City Food – Momos, Around Town
It’s not Tibet.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Monuments and the English language are not the only examples of how effortlessly Delhi handled foreign influences and made them its own. On makeshift stalls in South Extension market, migrants from Bihar sell the momos of Tibet.
Circular or half-moon shaped pieces of white flour dough, these mouthfuls are filled with vegetables or meat, steamed over a pot of boiling water, and served with fiery-hot red chilli sauce. The outer surface is slightly stingy and it rips open to the squishiness of garlicky stuffing.
If the popular stuffing in Lhasa is probably yak meat, in Delhi it is chicken. Vegetarian momos have grated cabbage, carrots and onions. Momos are also served fried on request.
For the authentic flavour, go to Majnu ka Tila, the Tibetan refugee settlement near Kashmere Gate, where the stuffing includes buffalo meat and pork. To get an Indian taste, try the stalls at South Extension-I, Basant Lok Market, Janpath (make sure to try at Depaul’s), Hauz Khas Village or in any other bazaar.
In a slavish kowtowing to the Delhi palate, a Chinese speciality restaurant in upscale Khan Market fills its momos with paneer. An eatery in Paharganj’s Main Bazaar stuffs them with turmeric-stained potatoes.
Delhi’s extreme aggressiveness, however, is best reflected in QD’s adaptation of this Tibetan food. This eatery in Delhi University’s North Campus has momos roasted in a tandoor and served with mint chutney. They call it the tandoori momo.
Makhani momo please