Momos: a juicy Tibetan tradition
Momos (Tibetan dumplings) are shaped by hand with minimal tools: a flat rolling pin, loose flour, and nimble fingers. Each family's recipe depends on their personal tastes and the resources available to them. In nomad families in Tibet, the main fillings are sheep and yak meat -- vegetables are scarce but include wild greens -- along with an extremely spicy chilli sauce.
Steamed or fried?
Momos (shown left raw, prior to steaming or frying) are round dumplings filled with yak or sheep mutton meat and vegetables and twisted closed. A tiny hole at the top emits steam as the filling cooks - the Momos remain juicy while the doughy skins become light and stretchy.
Momos come in all shapes and sizes, and each design has a fable of its own: for example, Tsi-Tsi (like a mouse), and Dawa (like a moon). Some designs work better for soup because their folds can cup the soup; others are more suitable for frying because their flat bottoms become crispy!
Lamb, beef, chicken, vegan?
More common in India and the USA than Tibet, Tibetans use lamb, beef, or even chicken, with more vegetables like laboo kharpo (white daikon radish), chik-tsay (Chinese chives), red onion and cabbage, and green onions.
How do I eat them?
Pick the hot dumpling up with your hand (steamed & fried Momos) or with chopsticks or spoon (Chu-Mok). Tilt it up and take a little bite out of the bottom side of the dough, and slurp out the juice inside! Then dip the dumpling in sepen (chilli sauce) and take a bigger bite. Repeat until full.