“Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate”– Alan D. Wolfelt
From the above quotation we can realize the influence of food in our life. Momo is a snacktime love of a substantial population of the planet earth. It is known in different names in different parts of the world. There are very few people in the planet who haven’t fallen in love with this tasty tongue-burner after consuming it for the first time. The strong presence of momo in almost all the popular street corners of small towns to metro cities in the Asia specifically in the Indian sub-continent is well-known. Nowadays we get momo in different forms and variants. Today I am going to shed some light on a few interesting but less known facts on momo.
Although the exact origin is still fuzzy but the most probable birthplace of momo is Tibet. After its inception in Tibet it became popular across the southern Asia in a very short period of time. The recipes of this delicate dumpling have passed down through generations. Momo is generally considered as traditional exquisite in Assam, North Bengal, Sikkim, Bhutan and Nepal.
The term “momo” is a Chinese word which originated from the Tibetan word “mog mog”. It has other names such as “jiaozi” and “baozi” in China. It is known as “gyoza” in Japan whereas Mongolians call it “buuz”. Afghans use the term “mantu” to represent similar dumpling. In Korea it is known as “mandu”. The very popular name “dimsum” actually came from Mauritius. There are some variations in the stuffings in different countries. Now the popularity of momo is also increasing exceptionally in UK and USA.
Although we are now familiar with three basic variants such as pan-fried, fried and steamed momos, originally momo was served in the steamy form. At first momo was actually made up of yak-meat due to the scarcity of vegetables in the Himalayan rough terrain of Tibet. As it invaded in India through Nepal and gained popularity it began to contain vegetables inside it for the large vegetarian population. Lately, momo has retained its relation with meat specifically chicken is most popular stuffings as it is a cheaper and healthier substitute. Recently paneer has made its way into the line up of common vegetable stuffings.
The boiled chicken or vegetable based stock in the momo-making steamer is known as mucktoo. Nowadays mostly metal steamers are used whereas bamboo based steamers are more traditional. Generally momo is an integral part of thukpa which is a Tibetan noodle soup. Bhutanese generally add the “dalle khursani” in the sauce commonly served with dumplings. The dalle khursani is considered to be one of the spiciest chillies in the world.
Of late more and more unconventional stuffings and garnishing techniques have increased the calorie content of the momos. Just like many other south Asian cuisines the extensive use of Mono Sodium Glutamate (MSG) is common in the preparation of momo. The MSG is well known for its health hazards.
Despite the side effects, moderate consumption of this scrumptious platter is a foodie’s delight!