Jhol Momo (Dumplings)




1 hr


12 min


For the wrappers:

If you’re really not into putting in any effort, you can buy ready-made wrappers for dumplings/wonton from Asian grocery stores. If you want the ~real~ deal, here’s how to make them at home.

4 cups white flour
water, as needed
1 tbsp vegetable oil

For the meat filling:

500 gm ‏ground chicken + 500 gm ground pork
2 ‏red onions, finely chopped
1 bulb ‏garlic, minced
1½ cups ‏cilantro leaves, chopped
½ tbsp ‏turmeric
2 tbsp ‏salt
4 tbsp ‏vegetable oil
1 tsp ‏ground cumin
1 tsp ‏ground coriander
½ tsp ‏curry powder

For the jhol/chutney:

9-10 medium tomatoes
1 bulb garlic
3 dried red chillies
3 fresh green chillies
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp white sesame seeds
1 cup cilantro, finely chopped
½ tsp sichuan peppercorns
10-12 fenugreek seeds
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp salt (or to taste)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp hogplum powder (or juice from 1 lemon)

Momo is one of the most popular dishes in Nepal. These are steamed dumplings made with spiced meat fillings, and served with one or more kinds of chutney — in Kathmandu, the capital, buffalo momos are very popular. Jhol Momo refers to momos drowned in a bowl of hot, liquid chutney.

Unlike other style of dumplings from around the world (Japanese gyoza, Mongolian Buuz or Georgian Kinkhali), Nepali momos have rich flavor of spices and a particular kick to them. This recipe will teach you how to make the dough wrappers, the meat filling and the chutney in separate steps. Keep in mind, you’ll need a steamer to make them.

Directions for wrappers: In a large bowl, combine flour, water and a little bit of oil. Use your hands to mix and knead for about 10 minutes, until the dough becomes soft. Cover and let it sit for about half an hour.

Take the dough out of the bowl and knead it on a wooden surface. Pull out small portions and start making 1-inch balls. Flatten them on your palm and on the wooden surface or a rolling plate, start flattening the ball with a rolling pin to create circular wrappers with thin edges, and the size of your palm.

You can also flatten the entire dough (before making tiny balls) across the wooden surface, and use a circular glass to cut the dough into smaller wrappers.

This video might help if you feel a bit lost.

Directions for filling: Combine pork, chicken, onion, garlic, ginger, and cilantro in a large bowl and mix with your hands. Sprinkle turmeric, salt, curry powder, ground cumin and coriander and oil on top, and make sure everything is thoroughly mixed. I usually take a pinch of the mixture and microwave it in a small bowl for 30 seconds to test if the salt and spices are to taste. Adjust accordingly and mix again.

For vegetarians: Boil potatoes and mash them, and mix with chopped cabbage and chives. All other ingredients would be similar to the one above.

Directions for jhol/chutney: Roast the tomatoes and garlic in the oven for about 20-25 minutes. Then in a pan, roast cumin and sesame seeds together and then set them aside. In the same pan, heat some oil and fry fenugreek seeds and sichuan pepper. Put in the onions and saute them until they’re caramelized. Then put in the roasted tomatoes and garlic, dried hogplum skin (you can use lemon juice or a bit of tamarind instead as well), roasted cumin and sesame seeds, green and red chillies and bring the mixture to a boil. Add sprigs of cilantro to the mixture and stir. Let it cool down for about 5-10 minutes, and then using a blender, puree the entire thing to make a sauce. Add water and blend if you prefer a more soupy chutney, aka jhol.

Wrapping momos: You’re almost there, but first, you’ll have to wrap the momos. This is an important part of the entire momo experience and it requires a bit of patience and bit of technique.

Here’s the one I learned growing up — Hold a wrapper in your fingers and using a fork, put a scoop of mince mixture in the middle of the wrapper. Pinch the side of the wrapper and then raise the front part of the wrapper with your thumb. Make a crease with your other index finger. Repeat this until you close the wrapper into the shape of a half moon. You can use your second thumb to press the meat so it’s not spilling out of the wrapper as you wrap and make those creases.

This video shows the various ways you can wrap dumplings. For Nepali momos, aim for #5, #6 or #7.

Cooking momos: Heat a steamer on top of a stove. Make sure there’s enough water at the bottom to boil. Rub oil generously on the steamer rack to make sure the dumplings don’t stick to them when cooking. Arrange the dumplings on the steamer rack and then cook covered for about 12 minutes. If your steamer has more than one rack (most Asian steamers do), cook for the first 10 minutes, and then switch the steamer rack at the bottom to the top and then vice versa. Then cook for about 2-3 more minutes.

Put them in a bowl, and pour the chutney from the top. I like my momos swimming in the jhol. Serve them hot.

By the way, leftover momos are absolutely amazing, and best when pan-fried in lots of butter for about 5-10 minutes until the wrappers look crispy and brown. Serve with the same chutney, hot or cold.

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