In many places in India, Nepal or Bhutan, momos are typically accompanied with a bowl of clear, comforting pork, beef or chicken soup.

[In this series, we tip our hats to some of our favourite dishes available in the restaurants, cafés, and cabins of Calcutta. Our purpose in doing so is to document their existence, and give people a way to recreate them if they happen to live away from the city. Make these at home, or hunt them down from the source—irrespective of how you get your hands on these items, we hope you enjoy them.]

Order a plate of momos anywhere in and around the Himalayan region, and in most cases it is sure to be accompanied with a bowl of hot momo soup. It is a clear broth, comforting—you can even call it fortifying—and always complimentary. The momo soup recipe is the result of trying to use up throwaway items such as animal or bird carcass and bones, vegetable shavings, and so on.

This is a momo soup recipe that can be customised for pork, beef, or chicken bones. Normally, you would serve pork soup with pork momos, beef soup with beef momos, and so on. Here, we show you how you can get a potent and flavourful soup, with tips that will help produce a clear, non-cloudy, broth.

This broth can also be used as stock in the base of other, more elaborate soups, gravies, curries, etc.


COOKING TIME 3–5 hours (including 2–4 hours of boiling time)
YIELDS 1 litre / 5 cups of broth


Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 kg Pork/beef/chicken bones; feet are best
350 g Onions (quartered)
350 g Carrots (5-cm chunks)
2 pcs Bay leaves
10 pcs Peppercorns
1.8 litres Water
2 tbsp Salt (for cleaning bones plus seasoning)
1 tsp Vinegar (for cleaning bones)

Equipment

  • Boiling pot
  • Strainer | colander

Appliances

  • Stove

Method

[Note: Follow the steps from the beginning for pork or beef soup. Start from Step 3 for chicken soup.]

  1. Sprinkle 1 tbsp of salt over the bones and rub them well. Salt acts as an abrasive, helping clean the bones and remove their sliminess.
  2. Add 1 tsp vinegar, cover the bones with water, and allow them to soak for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, discard the water and rinse the bones thoroughly.
  3. Transfer the bones to a boiling pot. Fill the pot with hot water and gently simmer for 10 minutes. This will dislodge any impurities present in the bones and they will float to the top. Do not stir or disturb the pot. Simply discard the water, getting rid of all the impurities. This will help get a clear broth later on.
  4. Rinse the bones thoroughly, one last time, and return them to the pot, along with the onions, carrots, bay leaves, peppercorns, and 1.8 litres of water (at room temperature).
  5. Boil on the lowest possible heat for 2–4 hours. Don’t let the broth bubble; it should just simmer very gently. Don’t cover the pot. All these measures will also ensure that you get a clear soup.
  6. Strain the broth and season it with salt. Garnish with spring onions and freshly cracked pepper before serving.

Served with