Cooking

Chicken Momos

2:21 PM

Chicken dumplings, known as momos in India

Momos, dim sums, dumplings...they go by many names and will always remain one of these Asian cuisine favourites. In our home, this is one of Ishita's favourite food. Between her and I we can easily eat a dozen and call it a meal. That is how much we love them, if that means anything.
Sadly, no matter were you go, you will end up spending way too much money for really not much. For the dumplings fanatics that we are, making them home becomes a very viable option. And they aren't even that hard to make.
Time consuming? A little bit. Hard? Nope, not at all. Not with a little practice, and certainly not with this nifty little tool :

Dumpling mould, or gujiya mould as they are known in India

This little kitchen gadget is a pasty mould, in India they are often known as Gujiya moulds as they are usually used to prepare the pastry of the same name. You will find it in most stores that sell kitchen items. Mine is part of a set of four in various size, so that I can make tiny dumpling (the one above is the smallest), bigger puffs and pasties, or even giant hot pockets backed in the oven. They make my life much much easier each time I am making some stuffed dough items, and they are just about ideal to make momos without messing everything up.

Make your dumpling without making a mess

Before I acquired that nifty little tool, I used to make them round, spent a lot of time making sure the bottom was thicker to prevent the dumpling from breaking in the steamer, and always ended up with stuffing stuck to my hands, and spreading to the whole work surface. They were also taking much more space in said steamer and cooking enough to feed us all became time consuming. Considering we eat these often enough, I am all for simplifying the process as much as possible. Because this is the part that is really the trickiest with dumplings. The stuffing is easy to pull and you can pretty much put whatever you want in it.

In this recipe, I made plain chicken ones, but I made vegetarian one in the past, they even became an instant hit at my in-laws place last Diwali.
I can't tell you how many dumplings this recipe does really, it depends the size of said dumplings. With our little mould, it yields a LOT, enough that we usually don't make them all in one meal, I store the remaining stuffing in an airtight container for the next day.

Ingredients:

For the dough : 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour (maida)

Stuffing :

- 400g chicken keema (ground chicken)
- 2 medium large onions
- a piece of ginger the length of your thumb
- 2 tbsp corn flour (known as corn starch by many)
- a pinch of salt and a splash of soy sauce

How to:

1) in a bowl, mix the flour with enough water to make a smooth elastic dough and cover and set aside.

2) peel the onion and ginger and throw in a mixer grinder to make a paste. Then in a mixing bowl, combine the ground chicken and onion paste evenly, add the salt and soy sauce and mix. last but certainly not least, add the corn flour. This step ensure that the water in the mix is absorbed, this will prevent the dumplings from filling with juice during the cooking stage and prevent the dough from breaking apart once you remove them from the steamer...do not forget the corn flour!



All cooked and ready to eat dumplings

3) I use the steamer basket in my rice cooker for this, but you can use a bamboo steamer, or put a sieve inside a sauce pan. What matters is that the basket does not touch the water and sits high enough above it.

If you are using a plastic or metallic steamer, lightly spray it or brush it with oil first, to ensure the dumpling won't stick to the bottom.

Start making your dumplings. Take small balls of dough and roll them down to a disk shape on a floured surface. At this point, I am giving you the mould technique, because that is the easiest. Place the disk of dough on the mould, and add enough stuffing to fill the center. Fold and press hard to seal the dumpling. Remove the excess dough and repeat. Place each dumpling in the steamer's basket.

4) place the steamer basket into a pan that contains a little boiling water at the bottom and steam for about 4-5 minutes.


Enjoy them hot, with some soy sauce on the side. It goes well with a salad or some steamed veggies.

I sometimes add green peas to the chicken stuffing, or grated carrots, you can really adjust the base chicken stuffing to your taste, the only thing to mind is the water content in the stuffing, so if you feel yours is a bit runny or you see any water in it before cooking, add a little more corn flour.



