Momos. Dumplings. Paneer. Steamed wonderfulness. Whatever you refer to it as, nothing feels better than combining 2 North Indian street foods into one.
“Momos” are a type of East & South Asian steamed filled dumpling that originates from the Himalayan regions of East-South Asia – Nepal, Le Ladakh, Tibet, Bhutan, Sikkim, etc. While similar to a Chinese dumpling or Japanese Gyozo, Momos are specifically influenced by Indian cuisine and spices. Brought through caravans flowing across the region and turned vegetarian to feed the Indian masses, “momo” loosely translates to “steamed bun“. A true delicacy of the Nepali region.
I experienced authentic street vendor Paneer Bhurji and Vegetarian Momos on two separate occasions in Amritsar, Punjab. It’s wild to think that both flavor profiles have been swirling in my head ever since, and it took Quarantine 2020 for me to think to combine them into one! Paneer Bhurji comes from NW India. Momos from NE India. QUEENS IN THE NORTH! I think Sansa would approve.
While my dumpling folding skills can use some work (lol), the taste is what matters (and I promise I’ve perfected it). I’ve had 10 of them as I type this, and slowly drifting into a satisfying food coma….. but all so worth it.
PREP: 35 minutes TOTAL: 1 hour YIELD: 4-6 servings
- 1/2 lb. Paneer
- 1 Red Onion, diced small
- 1 Green Bell Pepper, diced small
- 2 Tomatoes, chopped small
- 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp. Ginger, grated
- 2-3 Green Chilies, minced
- 1 tsp. Whole Cumin Seeds
- 1½ tbsp. Pav Bhaji Masala
- 1 tsp. Turmeric
- 1 tsp. Red Chili Powder (or Paprika)
- 1/2 tsp. Garam Masala
- 1/2 tsp. Coriander Powder
- 1/2 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
- 1/2 tsp. Salt (to taste)
- 1/3 cup Water
- 2 tbsp. Soy Sauce
- 1 tbsp. Lime Juice
- 1 tbsp. Cooking Oil
- 1 pack Frozen or Homemade Dumpling Wrappers
- 1 large skillet pan with lid
- Cooking Oil
- Prepare Paneer: Cut paneer into 1 inch cubes. Add cubes into food processor, and pulse until paneer is crumbled into a fine texture. Set aside.
- In pan over medium-to-low heat, heat up 1 tbsp. Cooking Oil. Add in Whole Cumin Seeds and toast for 10 seconds. Add in minced Garlic, grated Ginger, and chopped Green Chilies. Sauté for 30 seconds.
- Add in diced Red Onion and Green/Red bell pepper, and sauté for additional 1 minute.
- Mix in chopped Tomatoes, Water, Soy Sauce, and Lime Juice. Let cook for 1 minute until liquid paste like consistency.
- Sprinkle in Pav Bhaji Masala, Garam Masala, Trumeric, Coriander Powder, Red Chili Powder, Salt, and Ground Black Pepper. Mix.
- Add Paneer crumbles. Gently mix until incorporated. Paneer Bhurji is done!
- Assemble Dumplings: Add a heaping 1 tbsp. of the Paneer Bhurji mixture into the middle of a dumpling wrapper. Lightly coat one edge of wrapper with water, and fold/pleat dumpling into desired shape (I used the #5 easy round basket shape). Repeat for desired amount of dumplings.
- Cook Dumplings:
Method 1 – Skillet Pan (easiest): Over medium heat, heat up 1 tbsp. Cooking Oil in skillet. Arrange 6-8 dumplings across skillet seam side up. Cook until bottom of dumplings are lightly browned (~1 minute). Add 1/2 cup of water to bottom of skillet, cover with lid, and let dumplings steam cook for ~5 minutes or until water has evaporated. Repeat for remainder of dumplings.
Method 2 – Steamer Basket (traditional): Fill bottom of large pot halfway with water. Heat up over medium heat until lightly boiling. Carefully set steam basket in pot ensuring it does not touch water. Set 6-8 dumplings across basket seam side up. Close pot with lid and let steam for ~8-10 minutes or until dumplings have translucent color. Repeat for remainder of dumplings.
- Serve and Enjoy!
#TashTip: The paneer bhurji can be served on it’s own and leftovers can be kept frozen! Serve dumplings with a side of soy sauce, sriracha, or maggie hot & sweet sauce!