Cooking Tibetan Momo Lockdown Day 6

I love globalization, I love the fact that we can see each other no matter where we live in the world, that we can love, despise, befriend, hate each other, that we can exchange information. I love interracial, international, inter-religious meetings. 300 years in the future, when we will understand and accept our cultural differences, we will live happily together. Until then, I do not want to forget that we are contemporaneous only once in history, we have not met in the past, we will not meet in the future, at least not in this form. A minor, yet a major benefit of globalization is that we can sometimes indulge in a delicious Tibetan Momo. How could we have tasted all kinds of culinary recipes if people hadn’t wandered around the world and everyone would have remained home?

As culinary performances, the dishes from around the world have reached the same level of perfection. If our mentalities will reach a level as sophisticated as the dishes and they will become uniform, even if they keep their specificity, we will have a little heaven around here.

The sixth day of lockdown was a relaxed one. My Parisian boyfriend and I did almost nothing; we just sat on our couches and had video calls. None of us got dressed; however, I put on makeup and made him laugh about it because he said that he liked my quarantine lipstick. He felt good about himself that he still took showers and sometimes combed his long hair. Well, without lipstick, I cannot accept video calls.

At some point, we got really hungry and he came with the idea of cooking something and have dinner together, online, of course. He chose the menu. He searched the internet and found the Tibetan Momo, a kind of exotic dumpling in Tibet, half-moon in shape that can be cooked in various ways including steamed, fried, and boiled. Momo usually dips in special sauce, made of tomato sauce and mustard. Fried Momo dipped with this sauce fantastically tastes like the flavor of curry.

His choice pleased me as I love Tibetan culture since I have written my first book ”The Training of Joy” in which I have a Tibetan character. He told me that he chose the Tibetan Momo on purpose, to please me. Even though I gave him my book a few months ago, he hasn’t read it until this lockdown. I thought he would never read it, but on his first day of self-isolation, when he started to clean his house like everyone else, I made a little joke. I said to him that it was time to clean even the windows and for that purpose, he might use a book he had in the house. He could soak it in water and clean the windows. At least, that book came in handy after all. So, he read it, he liked it and now he wanted to please me choosing a Tibetan dish for today’s dinner.

Luckily, my parents have a huge kitchen. I went downstairs, in their kitchen, and spread all over it the ingredients for Momo. Because neither of us didn’t have yak meat on our disposal, we declared ourselves satisfied with minced pork meat and beef. You can also use chicken or mutton meat if you have any.

Firstly, we prepared the dough. That part seemed easy to me and surprisingly, I made it at the same time as my Parisian lover. We used all-purpose flour, a touch of salt, and water. We mixed by hand about 2 cups of wheat flour and blended it with between 3/4 cups and 1 cup of water until we made a pretty smooth ball of dough. Then, we knead the dough very well until the dough became flexible. We left it in the pot with one piece of wet cloth on it while we prepared the rest of the ingredients because we shouldn’t let the dough dry out, otherwise, it would have been hard to work with it later.

The next task seemed difficult for me. Firstly because I had to be careful and put all the ingredients in the mixture. We both had pork and beef mixture. We added two onions, two cloves of garlic, a bunch of cilantro, one pound of cabbage, one-quarter pound of dark brown mushrooms, two tablespoons of soy sauce, one teaspoon of vegetable bouillon. You can also use chicken or beef bouillon.

He chopped the meat with gingers and garlic and said that this would bring a better sense of flavor. I had no ginger at my hands. In the end, we added two rough eggs in the filling, which I noticed later that that dramatically enhanced the mouthfeel.

We put all the ingredients in a big bowl, added a little soybean sauce, and mix them thoroughly until every ingredient was mixing together very well.

The moment of making the Momo came. On a chopping board, we used a rolling pin to roll it out. For me, who chose to steam the Momo, it was a bit easier because I didn’t have to roll it too thin. He chose to fry the Momo, but he’s a skillful cook so, it was no problem for him to roll the dough thinner or thicker.

Then, we need to cut it into little round pieces for each Momo. We used a small cup upside down and cut the dough in circles about the size of the palm of the hand and we began to shape the Momos. We chose the half-moon shape because it stands for a more decent Tibetan style. We hold the flat circular dough in one hand and put a tablespoon of filling in the middle of the dough, then, fold the circle of dough in half, covered over the filling and pressed together with the two edges of the half-circle so that there was no open edge in the half circle, ensuring the filling was completely enclosed in the dough.

For my steamed Momo, I oiled the bottom of the steamer basket well and arranged the Momos there without touching. I let it cook for 20-25 minutes in the steamer.

For the fried Momo, you need to heat rape oil in a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Once the oil heats up, you should place some Momos in the pan, trying to move them apart enough so that to prevent them from sticking together. Fry the Momos for 2-3 minutes until the dough turns into light brown. Add 50 milliliters of water to the pan and heat it over high heat. Cover the pan and leave it like that until the water evaporates completely. Then, open the pan and turn the heat back to medium. Add some oil to the pan and fry them until they are crispy with golden brown bottoms. Once the Momos are cooked, you should place them on a plate with a paper towel on it to absorb the excess oil.

yangling-tibetan-restaurant

Our evening ended in a very satisfying way, eating, having a glass of red wine, and telling funny stories after we got a little tipsy. I don’t know if my Momo tasted the same as his. I can bet his Momo was tastier; however, cooking something more complicated for the first time in my life, I felt proud of myself. Love is a funny thing. It always manages to make us do things that we normally wouldn’t do. For this reason, I adore love and this feeling makes me think about the best line I ever heard. I heard it in my favorite movie, “Interstellar”, where the leading female character says: “Love is that force of the Universe which people haven’t fully understood yet.” We haven’t fully understood this feeling, I’m certain about it. I only know that every time I loved someone, I evolved because I wanted to look better than I am in the eyes of the one I loved.

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