Is there anyone in the world who doesn’t want to experience the magic of the Himalayas, see the majestic snow-capped mountains, and try some hearty Tibetan food? But even if you can’t get to Tibet (or Bhutan and Nepal), you can always make their food come to you. And there’s no better place to start than trying the traditional beef momos recipe; one of the most popular local snacks.
We previously shared our veg momos recipe with you and in this post, we’ll show you how to make beef momos.
But first things first…
What Are Beef Momos?
Momos are the Tibetan version of dumplings. They’re made with flattened dough and originate from Tibet. Today, you can find a lot of variations of momos around the world as the Tibetan diaspora spread around the world, however, the most basic version of momos is made by using either chicken or beef (and sometimes, pork). Momos come in three varieties; baked, steamed, and deep fried, and have two basic shapes- round and half-moon shape.
Every Tibetan family has a slightly modified momo recipe and as Tibetan people moved around the world, a lot of local variations appeared. Today, you can find veg momos, beef momos, pork momos, chicken momos, cheese momos, soup momos, and even sweet momos.
The origin of momos is often linked to Tibet and Northern China where it first appeared as a variation of the Chinese dumplings. Their initial name was mog-mog (meaning steamed bun) but as this delicious snack was becoming more popular, people adopted the colloquial term momo. From Tibet, momos spread to Nepal and today’s Bhutan through the numerous merchants who were traveling around the region.
Quickly afterward, momos “conquered” the entire territory of Hindustan. However, for this to happen, the beef had to be replaced with vegetables and that’s how vegetarian momos were born. Today, momos are one of the most popular street food dishes in India. But that’s not where it stopped. Steamed dumplings or buns quickly spread around Central Asia, the Caucasus, Turkey, and even parts of Europe.
This brings us to the next point…
Types & Varieties
The most obvious and simple ways to categorize momos are according to the filling. Beef momos and pork momos are very popular in Tibet and Bhutan while in Nepal and India, the most common variations are chicken and veg momos. In addition to this, you can find a lot of momo-like dumplings in different parts of the world, such as manti in most Turkic countries and the Balkan, khinkali in Georgia, pierogi in Poland, etc.
As we mentioned above, momos can be divided based on the method of preparation into steamed, baked, and deep-fried. Our traditional beef momos recipe focuses on steamed momos but we’ll provide instructions on how to make steamed and deep-fried momos too. That part is actually easy. The most difficult part about making beef momos is…
Shaping the Momos
There are two basic momo shapes; round and half-moon shape. In this part of our beef momos recipe, we’ll show you perhaps the hardest part of making momos- shaping.
Place the dough on a chopping board and roll out the dough. It shouldn’t be so thin that you can see through it but it also shouldn’t be too thick. It should look like a CD drive (without the hole in the middle, of course).
After rolling, cut the dough into tiny circles for each momo and redo the same process with the scraps. The circles should be about the size of your palm. Add a little bit of salt and use a rolling pin to shape the circle. Aim to make the edges thinner than the middle.
This is where the process starts becoming different for the two different shapes of momos (circle and half-moon) but don’t worry, we’ll guide you through it.
Add the circle of dough in your non-dominant hand and add the filling in the middle. With your dominant hand, start pinching the edge of the dough together. In the first pinch, don’t pinch a lot of dough, just make sure it’s small enough to fold between your forefinger and thumb.
Keep pinching the dough down around the edge of the circle with your forefinger while using your thumb to hold the rest of the dough. What you need to do is pinch the whole edge of the circle into one spot. Keep pinching and folding until you reach the point where you started and close the hole with one final pinch. Don’t forget to close the hole. If you don’t do this properly, you’ll lose the juiciest and best part of your momo.
Add the circle of dough in your non-dominant hand and add the filling in the middle. Then, fold the circle in half, in a way that it completely covers the filling. Press the two edges of the half-circle together and make sure there’s no open space between the edges and that the filling is completely enclosed. Pinch and fold around the edges to completely seal the momo along the curved edge until you reach the final half-moon shape.
Important: make sure you roll your momos on a non-stick surface and don’t forget to grease the steamer before steaming the momos.
How To Serve Beef Momos?
Beef momos are usually served with either momo chutney or thukpa soup. The momo chutney can be red or green depending on the color of the chilies used to make it. Usually, it’s very hot and very flavorful. Traditionally, momos are eaten by hand by dipping them in the chutney or slurping the soup while chewing a momo (thukpa soup is one of the most popular appetizers in Tibet and Bhutan). As for the chutney, we always prefer a red chutney for beef momos (it just tastes better) but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use green chutney either.
A Few More Things You Need For This Beef Momos Recipe
Looking to experience Tibetan cuisine? Momos are a great starting point. Our traditional beef momos recipe will show you how to make it at home in less than 1 hr.
For The Dough
- 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Tablespoon Oil
- 3/4 Cup Water
For The Filling
- 1 Cup Ground Beef
- 1 Onion (sliced into tiny cubes)
- 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
- 1/2 Tablespoon Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Ginger-Garlic Paste
- 1 Tablespoon Black Pepper
- 5 Cloves Garlic (Chopped)
- 1/2 Capsicum (Chopped)
- A Few Drops Cilantro/Fresh Lime
1. Mix the flour and salt In a mixing bowl.
2. Add the water and mix.
3. Start kneading the dough and add flour if necessary.
4. Cover the dough and let it rest for 30 minutes.
5. Add the filling ingredients to a large mixing bowl.
6. Add the ginger-garlic, cilantro, salt, soy sauce, and black pepper, mix and leave the mixture for 15 minutes.
7. After half an hour, divide the dough in half.
8. Leave one half covered and roll the other one until it becomes very thin.
9. Cut the dough into tiny circles. Take the scraps and cover them (you'll reuse them later).
10. Take one piece of dough in your palm and add 1 teaspoon of filling in the middle (more if you think it's too less).
11. Fold the dough to form a round shape and pinch it at the end to seal the center.
12. Re-roll the scraps and repeat the process. Keep the prepared momos on a plate.
13. Take your large steaming pot, add water, and place it under medium heat.
14. After a few minutes, place your momos on a lightly greased steamer. Be sure to leave enough space for each dumpling (they will rise while steaming).
15. Steam for 8-9 minutes until the dough gets sticky. Once it gets sticky, remove the first batch and add the next.
Alternative 1: If you want to have the momos fried, add the kneaded momos in hot oil and deep fry them for 2-3 minutes until they become crunchy.
Alternative 2: If you want to have the momos baked, bake them in your oven at 200 degrees Celcius for approximately15 minutes.
16. Serve hot with some chutney and enjoy!
When cooked, the momo should be almost transparent, shiny, and it should not be sticky.
Do not overcook the momos. The whole process should not take more than one hour. If you overcook your momos, they might get chewy and hard (still edible, just doesn't feel right).
Serving Size:100 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 345Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 98mgSodium: 98mgCarbohydrates: 54gNet Carbohydrates: 54gFiber: 0gSugar: 4gProtein: 34g
Did you ever try beef momos? Did you like our beef momos recipe? Are there any things you think we missed in our beef momos recipe or things that you do differently? Let us know in the comments!
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