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Saturday, July 16, 2016

Chp 617. How to make pork momos

Now let me clear a very popular misconception about momos here in India. Yes, momo is one of the traditional food of Sikkim, Bhutan, Tibet and parts of Nepal. No, momo is not the traditional food of most North-Eastern states. But yes, momo is quite popular in the North-East, just as it is popular in Delhi, Bangalore etc.

There, I've said it.

People who assume that all North-Easterners eat just momos every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner, are either displaying their low level of ignorance, or they have no sense of a healthy balance diet :P

Momos are awesome. But credit should be given where it is due, and unfortunately, it is not an indigenous origin of most North-Eastern communities. But we love it, and in Mizoram, you'll find many tea-stalls serving it as an afternoon snack (like I mentioned in this Quora article, we Mizos don't have a concept of "lunch").

The other day, my dear friend and blogger Blackestred invited me over to his pad for a pork momo dinner. And when I saw the way he made the momos, I decided to document it for my blog. So, here it is, for those of you who might be interested in making simple home-made pork momos. The process is really simple, and I'm not going to use hi-fi culinary words such as 2 tbsp, 1/4 olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon table salt and stuff. Just simple English for a simple recipe. :)

Here goes...

First of all, we need to divide the momo making process into four different parts. Think of it like how a good rock band is comprised of a vocalist, a lead guitarist, a bass guitarist and a drummer. Or in a more techie term, a scrum master dividing a project cycle into four different sprints :P

First of all, there is the meat (pork in this case), then the outer covering, followed by the chutney, and finally the soup, which is optional. Together, they form the fantastic four that we all love.

Step 1. The Pork.

Buy the raw meat from your local butcher or departmental store. The quantity depends on how much you're planning to make. No need to go all extravaganza by buying imported pork ribs or chorizo and stuff, just a normal local pig will suffice.

Put the meat in a pressure cooker and fill it up with water and cook it. That's it.

Once the pork has been cooked, take it out and wait for it to cool. DO NOT throw the water used in cooking, this will be explained in Step 4.

Cut the cooked pork into tiny tiny pieces.

Now take a few lokis and cut them up into equally tiny pieces. Usually, we use squash for this part, but since we don't get squash here in Pune, loki is the next closest thing.

Mix the tiny pieces of pork and loki really well. Add a few small pieces of ginger, garlic and onion as well, along with salt to taste.

And that is it, my friends. The meat filling is ready!

Step 2: The Dough.

Now making the outer covering is very simple. It just takes a little bit of time kneading the dough. Take maida flour, mix little amount of water, and work it, work it, work it, keep grinding until you get the desired dough.

Cut it up into small pieces and flatten it with your rolling pin.

Now you don't have to make them perfectly round. I'll explain why shortly. Just keep rolling the dough, in any damn shape that you want, and place them between sheets of newspapers to prevent them from sticking to each other.

Now take a medium-sized container cap, or anything that is not too large, and divide the flattened dough into smaller circular shapes as depicted below

And with that, the dough is now ready!

Step 3: The Chutney.

The chutney is a very important element of a momo's life-cycle, just as how sambar and coconut chutney are an intrinsic part of a dosa or idli dish. This is also quite easy to make. Now there are various ways of making chutney, with different ingredients. I believe this is one of the simplest recipes out there.

Just take a couple of dry red chillies as you can see from above, and boil them in water. I call these large red chillis "tadka chillis" because I find them in almost every tadka dish :P Also the reason why I call them by that different name is because to most of my Mainland Indian friends, when people say dry red chillies, you picture the above chillies immediately, but for us North-Easterners, our idea of a "dry red chilly" is very different - it is much smaller than the above, and twenty times hotter! :D

Simultaneously, boil a couple of tomatoes, and once done, peel the skin.

Remove the stem of the boiled chillies above and mix them with the peeled boiled tomatoes. Grind them together in a mixie. Add salt to taste, and there you have it, your awesome chutney is now ready!

Step 4: The Soup.

Remember the water used in cooking the pork?

Add some chopped coriander leaves to it. Use this same water now to steam the momos.

And that's all. You can use this as a side soup once the momos are cooked.

Now that you have all four main elements ready, time to fill up the momos!

The Actual Preparation

First, apply some oil on the steamer sieves to prevent the momos from sticking to the pan. 

Take the dough, and place small quantities of the pork mixture on it.

Now there are many ways of filling up the dough. One easy method is to close up the dough (making them stick to each other) on top. This is quicker to make, but you also end up with a lot of dough on the top.

Another method is the more common shape that we find in restaurants and roadside momo stalls, and that is closing up the dough on top in a long line.

This takes a bit more time to make and involves using both your fingers. Your fingers need to be in sync with each other as they move seamlessly in a clockwork rhythmic fashion "stitching" the dough together.

Once done, place them in the greased sieves and cook it! Like I mentioned earlier, use the same water you used to cook the pork in the steamer pot.

It's takes around 20 minutes to cook an entire batch.

So simple, so yum, and so filling!

Have it with the chutney and soup.

Bon App├ętit, my friends. Hope you were able to find this blog post helpful. And many thanx to Chef Blackestred for the food and instruction.


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