At least monthly you can hear the cries of “Mo:Mo! Mo:Mo! MORE mo:mo!” ring through our home…and really, practically our neighborhood. It brings a smile across my face and makes me long for the days of Nepal.
There is nothing more that I love than walking through the streets of Kathmandu (or really any community in Nepal) and take in the smokey, savory smells of traditional foods. The rich scent of ghee. The pungent spices. The sensory experience is a masala in and of itself. My mouth waters just thinking back to being home in Nepal. Let’s be real. . . Nepali food is our lifeline here in Seattle as well, we eat the traditional dal bhat ko takhari (direct translation lentils + rice + vegetable curry) almost nightly. However, somehow, food in Nepal just tastes better. At first I thought it was just because of eating by hand – and it DOES taste better when you’re eating with your hands – but that’s not it.
Don’t believe me? Well, just sign up for our next tour and see for yourself… We’re going November 2020. We’ll focus on food, culture and photography. We’ll host you at our home in West Seattle (if you’re PNW local) first and then tell you that we told you so in Kathmandu! Then we’ll teach you how to make the said foods yourself, and you’ll see how foods on either side of the world can be the super common saying in Nepal as “same same but different”.
We’re going to start with mo:mos. What’s a mo:mo? Long story short : little bits of heaven : dumplings. A delightful filling (meat or veg) wrapped in a delicate dough and then either steamed or fried and served with an achar (side sauce to dip) for maximum culinary pleasure. It’s an incredible experience to visit restaurants and kitchens that tote the “best” or most “mitho” (delicious) dumpling ever and eat to your hearts content, but it is another experience that is even more savory to be a part of the community that creates the mo:mo. It’s a celebration, it’s a labor of love, its downright delicious.
The dough is made with flour and water, and some folks add an egg for elasticity. Each little circle is rolled out by hand, stacked and passed to the filler of said dumpling. The fillings will vary by caste, culture and personal preference . . . and for us, being a Nepali American family, it’s a fusion with the common thread being tasty but maybe a bit inconsistent from day to day and week to week.
Nepali mo:mo can be served in many ways, and all of them serve their purpose in the most delightful way. Most commonly, mo:mo will be served with an achar -or side sauce/paste – achar deserves it’s own blog post- stay tuned. Pictured above is the sample plate of Nepali Achaar found at the Lazimpat Farmer’s Market on Sundays. I digress, mo:mos. There are so many ways to enjoy them : mo:mo chili : dumplings sautéed in a chili paste with onions, peppers, and the like, mo:mo joule (pronounced jaah-wel) as either a clear broth or as a sesame based gravy, then back to basics : steamed, fried, kothay style. A mo:mo every day is a good way to live.
I think the best part of Nepali mo:mos are sharing them – the process of creation, the critique of everyone’s participation in creating, and then the eating. Diwas remembers -and tells the stories – of the mo:mo eating contests that he and his cousin brothers would have as children. The joy of the mothers, fathers, aunties and uncles as they’d watch thier children stuff themselves silly with nutritional and tasty pillows of love, a mo:mo. We encourage copious amounts of mo:mos for our kiddos too – because, tradition.
Next up on the blog regarding our Nepal Tour 2020 : Dal Bhat, Chia, and Snacks.