Saturday, 11 August 2012

Olympic Food Challenge - Chicken Momos - Nepal

So here we are on the penultimate day of the Olympic Food Challenge and, for that matter, the penultimate day of the Olympic Games.  Team GB have just clocked up another amazing win from Mo Farah in the 5,000m.  Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, I was able to view this feat on my phone whilst perched on the toilet seat in the bathroom as Miss A had her bath.

Sadly for Nepal, their athletes (five competitors, three disciplines) will be returning empty handed.  But thanks to their presence at the games, I got to make one of my favourite recipes from this challenge.  More on that shortly.

They are actually dumplings.  Not garlic bulbs!
As for a bit about Nepal, well this is where I've really failed.  Some years ago, one of my most lovely friends decided that he and I needed to take a trip to Nepal.  I have no idea why he chose this location.  I'm sure he must've said at the time but I was too busy nursing a broken heart after being dumped by my first serious boyfriend.  I think it was something that F had always wanted to do and thought that dragging me along for the ride would be entertaining.  I duly went out and bought a guide book to Nepal, scared myself silly as it was totally not my kind of holiday but thanks to Fate, F got a shiny new job, the moment passed and all I have to tell for the tale is that guide book.

Lord knows where it is.  I'm sure it's probably still in one of the packing boxes from when I finally moved out from the house I shared with the ex (I stayed on for a year after that).  I've moved twice since then and have boxes scattered at my current house, my mother's house, my grandfather's house and there are still a couple at the ex's house that he keeps trying to convince me to take.


Rather than boring you with details you can find on Wikipedia, I will tell you what I know off the top of my head.  It's somewhere in Asia.  It's landlocked.  It's where Everest is.  Those three points alone put me off of wanting to do the trip 12 years ago (although F is an amazing mate and I would have gone despite my misgivings).

Had I made it, I hopefully would've gotten to try Momos.  They're basically a dumpling like Chinese dim-sum but filled with a curry-based mixture of either meat or vegetables.  For real authenticity, I bought a Chinese bamboo steamer (much to the husband's dismay - it's another piece of kitchenware that will eventually end up in my massive box of rarely used utensils in the garage).  I also went so far as to make my own wrappers - mostly because I wouldn't have a clue where to buy them in provincial Wiltshire.

Best flag of the challenge
It was all surprisingly easy.  Chop up some meat and veg finely.  Stick in a shed-load of spices and leave to marinate for at least an hour.  The wrappers are just a flour and water dough, kneaded for ten minutes and then shaped into small balls and rolled out to 3 inches in diameter.  You fill, twist the tops and then steam them for 10-15 minutes.  This also scared the husband because he has a thing about fire and got all twitchy when I put a bamboo steamer over a naked flame.  How he missed the whacking great pot of water sandwiched between the two is beyond me.  I swear he was one digit away from dialling 999.

The filling was tasty.  Kind of like a Chinese-y curry rather than an Indian one.  All the taste but none of the heat (despite me going overboard with the chilli).  It would make a good spring roll filling too and I intend to do this with the rest of the mixture and some filo pastry tomorrow night.  The wrappers came out well too.  I was worried they'd be a little doughy, but they were kind of like a soft pasta.  I must admit, I'd run out of regular plain flour so used 00 pasta flour which may or may not have made a slight difference to the texture.

A gold for this one and I'll definitely be playing with the steamer again.  I can see us investing in a fire extinguisher for the kitchen very shortly though.

You can find the recipe here.  I made a fifth of it and it was enough to make 12 dumplings.  There are also tons of other tasty momo recipes to try on that page (which I'll be doing soon!)

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