Momos – The Tibetan Dumpling

Jan 23, 2011 by

My family and I have spent many evenings feasting on Tibetan potstickers: Momos. This is one dish that does not discriminate between the young and the old. Pretty parcels of dough with fillings of seasoned ground meat or vegetables transports children to some far off Wonderland of the East.

Momos may be another version of a dumpling for us, and yet there is a cultural and geographical context from which these steamed and stuffed cushions emerge. Sitting on the highest altitude on earth and with neighboring countries of India and China, it is by no accident that this dish is made with the meat of a Yak, uses the few ingredients it’s soil is able to grow and draws from Indian spices and Chinese cooking techniques.

My dear friend ‘Kelsung’ makes the most delightful and moist momos. After several months of eating her Tibetan delicacies, it finally dawned on me to learn how to make them . Of course, using Yak meat is not an option for people living outside of Tibet, however ground beef, chicken or lamb does the trick.



3 cups of all purpose flour
¾ cups of water


8 scallions finely chopped
1lb ground chicken or beef
1 diced onion
1 tsp of grated garlic
2 tsp of grated ginger
¼ tsp of water
2 tbslp oil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
¼ tsp red chili powder

Spicy relish – “Tsal”

1 fresh tomato
5 cloves of garlic
1 handful of cilantro
2 green chilies
1 tsp salt



1. Knead the dough and set aside for 30 minutes
2. Break in to about 36 pieces and dust over with a little flour to stop them from sticking to each other
3. Dust the surface with a little flour and roll in to small circles


1. Combine filling ingredients

Making the Dumpling

1. Stuff 1 tbspn of the mixture across the middle of the dough circle
2. Pinch the ends of the circle together making little crescent shapes
3. You can cook the dumplings in a steamer for 20 minutes


Add a little oil to a non stick frying pan, add the dumplings so that they brown a little and then cover them ¾ of the way with water on med/high heat. Cook covered in the pan until the dumplings have fully absorbed the water – approx. 15 minutes

Relish “Tsal”

Combine all the relish ingredients in the food processor and blend until you reach the desired consistency

Serving Suggestions

The authentic way to eat them is simply with the tomato relish. The Tibetans also add the momos to soups.

Pearls of Wisdom

To make this dish even simpler, you can purchase wonton wrappers instead of making and rolling your own dough. If you find it difficult to make the crescent shape, put the filling in the middle and pull up the ends in to a satchel shape

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  1. Anonymous

    Here in San Diego, some Tibetans made a very "SoCal" momos
    for my husband: avocado, montreyjack cheese, onions, etc.
    I must say that it was actually good!

  2. Anonymous

    Can't wait to try this. I wish I could get some Yak meat in NYC,anybody?

  3. Your momos look much better than mine. Unfortunately, I didn’t seal mine well eognuh and I lost most of the cheese filling into the fat. Oh well…just means I need to practise :) j

    • Saira

      Yes Irvan, thre is some fancy handwork required. But if you make them in the shape of a beggars purse, they would be fine too


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