20 comments

  1. Anonymous3:49 PM

    Wow. Thanks so much for the tip. Although I dont know if that treasure tool will be available in south India since gujiya sounds like a north Indian name. Maybe I will look for it online.
    Just today I was looking up on websites how to make the perfect shape for momos. Just a little problem with me since I'm not good at steam cooking. The idlis at our place never come out the way they should. But i will try this method since all you need to do is place them over a pot of boiling water.I have a plastic steamer I received with my lg microwave oven. Can I use that instead?
    Also do we need to cover them with a lid while they are cooking?
    Zainab

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You probably can find that mould thing in any store that sell these cheap import Chinese kitchen gadgets, that is where I found mine, and you could find a more expensive version of it online, or in Lifestyle or Home Stop.
      You can put them in the idli tray to cook too, that is what I did at my in-laws place. The pan or the steamer needs to have a lid while you cook them. Once upon a time I had a Chinese bamboo steamer to the the job, but like everything made of wood, it caught a heap of mold during the monsoon a few years ago, so I had to get rid of it. I am looking at getting myself the steamer from Tupperware one of these days too, it looks like a ban on steamer but made of plastic.

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    2. Anonymous9:11 PM

      Yeah that Tupperware steamer looks really good!! I'll first try in the idli stand and if it doesn't work will also get myself the Tupperware one. I found those moulds online of Tupperware brand. Two for 300. I know its expensive I just hope they're the right small size like they showed in the picture. :-)
      Zainab

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    3. I think I saw these Tupperware mould in real, they are about the same size as mine, maybe a tad bit bigger, but not by much, so it should work fine. I am eyeing the steam it basket myself, that thing looks good, and I saw it in demo at a Tupperware party at a friend's place, it really work great to steam many things.

      Delete
  2. Anonymous4:04 PM

    Have u tried your hand at some Indian delicacies like gujiyas, matris and gajar ka halwa??

    My son too is fond of momos. They are better than fried indian street food because they are streamed but being raw, there is some hygiene problem. I find chicken momos better than veg momos because the veg momos are basically filled with grated boiled cabbage which sits in your stomach for long. The chilly sauce of momos is also tastes fantastic. Now, there is something called tanoori moms or fried momos. They are horrible to taste because the outer crust gets fried/roasted but the filling remains raw. I guess chicken fried momos may taste better but the the vegetable one tastes awful. Just like pizzas, I have developed a taste for momos as well.

    There is an interesting article on indianization of global brands

    http://www.virsanghvi.com/Article-Details.aspx?key=1117

    Apple

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sure have tried my hand at Gajar ka halwa :-) Gujiya, nope, but they taste extremely similar to a pastry we have in Europe which we call "rissole" in French and is is usually stuffed with fruits and nuts. We even use the same mould to shape them. I find it extremely interesting that there is not a single country or culture that doesn't have at least one variant of dumpling of pocket of dough stuffed with something, momo, samosa, gujiya, pasty, ravioli, pierogi...there are so many name for something that is always made using the same base principles :-)

      I much prefer non veg momos myself, as you said the veg ones you get outside are mostly stuff with cabbage, not only does it tend to sit on the stomach for ages, it is also lacking a lot of taste. Some fancy restaurants do have more expensive ones in their veg range that do taste a bit better though. The ones I made at my in-laws place had grated paneer, cabbage and carrots, the paneer did provide the taste that vegetables alone would not have.

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    2. Oh and I don't like the fried momos either, the stuffing usually stay a it raw, unless you cook it in a pan before preparing the momo. Don't mess with the good old steamed version, that is the one that is a winner worldwide because it is tasty and healthy :-)

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    3. Anonymous1:08 PM

      The samosa, pulao and biryani traveled with the muslims to India from central asia. This got mixed with the spices of India. The Most of what we know as mithai emerged from the mughal courts. Kheer ofcourse was known as Payasam during vedic times. We have been eating this for so long that we do not know where it originated. The language that we speak (including you) in daily life is actually Urdu. Our films and songs are in Urdu. We mistakenly call our Urdu as Hindi because we write in Devanagari script. Real Sankritized Official Hindi is a different ball game all together. Our Hindi is close to Urdu because it has more arabic and persian words. That is why Hindi films and serials are a rage in Pakistan to such an extent that they are alarmed. They call it Indian cultural invasion. They understand our language perfectly well. We may have fought four wars but culturally we are one. Culture brings us together while religion and politics pushes us apart. Real Hindi would be more like Latin to us.

