

My hubby loves pork, me not so much which is why I hardly make pork at home. I love bacon and ham but when it comes to pork meat, I can’t get over that pork after taste.

In Nepal, Newars don’t consume pork. Pig is thought as a dirty animal who rolls in mud and eats garbage. You are not allowed to bring pork meat inside your home or consume it. If you do it, then you are considered as untouchable. However funny thing, wild boar is consumed as delicacy.

I never tasted pork until I came here. One of my housemate used to make mind blowing hot and soupy pork curry. When I tried it first time, the curry was so hot that I didn’t know what pork tasted like. After consuming that curry, I started consuming it but wasn’t a big fan.

These days as I’ve mentioned earlier, we don’t dine out as often and hubby has been missing his favourite dish crispy roast pork. So I decided to make this dish as treat for him.

The look on his face was priceless when he saw it coming out of the oven. His excitement gave me a real sense of contentment that you get when you cook for your loved one and they love it.

I’m amazed it tasted so good even I ate it.

So here’s my recipe for five spice pork belly with crispy crackling.

Ingredients
A slab Pork belly
6 cloves of garlic
Thumb sized piece of ginger
1 tablespoon of Five Spice powder
8-10 sichuan peppers
4 red chillies
2 tablespoon of vegetable oil
Salt as per taste

In mortar and pestle, pound garlic, ginger, chillies and sichuan pepper. Add five spice powder and make a fine paste. Add vegetable oil and mix. Set aside.

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Score a crisscross pattern in pork skin with a sharp knife. Rub in the spice mix to coat pork belly. Leave it in the fridge overnight or at least for 2-3 hours for flavours to infuse pork.

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Pre heat oven to 240 degrees celcius for 5 minutes or until oven is hot.

Scrape off the spice rub off skin (only skin) and pat dry with a paper towel. Rub in 2 tablespoon of salt on the skin and rest if the meat.

Place it in a oven tray and roast it for 20 minutes to crisp up the skin so it’s crackling. Turn the heat to 200 degrees celcius and cook for 40 minutes.

When ready, let it rest for 25 minutes. Cut up pork belly into bite sizes pieces and serve it with steam rice and veggie stir fry. Enjoy crispy cracklings with succulent pork belly. It’s so yummy. (PS- I left it for 5-10 minutes longer as I got distracted, hence why it is slightly charred but nonetheless it’s so good)

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Golveda ko Achar (Grilled Tomato and Coriander)

Achar (pickles) are integral part of nepali and newari cuisine. It’s served with every meal as it always add that extra punch and flavour hit to rice, daal and curry.

There are so many varieties of achar. Some are made on daily basis with fresh produce meals, others are pickled and preserved as per my previous post of daikon radish pickle.

Nepali cuisine is all about celebrating fresh and organic produce. It’s simple cooking with best fresh vegetables, herbs and meats.

We go and buy fresh produce twice a day in the local market. The best seasonal produce (fruits and vegetables) are brought straight from farm at the market by farmers and they sell it direct to consumers. There are no stalls, vendors just lay their products in the basket in designated area of the market. It’s an instant pop up market for few hours in the morning and night.

Most people didn’t have fridges and buying and cooking fresh produce twice a day was norm.

I remember when I was about 8-9 years old, I used to go to these market in the mornings with my sisters. We used to bargain and buy all these beautiful produce. Even the memory of these markets enthralls me. The sight, sound and smell used to lift my spirits. I still cherish those memories.

The recipe I’m sharing today is a very simple yet it celebrates the fresh produce and brings out the best.

I made this achar for last night’s dinner along with black lentil daal, cauliflower curry and rice. It’s a classic flavours combination that I love to eat during cold winters in Kathmandu.
Here’s a nepali vegetarian meal I had last night.

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I will share the recipe of cauliflower in future post but try this achar. It’s dead simple, rustic and goes really well with meat or vegetable curry and steamy hot momos.

Ingredients
5 small sized tomatoes
1 cup of chopped of coriander
4 dried chillies
Salt to taste
10-12 sichuan peppers

Heat oil in the pan and fry dried chillies until it’s black. Remove it from the pan and set aside.

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In the same pan, put quartered tomatoes skin side down. You can use grill to roast the tomatoes or even open fire or charcoal. For added flavour char the skin of tomatoes.

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Once the skin is charred, reduce heat to low and cook tomatoes for 10-15 minutes. The prolong cooking of tomatoes will extract water and concentrate tomatoes to enhance the flavour.

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In a mortar and pestle, add fried dry chillies, salt, sichuan peppers, coriander and pound it to make a rough paste. ( you can use blender but I’m very old school and believe that grinding in mortar pestle gives it more flavour).

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Add tomatoes and grind it with the mix to make a thick paste consistently. It’s ready to be served with your favourite meal even pasta.

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