Calcutta has embraced the momo with an unconditional love Bengalis reserve only for good food.
[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.]
This pork momo recipe is ideal for chilly winter evenings. Here, we show you how make momos—steamed dumplings that originated possibly in Tibet and are a staple in Nepal, Sikkim, Darjeeling and Bhutan. There is nothing quite like biting into juicy a momo that is bursting with the juices and fat from the meat and vegetables. A good pork momo is a joy to eat.
This recipe for the momo filling calls for some very simple ingredients, the most essential among which is fatty minced pork, containing at least 30 to 50 per cent fat. 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! The pork shoulder and pork belly are good cuts for using in momos.
Serve it with a simple hot momo chutney and a bowl of momo soup.
COOKING TIME 5 hours (including 3 hours of wait time)
YIELDS 48 momos (6 servings)
calories 76 kcal per momo
|540 g||Fatty minced pork (30–50% fat)|
|135 g||Green onions|
|25 g||Green chillies|
|30 g||Coriander leaves|
|30 g||Pork fat / butter|
|40 g||Soy sauce|
|48 pcs||Momo wrappers|
|2 tsp||Oil (for greasing)|
- Mixing bowl
- Finely chop the onions, green onions, coriander, ginger, and green chillies. In a momo, since all the ingredients are steamed at the same time, cutting the vegetables finely ensures that they all cook together. Besides, you don’t want a large chunk of, say, onion in your momo, rather a little bit of everything in each bite. This step is the most important, so take you time with the chopping.
- If using pork fat, hack it to a mince using your knife. If using butter, melt it in a microwave or over the stove.
- To a mixing bowl, transfer the minced pork, chopped vegetables, and the fat/butter. To these, add the salt, pepper, MSG, and soy sauce.
- Mix thoroughly until everything is well combined. Cover and set it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours, although it is best if you can do this overnight. This standing time will allow all the flavours to mingle together. Moreover, chilling the pork mix makes the job of filling the momos infinitely easier.
- Now make the momo wrappers as shown in this video.
- Divide the pork mix into 20 g portions. Place these back in the fridge to chill until you need them. We like to portion our filling on two separate plates, so that one can stay in the fridge until the one you’re currently using gets warm, in which case you can just switch out the plates. That way, you always have a batch of chilled pork.
- Take a momo wrapper and place the pork mix at its centre. Apply water all around the edges of the wrapper and start pleating. Use your left hand to form the pleats and keep the filling inside, and right hand to pinch the pleats closed. If you’re just starting out, try resting the momos on the table for easier shaping. Beginners may also use a little less filling to practice with. For a demonstration, watch this video. Make sure that the momos are perfectly sealed and that there are no air pockets within. These might cause the momos to burst while steaming.
- Grease the steaming dish with oil and arrange the momos on it. Don’t crowd the steamer. Place it over boiling water and steam for around 12 minutes (±2 minutes). You don’t want to overcook the momos, or they’ll become dry and chewy.
- Transfer to a plate immediately and serve with hot soup and chutney.