These fun little dumplings are the most popular street snack in Darjeeling, thanks to the thousands of Tibetans who have made the town their home since the 1960s. They’re enjoyable to make, but more so on a weekend when you’re over-indexing on enthusiasm and patience. If you’re running short on either, you can buy momo wrappers from a Chinese supermarket, or roll out a sheet of dough and use a cookie cutter to cut the wrappers out. The method below is for rolling them individually.
NOTE: If you don’t have a food processor to pulse the filling, just finely shred the vegetables before cooking.
FOR THE MOMO WRAPPERS
1¾ cups all-purpose flour (plus extra to dust)
¼ teaspoon salt
FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE
4 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1½ teaspoons red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons rice or white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar or honey
FOR THE FILLING
3 tablespoons canola oil
1¾-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 medium carrots, peeled and roughly diced
1/3 of a head of green cabbage, shredded
½ pound hard paneer, roughly diced
1/3 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
4 scallions, finely sliced
First make the momo wrappers. Mix the flour and salt in a big bowl, make a well and, little by little, add ½ cup of water. Knead the dough until smooth, then cover with a clean, slightly damp towel.
Put the ingredients for the dipping sauce into a bowl and stir briskly to dissolve the sugar. To make the filling, put a tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and, when hot, add the ginger and garlic. Stir-fry for a minute, add the carrots, and fry for another couple of minutes. Add the cabbage, paneer, salt, and soy sauce, and cook until the vegetables are tender. The mixture should be quite dry—if not, turn the heat up until the liquid evaporates. Add the scallions, then take off the heat and allow to cool. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
Prepare a couple of lightly floured baking pans. Using your hands, roll the dough into a long even sausage shape and divide into 4 pieces. Take one and cover the rest with a damp tea towel. Cut the portion of dough into 5 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, dust with flour, and, on a well-floured surface, roll out to around 3 inches in diameter. Lay the prepared wrappers on the pans and continue with the rest of the dough.
When the wrappers are rolled, take a heaping teaspoon of the filling and put it in the middle of a wrapper. Fold the wrapper in half over the filling. Press shut, then, starting from one side, fold over the corner of the seam and repeat until you reach the seam’s end. Brush the momos with a little oil and lay on a non-stick surface.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large lidded non-stick frying pan. Place half the momos in the pan (or as many as will comfortably fit) and fry for around 3 minutes, until brown on the bottom. Turn the heat down to low, add 3 tablespoons of water, and cover with the lid. Steam them for a further 4 to 5 minutes, until the liquid has evaporated and the momo wrappers are translucent, then repeat with the rest. Eat hot, dunked in the chili sauce.