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Momo (food)

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Momo nepal.jpg
A typical serving of a plate of momo with sesame yellow and red garlic chilli sauce
CourseAppetizers or entrees
Place of originEast Asia and South Asia
Region or stateTibet, Ladakh,Sikkim,[1] and Darjeeling[1]
Associated national cuisineNepal, India,[1] Bhutan
Created byTibetan people or Nepali Newar merchants
Main ingredientsWhite-flour-and-water dough; meat, vegetable or cheese filling served with tomato and sesame chutney dip, tomato soup, soybean and sesame soup.
VariationsSteam-momo, Kothey momo, C-momo, Fry-momo, Open-momo, fried momo
Food energy
(per serving)
350 to 1000 (35 to 100 per piece) kcal

Momo is a type of East and South Asian steamed filled dumpling, popular across the Indian subcontinent and the Himalayan regions of East-South Asia border.[1] Momos are native to Southwest Chinese region of Tibet,Nepal,Bhutan, North Indian region of Ladakh,[1] Northeast Indian regions of Sikkim and Darjeeling[1].It is similar to Chinese baozi, jiaozi, and mantou, Mongolian buuz, Japanese gyoza, Korean mandu and Turkic manti, but heavily influenced by cuisine of the Indian subcontinent with Indian spices and herbs. Momos are extremely popular among the natives of the Indian subcontinent, and can be found in every kind of shop from restaurants to street vendors.[1]


In Shanxi, where Jin Chinese is spoken, unfilled buns are often called momo (饃饃), which is simply the character for "steamed bun". The name momo spread to Tibet, Nepal, India and usually now refers to filled buns or dumplings.[2] Momo is the colloquial form of the Tibetan word "mog mog".[3] The different names for the dumpling include Nepali: मम; Nepal Bhasa: ममचा, मम:, Tibetan: མོག་མོག་, Wylie: mog mog; simplified Chinese: 馍馍; traditional Chinese: 饃饃; pinyin: mómo.[4]


The exact origins are unclear, but the name's etymology points to northern China (饃饃). The food is thought to have been spread by caravan routes connecting the Central Asian steppe to both East and West. Momo-like filled dumplings, called by a closely associated group of words, exist in Mongolian, Turkish, Persian, Uzbek, and many other Central and East Asian cuisines.[5] (For more, see entries on Mantou, Manti, and Buuz.)

As for the Himalayan momo, the dish is believed to have spread from Tibet along with the influx of the Tibetan diaspora. Since this dish was initially popular among the Newar community of the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal, one prevalent belief[6] is that traveling Newar merchants brought the recipe and the name momo from Tibet where the Newar Merchants used to go to trade. Originally, the filling of the dish was typically meat, such as yak, due to the scarcity of vegetables in Tibet.However gradually Vegetable Momo became to be prepared and became an alternative for those who do not consume meat.Momo in vegetarian style is usually made from Vegetable like Chayote also called Ishkush in Nepali and Cabbage.


Momo is a type of steamed dumpling with some form of filling. Momo has become a traditional delicacy in Nepal, Tibet, as well as among Nepalese and Tibetan communities in Bhutan, as well as people of Ladakh, Northeast India and Darjeeling regions of India.


A plate of momos from Nepal.
A Tibetan woman making momos in Washington, D.C., United States.

A simple white-flour-and-water dough is generally preferred to make the outer momo covering. Sometimes, a little yeast or baking soda is added to give a more doughy texture to the finished product.

Traditionally, momo is prepared with ground/minced meat filling, but in the modern era, this has changed and the fillings have become more elaborate. These days, momo is prepared with virtually any combination of ground meat, vegetables, tofu, paneer cheese, soft chhurpi (local hard cheese) and vegetable and meat combinations.[7]

The dough is rolled into small circular flat pieces. The filling is then enclosed in the circular dough cover either in a round pocket or in a half-moon or crescent shape. People prefer meat that has a lot of fat because it produces flavorful juicy momos. A little oil is sometimes added to the lean ground/minced meat to keep the filling moist and juicy. The dumplings are then cooked by steaming over a soup (either a stock based on bones or vegetables) in a momo-making utensil called mucktoo in Nepali language. The dumplings may also be pan-fried or deep-fried after being steamed.


There are typically two types of momo, steamed and fried. Momo is usually served with a dipping sauce (locally called chutney/achhar[9]), normally made with tomato as the base ingredient. Soup momo is a dish with steamed momo immersed in a meat or vegetable broth. Pan-fried Nepalese style momo is also known as kothey momo.Also Jhol Momo is a Nepalese style Momo 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.[10].Thaipo is another Nepalese style Momo which is basically a Momo with a bigger size.Nepalese Thaipo contains one whole egg inside along with meat.Steamed momo served in hot sauce is called C-momo. There are also a variety of dumplings of Nepal found in the Indian state of Sikkim and Darjeeling district, including tingmo and thaipo.


See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Lynelle Seow (15 January 2017). CultureShock! India. Marshall Cavendish International Asia Pte Ltd. pp. 202–. ISBN 978-981-4771-98-6.
  2. ^ Gordon, Stewart (2009). When Asia Was the World: Traveling Merchants, Scholars, Warriors, and Monks Who Created the "Riches of the "East" (Reprint ed.). Da Capo Press. p. 13. ISBN 978-0306817397.
  3. ^ Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae. Akadémiai Kiadó. 1955. p. 209.
  4. ^ Jīn Péng 金鹏 (ed.): Zàngyǔ jiǎnzhì 藏语简志. Mínzú chūbǎnshè 民族出版社, Beijing 1983, p. 31. This is not the same as dumpling.
  5. ^ Gordon, Stewart (2009). When Asia Was the World: Traveling Merchants, Scholars, Warriors, and Monks Who Created the "Riches of the "East" ((Reprint ed.) ed.). Da Capo Press. p. 13. ISBN 978-0306817397.
  6. ^ Sijapati, Alisha (September 17, 2016). "A Juicy Love Affair". Retrieved September 22, 2016 – via The Kathmandu Post.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Momo recipe". Archived from the original on December 1, 2008. Retrieved April 6, 2011.
  9. ^ Williams, James. "Momos Chutney Recipe".
  10. ^