I grew up being fed dumplings that were simmered in cabbage and cooked tomatoes. I am not a fan of either.
The dumplings were filled with a mushy rice and I didn’t like rice in my younger years either. I’m grimacing at just the thought of these memories. A lot of my heritage background is German and Irish and I’ve just never cared much for the traditional foods (nor the smells…), so I avoid it as much as possible.
I am an “American mom” to a few Nepalese who live here in Omaha. It’s a longer story than I will tell today, but we met at an Indian restaurant that we frequented a few years ago. Most cultures have their own twist on the “dumpling”. The Nepalese dumpling is called the “momo”. Pronounced with long o’s. This culture gets very excited to eat “momo” when they can. It’s a time consuming process and they can’t just be thrown together on a whim. I never joined their enthusiasm though and maintained my negative memory of dumplings.
After a couple of years, I finally decided to try momo. They can be steamed or fried and I decided that fried seemed like the safest route. Afterall, anything is better fried, right? (It certainly helped that they didn’t use cabbage or cooked tomatoes too.) So, I took one fried momo and cut it into two halves with a knife (I was informed that momo are meant to be eaten in one bite – who knew?!). I cautiously took a bite of one of the halves.
Big discovery: I do NOT hate momo. In fact, I actually LOVE momo! Why did I wait so long?
From there, I branched out and tried more, and more, fried AND steamed! I looked forward to momo and never missed chances to enjoy them. And the sauces! The sauces are so full of flavor and addictive. I usually stick to “mild”. There are many sauces and at different levels of spice. There are a couple that are for those who love to challenge their spicy food tolerance. I learned that the sauces are the actual difference in bragging rights in Nepal. There are streets in Nepal with several momo shops and the only difference is the sauces. When people go to buy momo, they choose the shop with their favorite sauce.
Momo became a hit at our house parties. When there is momo at our parties, the American food is overlooked and forgotten. Some of our friends rave about the sauce and wish they could buy jars of it. It’s always made fresh though. The momo are actually handmade as well.
The picture shows steamed, pork momo. I actually prefer steamed momo now! I purchased these over the weekend from Katmandu Momo Station at Inner Rail Food Hall in Aksarban Village in Omaha. I saved them for today while I’m working and heated them in a little olive oil in a cast iron skillet.
Katmandu Momo Station has two locations in Omaha. They sell three choices of momo – pork, chicken and vegan. You can request that they’re steamed or fried, whatever your preference. They have two locations in Omaha and they’re the only ones who have momo in Nebraska. If you’re not in Omaha but in a larger city, research “nepali momo” and see if can find it near you. I recommend trying momo at least once. They’re an addiction for many who have tried them. Maybe you will love them too!