Tag Archives: nepali cuisine

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.

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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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Red Hot Chicken Curry

It’s been a while since my last post. I’ve been busy with festivities (Dashain and Tihar), family and work being priorities during this time.

I’m back and hoping to share more of my culinary experiences.

I made this lovely, spicy, hot and rich curry few weeks ago. It’s a one pot wonder with spuds, mushroom and chicken. It is one of those comfort food for me. The rich, hot and thick gravy makes me warm and gives me foodcoma as I can’t resist 2nd and 3rd helpings with steam rice.

Here’s a recipe for you to warm up your cold nights .

Ingredients

1.5 kilos of whole chicken cut into pieces (with bones, skin and all)
2 medium sized onion finely sliced
2 large tomatoes cut into cubes
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
4-5 small sized whole potatoes
4-5 brown mushroom cut into quarters
5 cloves of garlic
A knob of ginger (thumb sized piece)
5 red chillies
1 quill of cinnamon
3-4 black cloves
3-4 cloves
1 tablespoon of Chilli powder
1 tablespoon of cumin powder
1 tablespoon of coriander powder
1 tablespoon of garam masala
500 ml of chicken stock (or water)
Salt to taste
4-5 tablespoons of oil
Fresh coriander for garnish

Method:
Divide chicken pieces into 2-3 batches. Heat oil in the pan and add first batch of chicken pieces to seal and sear it. Fry it for 4-5 minutes turning it once. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Repeat the same process for other batches and set aside.

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In the same pan, add sliced onion and fry it until golden brown.

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Add whole spices and fry it for few minutes. Then add all other spices, salt, fresh chillies and garlic ginger paste. Mix it well and fry it for few minutes in a gentle heat.

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Add tomato and tomato paste and cook it for 3-5 minutes until tomato disintegrates and become thick and mushy.

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Add chicken pieces, potatoes and mushroom. Stir well to mix with spices and tomato. Cook for 4-5 minutes.

Add 500 ml of chicken stock or plain water and cover the pan with lid.

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Cook it for 20-25 minutes on low heat until chicken is tender and gravy is thick.

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Garnish with coriander and serve with steam rice or rotis. It’s a comfort food best enjoyed on cold days.

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Piro Aloo Dum (Hot & Spicy Potato Curry)

Warning: This is a very hot potato curry.

I got this recipe from my bestie from primary school. She went to boarding school in Darjeeling after her primary schooling. This is where she found this dish and loved it. She promised me that she will make this cracking aloo dum for me one day as it’s her signature dish. But I never got to taste it because shortly after her return to Nepal, I moved to Australia.

Sometime ago, I reminded her that she still owes me piro aloo dum. So she sent me this recipe for me to try it.

I’ve made this few times. It’s so delicious and hot. It goes really well with puris (deep fried puffed breads).

Here’s my take on piro aloo dum.

Ingredients

10-12 small red chat potatoes 3 teaspoons of nigella seeds
3 teaspoons of lovage seeds
2 teaspoon of fennel seeds
2 teaspoon of mustard seeds
1 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds
3 large tomatoes
10 dried red chillies (or as per your liking)
1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
Salt to taste
3 tablespoons of oil

Boil whole potatoes, until soft and peel and cut them into quarters. Set aside.

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Boil tomatoes and chillies in a pot, until tomatoes are mushy and soft.

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When tomatoes have cooled down, blend tomatoes and chillies to make a thick purée. Set aside.

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Heat oil in the pot and add all the seeds. When it starts to pop, add tomato purée, turmeric powder and salt. Cook the mixture for 2-3 minutes.

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Add boiled and cubed potatoes and mix well with the gravy. Simmer it for 5-10 minutes on low heat so the potatoes soaks up the flavour.

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Serve hot with puris or steam rice. Enjoy.

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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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Chicken Chilli Nepali Style

I’ve been craving for chicken chilli and jhol momo (dumplings in hot tomato soup) for a while now.

Being a new parent, hubby and I are still struggling to manage time as our life revolves around our world (baby) and his routine.

Last weekend we finally managed to go out for a quick dinner. We went to this Nepali cafe. We ordered jhol momo, chicken chilli and chowmein.

The food was great especially jhol momo but I didn’t like chicken chilli as much. It was too sweet and lacked the balance of flavours. I was little dissappointed so I thought I will make it myself at home.

Last night when I opened my fridge to prepare dinner, I thought I will make chicken chilli and satisfy my cravings. I didn’t have capsicum (bell peppers) but I substituted it with mushroom and spring onions.

It turned out very well. It was saucy, fiery and tasted exactly like the ones you get in restaurants in Kathmandu.