      There are sweet shops in old delhi started by people who were erstwhile cooks of royal courts few hundred years ago. As the mughal rule waned, these bawarchis or cooks started their shops and introduced this cuisine to the common people. Something like this happened in Lucknow and Hyderabad.

      BTW you must have heard about the Italian risotto, a rice dish. The cooking process looks very similar to pulao or biryani. Something between a khichi, pulao and biryani. This was introduced to Italy when muslims were ruling Spain a a part of Italy was under their rule.

      For centuries religion, culture, science and food traveled from India and China and beyond and the also the other way influencing each other. Europe, middle east and Asia have many things in common than we can think of.

      Apple

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    4. Asia and Europe being two continents that are fused together, cultural exchanges are definitely not something to be surprised of. trade routes between the East and West have existed for centuries and on them, along with trade goods did philosophies, and cultures travel too. Many of the dishes that came to India, or existed in India also came our way, as you said. Momos, samosa, ravioli, hot pockets, pasties, empanadas, and other pirogues, are all pokers of dough filled with something that probably just was a crafty way to preserve the leftovers of one meal for the next day, and make it travel friendly for those on the road. There is very little difference in how a traditional Italian pizza and a naan are cooked too. The topic quite obviously varies, but the true blue, genuine Italian pizza was and is still cooked in a clay or stone oven that bears a lot lot similarities with a clay tandoor oven, and gets as hot.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous3:20 PM

      Not just food, it is said that sanskrit and many European languages emerged from the same source. This goes all the way upto to Ireland and Scotland. The pagan ancestors of Scots and Irish had their own mythology and practices which is very similar to Hindu mythology. Greek, Roman and Iranian deities are like Hindu Deities. The concept of gods and demons as in Hinduism is similar in the old Iranian religion.

      One of the most striking commonality between religions is found during the annual Haaj pilgrimage of muslims. They shave their heads, wear white clothes, take rounds across the holy stone and wash their hands with water. If you do not know that they are muslims you can easily mistake them for hindu/jain/buddhists. Come to think of it isn't the concept of holy water common in Hinduism, Islam and Christianity.

      http://balajiviswanathan.quora.com/Ritualistic-Similarities-between-Islam-and-Hinduism

      https://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/IE_Main4_Sanskrit.html

      Apple

      Delete
    6. That is why I said it was a cultural exchange. With the religion part, the thing that baffles me the most, is that some people will argue tooth and nails about the superiority of their own faith over all others, when in fact we all have one single common core : believing in the existence of a supreme being. If people focussed more on the similiratities we all have, this world will be a better place.
      With Christmas coming, I keep thinking this is such an amazing thing that every religion has one festival during which they celebrate togetherness, the triumph of good over evil, or the return of the light. Isnt it amazing? Christmas as a Christian festival just replaced the old pagan celebration of the Winter solstice. Jesus is said to be the bringer of light, good news, the saviour. The pagans celebrated the solstice in hope longer days would return to put an end to the dark long nights that would spell doom if stretching too long. In Hinduism, Diwali celebrate the return of Ram to his kingdom after he defeated Ravana. I am not too familiar with the Jewish Hannukah but it also involve light. All festivals have at their core to celebrate togetherness and counting our blessings. it is a very beautiful thing, nothing to fight about and crib about :-)

