Cooking Nepali – Momos, Samosas & Daal

Our Didi and her sister-in-law were kind enough to provide me and a couple friends a cooking class in which they taught us how to cook Daal, Samosas and momos! Since we love the way they make all these foods, and others, Jean had decreed that I must learn these things for making when we are back in the ‘States and/or at our next post.

Before we even began, Bandana and Shila had already begun the Daal, mixing the red lentils into some water and bringing them to a boil.
Not to be locked in to just one task with a mountain of work ahea of us, they commenced with chopping and dicing the potatoes, carrots, beets and other ingredients.
Using our wok, we cooked the filling for the samosas while also mixing the momo filling, a mixture of minced chicken and spices.


Shila made the samosa dough, and pinched it into balls, Bandana showed us how to fill the wrappers. My first attempt solicited a straight minute of uproarious laughter, as I’m sure nothing as funny looking has been done by anyone other than a young wife in the kitchen.
Our first samosas, overstuffed with filling, split open in the oil like ripe cotton pods, subsequent attempts were better met.

Our recipe made about 50-60 Samosas (who can tell when you’re sampling the wares?), enough that we took some in to Jean’s work, froze some, etc. The daal was amazing, but not that amazing in description. Recipe to follow for that.

Making momos wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be; we became quite adept at shaping the little ovals into momo shapes with their chicken filling. The whole affair was quite informative and very tasty!

Daal

Red lentils, 2 cups
Water to cover lentils
Salt, to taste
Turmeric powder to make yellow
Garlic(4 cloves) and ginger 3-4 Tbsp), onions (2 small), finely minced
Tomato (1/2 pound or three medium/6 small), diced
Garlic and ginger into small container
Cilantro, one bunch
Salt to taste

Method
Large Dutch oven or pot
Rinse lentils, then put in pot and cover with water
Add salt, turmeric
Boil for 10 min, reduce heat and simmer covered; check every 10 min, add hot water if needed (needs to retain watery consistency)
Pour into medium bowl

In heated (high heat) Dutch oven, add 1/3 cup veg oil
Add garlic, ginger, onion, stir and brown
Reduce heat, Add tomato, stir in, continue simmering
Add pinch salt
After tomato is fully cooked, paste like, pour in daal
Increase heat to medium high, let cook, bring to boil
Add 1 Tbsp butter
Add coriander (1/3 of chopped), stir in both

Serve in bowl, garnish with coriander

Shila’s Samosas
Crust
1 kilo flour (5 cups)
2/3 cup crisco (butter is ok, not ghee)
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt

Filling
2 pounds potatoes (diced 1 inch cubes)
1 pound carrots (half-inch cubes diced)
2 beets (half-inch cubes diced)
1 kilo fresh peas
Grated ginger, 3 Tbs
1 rounded Tbsp”five spice whole” mustard seed, calojira, fennel, ajwin, cumin (Pach foran)
Raisins 4oz/114g
1 cup peanuts
3/4 cup cashews
3 tsp Cumin powder, rounded
3 indian Bay leaf
*for spice, add chili powder
Turmeric powder and salt to taste (1 tsp rounded, 1 Tbsp + 1-2 tsp)
3/4-1 cup veg oil for frying filling

Method for filling
Wash all produce, peel potatoes, beets, carrots
Chop produce
Combine beets, carrots in medium bowl, potatoes in their own bowl
Chop cashews, peanuts, put in small bowl with raisins
Heat pan (we used wok, Shila may use a deep iron skillet or even Dutch oven, 4 quart), med-high heat, and put 3/4-1 cup veg oil in hot pan
Add five spice mix, fry until browned, 2 min
Add three bay leaves, stir, 1 min
Add ground ginger, stir in
Add cumin, chile powder, stir
* if using dry, reconstituted peas, add now, stir to tenderize
Add beets, peas (if fresh) and carrots, stir to combine, continue stirring to keep from burning, cooking for 5 min
Add salt, continue cooking until vegetables are tender
Add potatoes, stir in, until combined
Fry potatoes for 2 minutes, then reduce heat and cover until potatoes are tender, continue to uncover and stir every 10 min
(Discard bay leaves after 15 minutes)
After potatoes are cooked, add in nut and raisin mixture, handful at a time, stir to combine
Turn out filling into bowl

Method for Crust
Put flour in bowl
Add crisco
Add sugar
Add salt
Mix until thoroughly combined
Add splash (1/3-1/2 cup) of warm or room temp water to begin making paste
Mix and continue to add small amounts until dough begins to form
Turn dough out onto surface to knead, 5-10 minutes, folding and kneading until dough becomes soft and springy. Divide into two balls
Pinch small balls, golf ball, roll with pin quite thin to wonton wrapper thickness, about six inch oval, slice in half
Pinch square edge to make pocket cone, folding one edge over the other, spoon filling, two small spoonfuls, pinch to close, making an overlap, not making the edges meet exactly

Achar
1 pound tomatoes
Grated ginger, 1 Tbsp
Chile powder, to taste
Sugar, to taste
Salt, to taste
1 tsp five spice

Method for Achar
Stew tomatoes until tender, remove from heat
Peel tomatoes
Put tomatoes in bowl and blend with immersion blender (or blend in standalone blender)
In medium pot, add oil to cover bottom of pot, put on med high heat
Add 1 tsp five spice, brown
Add 1 Tbsp grated ginger
1 tsp rounded turmeric, 1/2 tsp chili powder
Reduce heat
Add tomato puree, stir
Add 1/2 cup water, stir
Add 1 tsp salt, stir
Add sugar 1/2 cup sugar, additional to taste, stir
Add drops red food coloring if desired
Pour into small bowl over sieve
Put achar in small pot, med high heat, bring to boil, cook until thicker

Cooking
In fry pot, fill 3-4 inches oil, enough to immerse samosas, heat very hot, then reduce heat for frying.
Gently put in a few samosas, fry until golden brown, place on paper towel lined surface

Momos

(For 48 momos)
500 g chicken/buff/etc mince
2 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
1/4 cup chopped coriander
1 1/2 cup fresh minced onion (or onion powder 1 Tbsp)
1/4 tsp msg (optional)
Grated carrots (optional)
1 tsp momo masala
1/2 cup butter

Dough
1 1/2 cups flour, water for dough (unknown)

Method for filling
In large mixing bowl, put in cilantro,
Add chicken
Add grated ginger, onion, veg
Add masala
Melt butter, add
Mix until combined
Add salt to taste

Method for momos
Mix in water (?) to make dough
pinch balls, 1 ½” diameter
Roll out into thin, 3″ circles
Fill with one Tbsp filling
Keeping one side flat against pinky, left hand, poke thumb in middle as guide, using pointer fingers to create folds, press to close

Steam in Momo pot for 20-25 minutes.