Chicken chilli is much loved appetizer in Nepal. Nepali cuisine is heavily influenced from its neighboring countries China and India. It is basically a fusion cuisine of both and probably best of both. While the daily meal of rice, lentils, vegetable and meat is mostly based on curries and spices but more subtle than indian curries. The snacks and the appetizers are mostly inspired by Chinese and sichuan cuisines. The stir frys, chowmin, spring rolls and momos are just a few dishes that are not only the favourites but part of of Nepalese cuisine which has it’s unique nepali style flavours. The use of sichuan pepper in newari food shows the similarity with sichuan cuisine. I’ve been to few sichuan restaurants here in Oz and the flavours reminds me of newari food.

You can find chicken chilli in every menu in the restaurant. It’s my regular order along with momo and chowmin. This dish is also served as an appetizer in Nepalese parties.

Here is my version on chicken chilli recipe.

Ingredients
For Marinade
1 kilo of Chicken Thigh Fillets
1 tablespoon garlic paste
1 tablespoon ginger paste
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon chilli powder (or as per your taste)
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
2 tablespoon corn starch powder
1 large egg
Half of lemon juice
Salt as per taste

Oil to deep fry
2 onion cut in quartered
2 medium sized quartered tomatoes
3 mushroom quartered
2 sprigs of spring onion cut in an angle
Salt
Dash of soy sauce
4 fresh chillies
2 tablespoon ketchup

(Original recipe uses 1 capsicum instead of mushroom)

Cut chicken into cubes and mix all the marinde ingredients into chicken. Leave chicken overnight or at least one hour for flavours to infuse.

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Heat oil for deep frying. When oil is hot, fry chicken in batches until golden brown. Remove chicken off the pan and set aside.

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In a pan, heat 3 tablespoon of oil and add onion, mushroom. Sauté it for 2-3 minutes then add tomatoes and fresh chillies . Add pinch of salt, splash of soy sauce and 2 tablespoon of ketchup ( I used Heinz fiery ketchup. It’s quite hot).

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Add fried chicken and stir well. Add 3 tablespoon of water to make it moist and saucy. Stir fry for 2 more minutes. Add spring onion.

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Serve with a bowl of steamed rice or on it’s own as a great appetizer.

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Chhoila or Choila (Grilled Spiced meat)

Chhoila is one of the popular spicy meat dish. It’s an authentic recipe from newari cuisine. It is eaten as a snack or an entree.

There are two types of chhoila dish, the grilled chhoila (Haku chhoila- black grilled meat) and mana chhoila (boiled meat).

In newari cuisine this is a much loved meat dish which is also part of samey baji (beaten rice with assortment of bean, meat, spicy potato, lentil patty, soyabean and achar).

Traditionally chhoila is made buffalo meat by roasting in the open fire made from hay. As only the tender cut of meat is used, the hay fire quickly chars the meat on the outside but cooking it only medium rare. This method infuses meat with a smoky and earthy flavour which is just out of this world.

The mana chhoila usually is made from offals like tripe and liver. It’s an exquisite but acquired taste. The aromatic spices and herbs make it a delectable dish.

Chhoila is made on special festivals as part of samey baji but it is also eaten as part of lunch or dinner. There’s a slight variation to this dish when it is made for regular meal. The grilled tomato purée is added to chhoila to be eaten with rice, veggies and curries.

I always make this dish when I have a craving for a spicy and hot food. It’s so simple and easy yet very tasty dish.
The beauty about Nepali cuisine and or newari cuisine is the variations it allows based on individual’s preference. You can try different versions of the same dish. The spices could be adjusted more or less on personal preference.

During winter you can get tender greens of garlic (leek). It’s not as big and fat as the ones we get here. It’s more like spring onion with flat leaves. The leek is finely chopped and added raw to chhoila mixed with all the lovely spices. This leek enhances the taste making it garlicky flavour and also adds a texture making it crunchy and fresh.

With this recipe, you can add grilled tomato paste to make it moist.

Here’s the recipe:
(Recommend to take a mint after to freshen your breath as this dish use raw garlic)

Ingredients
800 grams Meat
(I used chicken breast but you can use any tender cut of red meat)

6-8 cloves of garlic
Knob of ginger
1/2 tablespoon of chilli (or as per your preference)
10-12 Szechwan pepper (timoor)
Salt as per taste

2 tablespoon of oil (mustard oil for more authentic taste)
Dash of lemon juice
1/2 cup of chopped coriander
3-4 whole red chillies
10 Fenugreek seeds
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
Pinch of asafetida (if available)

Grill the chicken breast for 5 minutes on each side ensuring meat is cooked through but still tender and moist.

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In mortar and pestle, pound fresh garlic (6-8) cloves and a knob of ginger (size of a thumb). Add red chilli powder, schewuan pepper and salt making it a fine paste.

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After meat is cooked, rest it for 5-10 minutes. Cut chicken into bite size pieces and put it in a bowl. Mix the spice paste with chicken.

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In a pan, heat oil and add fenugreek seed. Pop the seeds until it turns black. Take it off the heat. Add turmeric, asafetida and whole chilles and tip it onto the chicken chhoila.

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Add dash of lemon and chopped coriander and it’s ready to be served.

Serve chhoila with rice and curry or with salad or on it’s own as you please.

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