Monday, September 14, 2015

Apple Momo

That day in October 1997, trekking in the Kali Gandaki region of Nepal, on day 2 we reached a place called Tatopani, where we found a good lodging by name 'Old Kamala Guest House' and rested there. There they had electric supply and even a microwave oven! For dinner, skipping normal Nepali menu, we ordered à la carte. They made excellent 'Apple Momos' and Chicken Noodle Soup. I tasted apple momos for the first time in my life there!

Apple momo is a  half moon shaped deep fried crispy snack with a crumbly outer crust resembling samosa and inner apple stuffing tasting sweet like Gujiyas/Nevriyos. The apple stuffing had dark brown colour, sticky in appearance and had a hint of cinnamon flavour within.  They make at least 6" long momos and couple of momos followed by a bowl of vegetable sweet corn soup, was really filling!

Reminiscing over the taste of Apple Momos tasted there in December 1997, I told Meena, we can make it at home. I told her the probable ingredients that go into them. We made them at home, but it was not as good as what we had eaten there in Nepal. The outer cover was not very encouraging. Stuffing was good with all the flavours, but we used normal sugar that we caramalised alsong with apples and added cinnamon powder. The idea of making perfect outer cover and the stuffing came to my mind much later, after we succeeded in making Punjabi Samosas, and Meena started using Demerara Sugar in baking.

I was in search of green cooking apple, but in Mangalore we hardly see them in the local markets. I got regular red Himachal Apples, but they were not too sweet. That served my purpose, and I added lemon juice to make them taste as tangy as cooking apples. Addition of bread crumbs dehydrates the apple chunks and makes the stuffing firm even after deep frying the momos.

Now you may wonder what are momos. Momos are Tibetan dumplings with savoury veg or seafood or nonveg or sweet fruity filling, normally steamed, sometimes deep fried, essentially served with a dipping sauce. Nepalis also make momos due to close proximity to Tibet, and much of Nepali cooking is influenced by Indian, Tibetan and Chinese cuisine. Thus, momos also are part of Nepali cuisine. The striking resemblance of Apple Momos to gujiyas or nevriyos is also because of the Indian influence. Nepalis eat momos for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Though they make simple momo skins(Outer cover or patti) with refined flour, salt and water. I added oil to the dough to make it more crisp and crumbly. Nepalis mostly steam the momos and then deep fry them, but I skipped that step, since my recipe is based on the samosa and biscuit rotti recipes for making the outer dough cover. I also made them 1/3 the size of the momos we had eaten in Nepal, since these were made as tea time snack by me.

So folks, what are you waiting for! Don't hesitate when Kudpiraj recommends them and gives you an authentic recipe that's gonna be a sure hit. These Apple Momos will definitely make your kids shout "Wow yummy!" and ask for more. Besides, the fresh apple season is still on.
Cooking Apples - 2(250 Gms)
Lemon - 1/2
Butter - 2 Tbsp
Demerara(Brown) Sugar - 3 Tbsp
Cinnamon Powder - 1/4 Tsp
Bread Crumbs - 3 Tbsp
Refined Flour(Maida) - 1.5 Cups
White Sesame Seeds - 2 Tsp
Salt - 1/2 Tsp
Refined vegetable Oil - 3 Tbsp + for deep frying
Water - QS(About 1/2 cup)

Mix refined flour, salt and sesame seeds.
Add 3 tbsp oil and rub with your fingers to form crumbs.
Add water little by little and keep kneading for 10 minutes to make a stiff but pliable dough.
Make a ball of dough and keep covered for 1-2 hours at room temperature.
Wash and peel apples, remove the core and chop them into tiny bits, squeeze in lemon juice, mix and keep aside.
Melt butter in a pan and add the chopped apples.
Add demerara sugar and sauté for 2 minutes when sugar starts to caramalise.
Sprinkle cinnamon powder and mix well.
After another minute, add bread crumbs, allow the mixture to dry up and then switch off the flame, allow to cool down.
Knead the dough again for a minute and divide into 4 equal parts.
Make a ball of each part, dust with flour, flatten a bit and roll on the kitchen platform work space into a thin sheet.
Shape does not matter, need not look like map of Nepal, but should be easy to be stamped into discs!
With the help of a 3" cookie cutter or a jar lid, stamp out discs.
You can make around 30 such discs.
You can store extra discs packed in a ziploc bag dusted with flour, and freeze them for future use.
Place one teaspoon of the apple stuffing in the center.
Fold the disc into half moon shape and pinch the edges to seal them.
You can either pinch the edges with your fingers to form floral pattern, press with a fork, or even use a momo mould to give shape and design to them.
Make momos like this and keep in the fridge until you fry them.
Heat oil in a deep frying pan/kadai on medium flame.
Reduce the flame to sim, once the oil heats up.
Don't allow the oil to fume.
Drop in 4-5 momos at a time and deep fry on slow heat for 2-3 minutes on both sides.
Once crisp and golden, drain them and serve hot with ketchup or sweet tamarind chutney.

The outer cover dough should be almost equal in volume, to that of apples.
The dough here is suitable only for deep fried/baked momos.
To make steamed momos, you may skip adding oil and sesame seeds to the dough, and add little more water while kneading.Ready made momo moulds are available at major stores in different sizes.

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