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The Dalai Lama's Momos


  • For the Filling
  • 1 pound potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 onions, chopped
  • 12 ounces mushrooms, chopped
  • 12 ounces grated cheese*
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped
  • pinch of paprika
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


*Consider substituting parmesan, asiago, or Sonoma dry jack for yak cheese For the Dough 1 pound plain flour 1-3/4 to 2-1/3 cups water For the Soup 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 onion, chopped 2 tomatoes, skinned and chopped 1 tablespoon chopped coriander 1 vegetable stock cube 1-3/4 cups boiling water To make the filling, boil and mash the potatoes. Leave to cool. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and cook the onions for 5 minutes until soft. Add the mushrooms, cover, and cook for 5 minutes or until soft. Leave to cool. When all the vegetables are cooled, mix with the grated cheese, chopped coriander, salt, and pepper. To make the dough, mix the flour with enough water to form a smooth dough.** Roll out, but not too thinly. Cut into rounds with a 2" pastry cutter. Taking each round, press the edges with your thumb and first two fingers, working around the circle.*** On one side of the round, place a tablespoonful of the cooled vegetable misture, then fold over and press the edges together, making sure they are well sealed. Alternatively, hold the round in one hand, and with your thumb and forefinger gather the edges into a pleat at the top and seal. Fill a small steamer with water, first boiling the rack so the dumplings do not stick.**** Bring the water to a boil. Place the momos on the steamer rack, spacing them well apart as they will expand and stick together if they are too close. Steam for 20 minutes, or until they are firm and glossy. To make the soup, heat the olive oil in a saucepan, add the onion, and cook till soft. Add the tomatoes and chopped coriander and cook for 5 minutes. Dissolve the stock cube in the boiling water and add to the pan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve in small bowls as an accompaniment to the dumplings."***** **I briefly knead the dough until it is smooth. *** Doing this makes the edges a little thinner than the center so that when you fold the edges together and pleat them, they're not too thick and your momos will cook evenly. ****If you don't have a metal steamer, a bamboo steamer sprayed with vegetable oil spray works well. Momo can also be fried on each side until they are golden brown. *****In addition to the soup, you might want to try a Kathmandu-style momo dipping mixture of soy sauce combined with a little rice vinegar and chili-garlic sauce. TIBETAN BUTTER TEA "1 tablespoon loose tea leaves (preferably a smoky black tea) 1/4 cup half-and-half (or half cream and half milk) 1 tablespoon butter salt Boil tea in 4 cups of water for about 10 minutes. Remove from flame. Remove the tea leaves from the liquid by pouring through a sieve. Add half-and-half and butter to the strained tea. Add salt to taste. (Tibetans like it very salty!) This will cool the tea, so warm it briefly over a low flame, making sure the tea doesn't boil. For a frothy tea, pour it back and forth between two containers a few times." TIBETAN BARLEY SOUP "Barley can thrive even on marginal land. You can get pot barley at health food stores. If possible avoid the pearled, or polished, barley, which is less tasty and less nutritious. Cut up enough mushrooms to measure 2 cups. Melt 2 tablespoons butter (yak butter if available) in a larg saucepan and stir in vegetables until they are well coated. Continue cooking over medium heat until softened, stirring occasionally. Mix in 1/4 cup pot barley and then add 4 cups water (preferable from the nearest mountain spring). Bring rapidly to a boil, then simmer about an hour, covered. Just before it is done, add 1 tablespoon shoyu (soy sauce) and a grind or so of pepper, if desired. When the soup is ready, it should be of a chowder-like thickness and the grains should be soft but chewy. There will be a golden sheen on the surface and the heavenly smell will waft you across the Himalayas."

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