Today’s street food dish takes us to the high altitude of Tibet. This is a mystical place with serenity and a spiritual vibe, yaks roaming around, and little children with pink cheeks dressed in woven outfits. Tibetans are humble and their mindset is as far from chaos as their Buddhist way of life. As the saying goes, ‘art imitates life’ and in Tibet, one could say the same about the cuisine. Since there are few crops that grow here, the food is unapologetically basic. Stews made of yak and potatoes, dumpling soups, and noodles are some of the staple dishes.Â One of my personal favorites is the Tibetan dumpling ‘momos’ sold on the streets in large vat-like steamers. Momos, similar to dim sum, are pretty parcels of dough wrappers stuffed with ground meat or vegetables. The stuffing ingredients are raw as they cook in their own vapor in the steamer and topped with a tangy chili-garlic tomato chutney called ‘Tsal’.
This dish may seem complicated at a first glance but it really isn’t, so don’t let your preconceived notion deter you. I like to make large quantities of them and freeze them so that I can throw them in to a soup or pan fry them on a different day. To have them simply steamed is my favorite as the flavors of the stuffing shine against the simplicity of the wrapper.
Adapted from Passport Pantry’s Momos Recipe
For more street food recipes, follow me on Twitter (@MarcusCooks)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cups water
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1lb ground beef
- 2 bunches scallions, finely chopped
- 1 tsp grated garlic
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 1 tsp water
- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 fresh tomato
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 handful cilantro
- 2 green chilies
- 1 tsp salt
1. Combine all of the dough ingredients. Knead the dough and rest dough for 45 minutes
2. Make about 40 small balls, sprinkle with a little flour to stop them from sticking Flour the surface and roll in to small disks.
3. Mix filling ingredients. Stuff 11/2 tsp of the filling mixture in the middle of the dough disk. Gather the disk edges and pinch together to make a 'beggars purse' shape.
4. Place in a well-greased steamer for 15 minutes.
To Make the Tsal:
Roughly chop all relish ingredients and place in food processor. Give it a couple of pulses so that it has the consistency of chunky salsa.