Momos and the Midnight Beast

Tamora Pierce is one of my all-time favorite authors. She brought forth the “fantasy novels with a kick-ass female lead” subgenre, which contains a lot of my favorite books. Who doesn’t love reading about bad-ass women with swords and magic saving the world? Anyways, in her most recent book, lots of foods are referenced, including dumplings called momos. I’d been meaning to try making dumplings since my trip to China and this seemed like an excellent opportunity. Also, the name is fun, and I couldn’t pass it up.

Dough: Put 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or in my case pastry flour) and 1/2 cup normal white flour into a bowl. Add water slowly and mix until a dough forms. When I did this the dough was fairly tough so I added a teaspoon of white vinegar – a trick I learned to  soften up dough when making empanadas. Cover with plastic wrap or stick in a plastic bag for later. Don’t let it dry out – that will cause problems later.

Filling: Dice or mince 3 cloves of garlic, 1/3 onion, a small knob of fresh ginger, some shiitake mushrooms, and some green cabbage (maybe a cup chopped). Chop the ginger really really small – I didn’t and as a result had some bits of filling that were basically just ginger and chili sauce, and that was a bit too much, even for me. Once all the veggies and spices are chopped, add 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1 tsp vegetable bullion. If you have bullion in dense cube form like me, just crumble it up – it will work just as well.

momo filling

Assembly: The easiest way to do this is to roll the dough out, as thin as possible, and cut out circles from the dough. I used one of my small glass bowls, but a biscuit cutter would do nicely as well. Put a circle of dough in the palm of your hand, and put 1-2 tablespoons of filling into it. At this point, there are two shapes you can make: grab all the edges of the circle and pinch them together like a draw-string bag to make the round momo; or fold it in half, pinching the edges together to make a half-moon. Of the two, the half-moon are easier and more efficient as you can stuff more filling in them. Steam for about 10 minutes or until done.

Some might have gotten stuck to the steamer ... oops

Some might have gotten stuck to the steamer … oops

These were awesome! Vegan, tasty, and full of veggies. More proof that food doesn’t have to be bad for you to taste awesome. There are all kinds of dipping sauces one can use, but I mixed some soy sauce with Thai chili sauce and a little sugar. Ideally, momos should be served with green tea, but it was late and I’d had 3 cups of tea already so I just went with water. Also important to note – these do not reheat very well. I made 12 total with this recipe, which was a perfect 2 servings, so just keep that in mind (or plan on feeding someone else too). These tasted similar enough to what I’d eaten in China that I think I can safely say they are fairly authentic. Now for the other reference.  The Midnight Beast was introduced to me last weekend by one of my friends and now I am totally obsessed. They are a British comedy-singing trio (like Flight of the Conchords, or Ylvis) and just amazing. This is my favorite, but there are tons of other videos.

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