Quick and easy vegetarian momo made with paneer and few aromatics. Steamed or pan-fried, Nepali paneer momo is a perfect as a meal, appetizer, or for a gathering with your loved ones.
Last week, I did an instagram live with my friend Ruchi at The Chai High Tea and we talked all things Nepali chiya and momo, two things that are quintessential to Nepali way of life. Momo is a type of dumpling from Tibet/Nepal and depending on the region/family/restaurant, you will find a variety of fillings in momo including water buffalo, chicken, pork, paneer, and potatoes. The Nepali paneer momo I am sharing today is a reflection of momo I grew up with in Kathmandu, which almost always have aromatics like onion, ginger, garlic, and momo masala and served with tomato aachar.
Paneer is a fresh, unaged cheese made by curdling the milk with acid such as lemon juice or vinegar. You can easily make paneer at home or buy them at most Indian/International grocery stores. For a vegetarian filling, paneer is a fantastic choice for momo as the texture is soft without being too moist, which sometimes can be an issue with tofu and vegetables.
I am using momo masala in this recipe, which is a prepackaged spice mix with various spices. I find curry powder or garam masala to be the closest substitute. Start with ½ the amount, taste, and adjust as needed. Another option is a generous pinch of cumin powder, coriander powder, chili powder in the filling.
Personally, I like steamed momo with tangy, spicy tomato achar. You can definitely pan-fry momo but don’t skip out on the tomato achar. I have a whole post dedicated to Nepali momo achar recipes if you need ideas. I promise there is something for everyone.
Nepali Paneer Momo
makes about 18-20 momo
6 oz paneer, break into small pieces
¼ cup finely minced onion
1 heaping tablespoon minced ginger
1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic
2 scallions, finely chopped
2 teaspoon momo masala (or use 1 teaspoon curry powder/garam masala or a small pinch of cumin, coriander, and chili powder - taste and adjust as needed)
¼-1/2 teaspoon salt to taste
1 packet store-bought dumpling wrapper (or you can make homemade wrapper)
In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients for the filling and set aside.
If cooking immediately, fill the steamer pot with water and bring it a rolling boil. Grease the steamer basket with cooking spray or oil and set it aside.
To wrap dumplings, first take a piece of wrapper and damp the top half edge of the wrapper with water.
Put 1-1.5 teaspoon of filling into the wrapper. Wrap them by pinching the edges and sealing them together into your desired shape.
Place the prepared dumpling on a well greased steamer basket. Once the basket is full and the steamer is ready, steam it for about 12-15 minutes.
Alternatively, you can make dumplings ahead of time and freeze for later use. Arrange the folded dumplings on a baking sheet and freeze for few hours. Transfer them to a ziplock bag and keep in the freezer until ready to use.
Directly steam or pan-fry frozen dumplings and follow the same cooking instructions.
Serve with tomato achar of your choice.
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