As crocuses start peeking from behind fronds of grass, lawns turn a lush green again, and the unmistakable sights and sounds of spring fill the cool, crisp, New England air, my heart fills with joy as I look forward to taking long walks with my husband and serving meals al fresco on the patio again. There is something so invigorating and refreshing about the air quality in the middle of spring in New England, that I find myself lingering outside, soaking in all that nature has to offer, and conjuring dishes that tap into mother nature’s boundless bounty!
Momos is one such nature inspired dish, that combines the delicious crunch of garden fresh vegetables, lightly sautéed to maintain their freshness, with the bite of ginger, garlic and green chilies or the spicy tang of hot sauce. These vegetables are then bundled in the delectable, light and translucent dumplings to make a melt-in the mouth appetizer that is sure to have your guests and family clamoring for more. Momos are a type of dumpling that are native to Nepal, and resemble the Japanese gyozo.
Yield: 8 dumplings
For the filling:
- 1 tbsp peanut or sesame oil
- 1/2 cup each, finely grated or chopped cabbage, carrots and green beans
- 1/4 cup each, red and orange bell peppers
- 1 tsp ginger, minced
- 1 tsp garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup, finely chopped yellow onions
- 1/2 cup finely chopped scallions
- 1 small green chili, seeded and finely chopped, or dash of hot sauce (optional)
- 1 tsp low sodium soy sauce, or to taste ( optional)
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
For the cover:
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour + a few tbsp. more for dusting pastry board
- 1 tsp oil
- 3 tbsp. water
- pinch of salt
- Prepare the dough first by mixing all-purpose flour, salt and oil in a small bowl.
- Add the water 1-2 tsp at a time, and knead to form a stiff dough.
- Set aside, covered under a moist cheese cloth for about 30 minutes or so, while you prepare the filling.
- In the meantime, heat a thick bottomed pan on medium heat and add the oil.
- Add the chopped, green chili until it sizzles, just a few seconds. Watch for signs of burning and adjust heat if needed.
- Add onions, sauteing until onions are translucent, a couple of minutes
- Add scallions, ginger and garlic, and soy sauce, stirring for a few more minutes.
- Now stir in the green beans and cook for a few minutes until green beans begin to soften. You may sprinkle a few drops of water into the pan if they remain firm and uncooked.
- Now add the peppers, cabbage and carrots in that order, stirring for a minute or so between each addition.
- Add salt and pepper stirring until well blended, and veggies are crisp-tender.
- Set mixture aside to cool
Method for making the cover:
- Divide the dough equally into 8 small balls.
- Sprinkle a little all-purpose flour on a pastry board, marble slab, or any flat, clean surface such as the back of a flat plate, if you do not have a pastry board.
- Place one of the balls of dough on the pastry board and roll out a thin circle, thicker in the middle, thin at the edges, approximately 3.5-4″ in diameter. Use extra flour as needed so dough does not stick. The circle of dough needs to be thin and somewhat translucent.
- Place approximately 1 tsp or slightly more of filling, in the middle of the circle of dough.
- Keep the circle of dough on the pastry board for support, and starting with the end facing you, gently pinch a part of the dough to create a “pleat” or one of the “petals” of the dumpling, so to speak.
- Moving anti-clockwise, keep creating tiny, narrow, pleats as close to each other as possible, until you come back to where you started.
- Bring all the pleats to the center and pinch them together to form a cone pointing upward as shown in the picture below.
- The more pleats you can create in a dumpling, the prettier it will look, once all is said and done.
- Steam in a steamer bowl, placed in a rice cooker for about 6-7 minutes until dumplings are cooked through and begin to look “glossy”.
- Serve warm with tomato chutney.
- Prepared dumplings should be placed in an airtight container to keep them moist and soft.
A Registered Dietitian’s tip:
Steaming these dumplings instead of deep-frying, saves a boatload of calories, making them lighter and easier to digest. The recipe blends a plethora of nutrients such as beta carotene from carrots and peppers, vitamin C and powerful antioxidants from the cabbage, as well as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds from the ginger and garlic.
Disclaimer: This blog is strictly for informational purposes, and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult your personal physician or registered dietitian for recommendations tailored to your specific needs.