For the wrappers
- 400 g maida (all-purpose flour)
- 8 g salt
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 200 g warm water
For the filling
- 540 g fatty minced pork
- 135 g onions
- 135 g green onions
- 30 g coriander
- 25 g green chillies
- 25 g ginger
- 30 g pork fat/lard
- 10 g salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- ½ tsp MSG
- 40 g soy sauce
In this recipe, we try our hand at our beloved steamed pork momos! Apart from recipes for a juicy and flavourful filling, we also tackle how to make and roll out the thin wrappers and pleat the momos, as well as how to prepare the hot momo chutney and hearty momo soup.
- This recipe calls for fatty minced pork (at least 30 to 50 per cent fat), as that's what contributes to the 'juiciness' of the filling. If you are shopping for pork in Calcutta, just ask for ‘momo pork keema’ at shops such as UP Cold Storage (New Market) or Chaman’s (Beckbagan), and the butchers will be able to give you a mince with the ideal fat to meat ratio! Pork shoulder and pork belly are good cuts for sourcing momo meat from.
- Adding a good proportion of veggies to the pork will keep the pork separate and prevent it from clumping when cooked.
- Recent studies have shown that MSG (Mono-sodium Glutamate)—often referred to by its brand name Ajinamoto—is not a harmful substance. It is a naturally occurring salt of sodium (just like table salt) derived from seaweeds that quickly and cheaply lends your dish an umami flavour. Glutamate salts are present in everyday food including tomatoes, mushrooms, meat, milk, cheese, and even human breast milk. Some people may be allergic to MSG—just like people are allergic to eggs, gluten, etc. If you are one of those people, certainly stay away from food that contains MSG, including all packaged chips, soups, instant ramens, etc. But for the vast majority of us, MSG is safe to eat. You can read more about it here, here, and here. You can also watch David Chang's "Ugly Delicious" on Netflix, Season 1, Episode 7 on fried rice.
Knead the dough
- Take maida, salt, baking powder and warm water in the given proportions. Mix until the dough just about comes together.
- Knead the dough continuously for 10 minutes. It will seem too dry at first but resist the urge to add more water. The dough will hydrate a bit when rested.
- Once the dough is smooth, place it inside a plastic bag, tie up the mouth, and allow it to rest for 60 minutes.
Prepare the filling
- While the dough is resting, prepare the filling.
- Finely chop onions, ginger, green chillies, coriander leaves, and green onions. Finely chopping the vegetables will help them cook quickly while steaming. If you are using pork fat or lard, mince it thoroughly.
- In a mixing bowl, add the minced pork; chopped onions, ginger, green chillies, coriander leaves, and green onions; pork fat/lard or butter; and salt, pepper, soy sauce and MSG.
- Mix everything thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavours to mingle. Refrigerating the filling overnight is ideal, as it will allow the flavours to mingle.
Roll out the wrappers
- Once you are satisfied the dough is well-rested, divide it into tiny (10–12 g) portions. Keep the pieces you are not using inside the plastic bag, to prevent them from drying out.
- To roll the wrappers thin, such that the edges are extra-thin (to account for the bulk that the edges will add once the momos are pleated), hold the piece of dough with one hand and roll over the sides, frequently rotating the dough, with the other. For a visual representation of how it is done, watch this video.
- If you are new at making this, and speed is not your forte, try not to stack too many rolled-out wrappers together, as there is a chance they might stick. It would be best to work with a friend, with one of you rolling the wrappers, and the other filling and pleating the momos.
Fill, pleat, steam
- Divide the pork mixture into 20 g portions. If you are not adept at filling momos, it helps to keep the divided pork mixture chilled until needed.
- Grease your steamer tray with oil and keep at the ready.
- Take a momo wrapper. Apply water along its circumference. Place the filling in the middle.
- Now, use your left hand's middle finger to push and keep the filling inside while using your left hand's thumb and index finger to form pleats. Again, for a visual representation, watch this video. Beginners can start with a little less filling for practice.
- Arrange the momos in the steamer, and steam on medium heat for 12 minutes (±2 minutes), until the wrappers are cooked. Be careful not to overcook.
- Serve hot with momo soup and red hot momo chutney.
- Mixing bowl
- Plastic bag