MO:MO- A cuisine from Nepal by MEGHA VAIDYA

MO:MO (Nepali: मोमो; Nepal Bhasa: मम, small mo:mo – ममचा)

Nepal is rich in its cuisine. Different communities, ethnic groups have their own food culture. However, besides dal-bhat, what connects all is their love for mo:mo. As a humor, we call it our national food because everyone loves it and can eat it at any time of the day.

So what is mo:mo?

In general terms, mo:mo means dumplings. It could be either steamed or kothey or fried. But no matter how it is prepared, the most popular ones are buff-mo:mo (dumplings filled with water buffalo). But there are other kinds of mo:mos as well. Such as: chicken mo:mo; mutton mo:mo (goat meat); vegetarian mo:mo (meat lovers do not find it as mo:mo; but call it as steamed samosa. But I love making as well as eating this kind of mo:mo as well.); paneer mo:mo; spinach mo:mo; and many more. Mo:mo is evolving with time. However, buff-mo:mo is still the best. Nothing can beat that yumminess of buff-mo:mo.

And the soup that is served along with mo:mos only adds more richness to them. The soup is usually prepared from tomato, sesame seeds and coriander with spices according to the taste. Some love completely dipping the mo:mos in the soup while some pour some soup on top of the mo:mos.

Nepalese living abroad really miss mo:mos from back home. Most Nepalese make mo:mos when abroad. They are very tasty. But nothing like that of buff-mo:mo. So it is almost true with everybody (non-vegetarians) that the first thing or the most awaited food that they want to eat when they go back home is mo:mo, buff-mo:mo to be precise. That also in many cases from a specific place.

I am glad I grew up making mo:mos from the scratch at home. My dad used to supervise, and we 5 siblings would take the responsibilities. I being the youngest, used to take the easiest job: mix the filling well. (My dad used to say, mix the filling so well with your hand that it is cooked with the warmth of your hand. And of course, the hot oil that we pour on the filling helps to cook it.) My eldest sister or my mom used to prepare the soup. My mom used to prepare the dough and the filling (meat+ cabbage+ spring onions/ onions+ spices). My second eldest sister used to roll the wraps. My brother used to put the meatballs on the wrap. And my third eldest sister used to close the wrap.

Well, I feel nostalgic when I think of those times. All of us together. Nothing else used to bring all of us together in the kitchen. Definitely going to have mo:mos when I visit my family. 😊

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