Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake

Momo update

the_child and her friend J worked with me today in the vast and copiously equipped test kitchens here at Rancho Lake to make a new batch of momos. (Recipe here, in case you missed it.) These are tasty Tibetan treats, American style, which I believe were described at the Rainforest retreat as the "no mo' slo-mo promo po-mo faux mo momo". Basically, yeast dough with spiced meat folded in, then pan fried and served warm with a dip mixed from soy sauce and vinegar.

Being as how lisamantchev and I had recently been IM'ing possible variants to the preparation, I took the opportunity to launch several alternate methods of cookery. I did not photograph the results, as I was managing two burners, a hot oven and two nine year old children, but I can describe them.

Méthode traditionnelle

The raw momos are laid into the oil and fried, flipping once as with pancakes. This is as documented in the recipe. Crunchy and tasty, with oily goodness.

La première variation

Raw momos were lowered into boiling water (in a colander, double boiler style). One was left in for about four minutes, the other for about six. No significant difference between the two, except the six-minute version was even chewier. Expected result was something like hum bao (steamed pork buns) or gyoza (pot stickers). I liked them, but no one else involved did. (On the other hand, I like hum bao.) Not a likely crowd pleaser, but perfectly decent. I suspect with this preparation they could only be eaten fresh from the pot. Once cold, they are probably quite nasty. Could be steamed instead of boiled, but I don't know that would improve things much.

La deuxième variation

Raw momos were laid on baking parchment on a cookie sheet and baked at 425 until they looked sort of brown. I was aiming for the color of the visible rim of pizza crust. I think this was about 10-12 minutes, but I didn't time it because I was otherwise engaged. After cooling, they were cut apart and eaten. The kids liked them quite a bit this way, though as expected the breadiness was emphasized, in lieu of the crunchy fried-ness of the ordinary preparation. Almost certainly much healthier than the original recipe, nearly as tasty, and they probably would keep as well or better, except we ate both of the test momos so I can't check that until the next time I cook them.

La troisième variation

Raw momos were lowered into boiling water for about thirty seconds, then laid on baking parchment on a cookie sheet and baked at 425 until golden brown. (Absent an oven with misters, this is how you make bagels at home, by briefly boiling the dough.) I think this was about 12-15 minutes, but I didn't time it, either. This was the winner, having a tasty golden crust somewhat reminiscent of an egg wash. A bit chewier than the straight baked product, while still lacking the oil of the original recipe. Also the largest hassle to make of the variants, though not to an annoying degree.

En conclusion

Someone with more kitchen sense than I is welcome to comment on these variations, or suggest others. Steaming, as mentioned above, might be worth trying once. Deep frying might be interesting, though that certainly won't make them any healthier. An actual egg wash might be nice too, though it's yet another step in the process -- still, dabbing that on and sprinkling sesame seeds before they go into the oven could be quite festive and tasty.
Tags: child, personal, recipe

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