Dimsums were created along the ancient Silk Route by the Cantonese in the teahouses following the ‘Yam Cha’ tradition. ‘Yam Cha’ means ‘drink tea’ and the dimsums were what thin arrowroot biscuits are to masala tea. A bite that goes well with the drink. And people buy these dry, thick and coloured skinned wraps made with mutton, yak or other meat, a momo has to be juicy. A good momo is so juicy that it is put into the mouth from top.
The texture and fat from red meat is the reason why these momos are juicier. With chicken they tend to become dry. Also, the design of Tibetan momo wraps are intricate and need real skills unlike their Chinese counterparts.
Shay-mo Kupsoe-Troktrok: The momo is round in shape with identical pleats that come together in a small top that has a hole from where the juice oozes out.
Shay-mo Dawa-Tsechik: ‘Halfmoon’ shaped ones are very popular and vaguely resemble the Chinese jiaozi (dumpling).
The actual momo sauce is of two types.
1. Pounded dry red chilli soaked in water and later garlic added in it.
2. Hot oil is poured over the chilli powder.
Sesame seeds and roasted tomatoes sometimes bring out a different flavour. Momos tavelled from Lhasa to Kathmandu with Newari traders in the 17th century and became immensely popular. With the traders momo reached north Bengal, Sikkim, Gangtok and many other places. Kolkata saw its first momo stall with a lady selling momos near Elgin road. I myself started selling mutton, chicken and veg momos 27 years ago. In 1951, when Tibetan refugees started arriving in Delhi, Majnu Ka Tilla (officially called New Aruna Nagar Colony) became the source for a new type of food.
For university students in the pre-2-minute noodle days, Majnu Ka Tilla became the new attraction with the affordable Charminar, thupka and the momos (10 of which give one’s belly a happy feel) and the cheap Chhang beer. Interestingly enough, the only thing which stood the test of time were the momos and what once came with the refugees, spread outside the Tibetan community of Dharamsala, Majnu Ka Tilla and Bylakuppe.
The uncanny similarity between the Mongolian Buuz and momo indecates the period when Tibet was under Mongol rule. Also, the culturally diverse Mongol empire may be responsible for the momolike dumplings found in the Middle-East and Europe. Famous Afghanistani Mantou and Uzbakistani Manti are meat topped with yougurt and garnished with lentil. Pierogi, the Polish variation, is made up of onion, potato and cheese. The Italian ravioli somehow has a bit of resemblence. The Georgian khinkali comes more closer. The Indian rice powder wrapped modak with jaggery or sesame filling looks very much like momos.
Like chilli chicken, chicken manchurian, and masala tea, we Indians have changed our momo with our mayonnaise, ketchup tandoor and curry spices. The poor man’s dim sum is here to stay and I am waiting for the time when they are going to invade the five-star kitchens.
House Party? Try These Simple And Delicious Cocktail Recipes
Red, white or sparkling, wine in every form is to be loved. Those with a taste for wine know just how delightful the beverage is. From the flavour to the effect, one simply can’t stop at a glass of this delight. However, there is always room for improvement; you can play with the flavours, add a few ingredients and prepare a wine cocktail.
All you need is wine and a few ingredients to whip up a cocktail good enough to blow your mind.
(Recipes courtesy: Grover Zampa)
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