      Delete
    7. Anonymous9:28 AM

      Have you read the story "Noak's Ark" in Bible. Exactly the same story appears in Vishnu Puran. It is called Matsya Avatar (Fish Incarnation), the first of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu appears as a great fish to guide the boat to safety. The prophesy of the great flood, seven days rain, boat and pair or animals in the boat are all the same. Apart from the fish, the whole story is exactly the same.

      http://hindumythologyforgennext.blogspot.in/2011/11/matsya-avatar.html

      About the light you mentioned, Guru Nanak the first guru of Sikhs, said the following about creation:-

      "At the very beginning, Lord created light. Everything emerged from the same light. Oh, who is good, who is bad?? We are all children of God. The creation is in the Creator, And the Creator is in the creation, The clay is the same, but the designer has fashioned it in various ways. Nothing is wrong with the pot of clay and there is nothing wrong with the potter. The One true Lord abides in all and by his making everything is made. Whoever realises His command, knows the One Lord and he alone is said to be the Lord's slave. The Lord Allah is invisible and He cannot be seen; the Guru has blessed me with this sweet brown sugar Says Kabir, my anxiety and fear have been taken away; I see the immaculate Lord pervading everywhere"

      However, one great Indian poet had a more practical approach to religion. He wrote " The temple and mosque creates problems, while the bar/pub brings people together". Vice brings people together than virtue.

      Apple

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  3. Anonymous9:14 AM

    Ooh mouth watering!! They look so delicious. I agree with you They are pretty expensive and you end up getting very less. Few years ago they weren't that common in India. We do the fried version in Sweden as well. My grandma used to fill it with dry fruits and marzipan. One of my aunt's filled it with meat mince.
    These dumplings are so global.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The dried fruit and marzipan dumplings are called Gujiya in India, which is why finding that dumpling cutting mould is easy in most of the country. In Switzerland I remember being able to find the Chinese dumplings in the frozen section, or the fresh pasta fridge section. They weren't super popular in restaurants back then, people in Switzerland usually go for spring rolls when they want a Chinese appetiser. Maybe because we have Italian Ravioli which are similarly made.

      Delete
  4. Anonymous3:23 PM

    This means that I and you are distantly related. We could be long lost cousins, who knows.

    Apple

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  5. Anonymous7:37 PM

    Hey thanks a lot for showing us that tool. I got mine immediately. Tupperware ones. They are made exact momos size like you get in the restaurants. This tool is so popular in all the ecommerce portals and I knew now only of its existence!!! Now I can make my shish barak(meat dumplings in a lightly spiced yogurt soup) with ease.
    Since you mentioned you toy a lot with continental cuisine do try out this Lebanese dish Shish barak!!!
    Here is the link! You might have already seen it if you watch master chef Australia.

    http://www.allspiceandnutmeg.com/lamb-dumplings-in-garlic-yogurt-sauce-shish-barak/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh that dish sounds really good, I will have to try it!

      Delete
  6. Anonymous7:35 PM

    OK. I'm really confused by the recipe. There are many versions of it but some recipes say to saute cook the mixture before and steam it. And some recipes call for raw meat. Ummm I know that adding raw meat makes sense since we are gonna steam it they are gonna get cooked by that process. Honestly why saute the filling before hand? Unless you choose to deep fry them. Will Cooking the filling before hand lessen the time for steaming the momos? I mean if you add the cooked filling, instead of the usual 10 min will steaming the momos for just 4 or 5 minutes suffice, just enough time to steam the cover? And can you tell me exactly how to check if the momos are done? Should they be sticky or dry?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This one you use the stuffing raw, trust me it will be done and cooked in the 4-5 minutes time frame, and if you really want to check, you can still sacrifice a momo for the cause and slice it in half. The saute de stuffing makes sense only while deep frying them, not for the steamed one. The reciepe above is exactly what I followed to cook the momo shown in my pictures, and they were done perfectly well. Each momo contains about a heaped teaspoon of stuffing, so the steam works very quickly on it.

      Delete

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