Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tibetan Momo - Served in a Home Away from Home

Momo in Fresh Tomato Curry

Pokhara Valley

Tashi Palkhiel Refugee Settlement

Housing Area of Settlement

Community Hall

Settlement Monastery

Young Monks Following Induction Ceremony

A Break in the School Day


Settlement Home for the Elderly

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...In Tibetan Buddhist tradition, it is expected that the second son of each family will enter the monastery and study to become a monk. I mention that because Bob and I had a tour guide who was the first son of one of the families who fled Tibet and formed the Tashi Palkhiel Refugee Camp in Pokhara, Nepal. That relationship led to one of the most beautiful and moving experiences of our trip. Good fortune put us in the refugee camp on a day when a new monk was entering the community and, thanks to the intervention of the second son, we were invited attend the ceremony. It was quite beautiful, replete with chanting that included the use of drums and the dungchen, or longhorn trumpet. Following the service we toured the camp to see how these folks had adjusted to their new environment. As might be expected, the young had no problems but their elders still clung to the hope of returning to a free Tibet. The community is remarkably cohesive and remains distinctly Tibetan despite living in the heart of Nepal.

I was curious to see how their diet differed from that of the Nepalese or Indian people. In truth, if the foods I sampled were typical, they are very similar. Tibetan food used Szechwan pepper to provide heat rather than the cayenne or red pepper that's used in India or Nepal and, while it is no where near as refined as the best of Indian cooking, the ingredients used are basically the same and similar dishes are produced. I sampled a soupy stew, dumplings, a bread and two desserts. I can't claim to be an expert based on that, but from that list I picked the dish I think you'll most enjoy. The recipe is for dumplings. Dumplings are a lot of work and it would help to have someone working with you should you decide to make them. The recipe is straight forward and if you are a dumpling lover you might want to give it a try. Here's the recipe.

Tibetan Momo...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite

Dough for wrappers:
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup water or as required
Pinch of salt
1 lb. ground lamb
1 lb. ground pork
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1 cup Napa cabbage, finely chopped
1 cup mushroom, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1/2 teaspoon Szechwan pepper
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons cooking oil
Salt and Pepper

1) For stuffing mixture, combine all filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix well, adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow all ingredients to meld.
2) In a large bowl combine flour, oil, salt and water. Mix well, knead until dough becomes homogeneous in texture, about 10 minutes. Cover and let stand for at least 15 min. Knead well again before making wrappers. Prepare 1-in. diameter dough balls. It is recommended to work with a dozen or so balls at a time to prevent drying. Take a dough ball, roll between your palms to spherical shape. Dust working board with dry flour. On board gently flatten ball with your palm. Then roll out into 3-in diameter wrapper. Repeat with remaining dough balls. Cover with bowl to prevent from drying.
3) For packing hold wrapper on one palm, put one tablespoon of filling mixture and with other hand bring all edges together to center, while making pleats. Pinch and twist pleats to ensure absolute closure of stuffed dumpling.
4) Oil a steamer rack. Bring water in steamer to a boil. Place uncooked dumplings in steamer, leaving some space between them. Cover steamer and cook until dumplings are cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes.Remove dumplings from steamer and serve warm with a sauce of your choosing. In Tibet momos are served with a sour pickle called achar.

You might also enjoy these recipes:
Indian Dumpling Basics - Asian Dumpling Tips
Chinese Dumpling Recipes - Asian Dumpling Tips
Nepalese Dumplings - World Recipes
Tibetan Food - Yowangdu
The Dali Lama's Momos - Palachinka
Nepaese Vegetable and Cheese Dumplings - The Global Gourmet


Heather Dawn said...

This is an amazing trip and adventure. Thank you so much for sharing. I love the recipe. I can't wait to try it.

Jeannie said...

what a lovely dish! Very similar to the chinese dumplings. Another eye opening post of your trip. Hope you have a wonderful weekend:)

Pondside said...

What things you've seen!
Dumplings are something I've never tried to make - always put off by how labour intensive they are. I love to eat them but am too lazy to make them!

Ginny Hartzler said...

What a great variety of wonderful pictures! I love the monks and the colorful banners! and those school children! they must love having that break, is that what they are giggling about? Strange about the second son, in most places it's the eldest. Perhaps the eldest is needed at home or to take care of the parents later in life?

Zurin said...

I envy you your travel experiences and connections with the people you meet. Truly wonderful.

the dumplings looks very lovely! one day i will try making dumplings when I have teh courage. They look absolutely yummy:)

My Little Space said...

Oh my, such beautiful photos! It's a great experience and very adventurous. It doesn't matter at all about all those falls & slipped. It's so worth it! As I told you, this is something you'll never forget for the rest of your life. Your dumplings look as good, Mary. Have a great weekend.
Cheers, Kristy

Nammi said...

wow so this is the famous momo, my niece who is 8 , raves about a momo she ate in nepal :), looks delicious

Flavia Galasso said...

MAry...your recipes are always wonderful...but even reading your posts is a fantastic experience of life..than you.... (sorry for my english), blessings and have a nice Sunday, ciao Flavia

Flavia Galasso said...

MAry...your recipes are always wonderful...but even reading your posts is a fantastic experience of life..than you.... (sorry for my english), blessings and have a nice Sunday, ciao Flavia

penny aka jeroxie said...

This is a beautiful dish! Thanks for sharing your travel adventure.

Rita said...

Lovely photos Mary; the elderly at the end made me stop and look again. Great recipe and sounds like a great experience.
Happy Sunday.

Kim said...

I love momos and I like your photos, so beautiful, so colorfull!

Big Dude said...

I sure am enjoying your trip thanks for the the great shots.

Chef E said...

What a great post! I love learning this stuff...I have to visit India one day, part of my destiny!

kitchen flavours said...

This is a lovely post. I've always been fascinated with Tibet. The dumplings are really similar to the Chinese dumplings, looks really yummy! Have a lovely week.

Lucie said...

Mary, I just got back from a weekend trip and here you are, making me travel once again! Seeing your pictures and reading your stories has been a treat. The momos sound like a delight and I'm going to fix myself a chai tea this afternoon!

Cooking Gallery said...

What a beautiful post and the pictures are wonderful as well. I have been wanting to make momo for quite some time because I adore dumplings in general...!

Kath said...

Momo is new to me!It looks fabulous. I love your beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing!

Lori said...

Oh indeed I would love this. Perfect dumplings.

How neat you were there for that ceremony. My husband and I watched a program called a search for the reincarnated lama. It was interesting. One of my favorite shows from PBS. Eye opening, fascinating and moving.

Happy Sunday and welcome home Mary.

Unknown said...

What a great opportunity you had in being able to be at that village on that day! I love dumplings, though time consuming, they are definitely worth it and these look like no exception!

Cathy said...

Your photos are wonderful, Mary. What an adventure. Thanks so much for giving us a glimpse into that part of the world.

Joanne said...

A dumpling lover I definitely am and the filling for these sounds fantastic! I love how you immersed yourself into Tibetan culture. I feel like I'm walking through the land with you in these pictures!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

What an amazing journey Mary being able to attend the ceremony and experience the culture and every day lives of the locals. That is my kind of vacation where you are able to immerse yourself and have a better understanding. As for the dumplings they are reniniscent of dim sum dumplings but packed with more flavour. These cultures really do intertwine.

Claudia said...

What a life-affirming eperience. And that includes the dumplings.

Julie said...

What beautiful photos! Your trip sounds amazing! These dumplings look delicious!!

Nina Timm said...

This is so amazing to take this trip with you!! Spectacular photos and the dumplings look a treat!!

giorno26 ¸¸.•*¨*•. said...

Che belle foto Mary :)
e il cibo deve essere veramente dlizioso !!!
Buona domenica :)

nannykim said...

Beautiful pictures!! Interesting food!

Katerina said...

I loved the pictures. The dish as expected quite unique and unusual. I love them. Thanks for sharing Mary!

Priya Suresh said...

Beautiful clicks...fantastic momos..

Farmer Jo said...

I love momos and ate far too many while staying in Nepal. I finally learned how to make them in Portland from a Tibetian family I tutored. I came over one Saturday and the dad started chopping the pork - off the leg, with a huge cleaver and a round of wood as a cutting board.
He also included a long, herb that looked like grass that I still have no idea what it is.
They took all day, but they were the best momos I have ever eaten!

I love reading about your travels!

Create. Snap. Eat. said...

Absolutely gorgeous! And love the presentation. Excellent work.

Julie M. said...

Wow Mary! This trip looks like it was a once in a lifetime experience. Your pictures are beautiful. This dish sounds really tasty as well.

JG said...

Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos. I'm enjoying learning about another part of our world. The dumplings are so plump.

Faith said...

Mary, what an amazing experience, being immersed in Tibetan culture like that. Thank you for sharing the information and beautiful pictures with us. And the momo, which looks fantastic!

Kerstin said...

What an amazing trip - gorgeous! I'm so impressed your made your own dumplings too - they look perfect!

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