Momos are a popular street food in northern parts of India. These are also known as Dim Sum and are basically dumplings made from flour with a savory stuffing. Learn to make these popular Tibetan recipe of easy vegetable momos from scratch with two folding techniques. The recipe is vegan.
About this Recipe
- What are Momos? As I have mentioned above, momos are dumplings made with flour and a savory stuffing. This stuffing can be made with veggies, sea-food, chicken or paneer (cottage cheese) .
- Method of cooking: Momos can be steamed, baked or deep-fried. We prefer steamed momos over the fried ones. This recipe is for making steamed momos.
Savory stuffing: This momo recipe has a stuffing of mix veggies. The veggies I prefer to add are a mix of cabbage, carrots, french beans, capsicum and onions.
I also add some white button mushrooms for a meaty texture and they also give a nice umami flavor.
- Dough: The dough for the dumplings is made with all-purpose flour. But you can even make the dough with whole wheat flour.
- Taste: In this recipe, the savory veggie filling has a balanced taste and is lightly spiced, so that it accompanies any spicy and hot sauce very well.
- Time intensive: Making momos or dim sum takes quite a good amount of time. So when you have enough time to spare, then make them. If you have a helping hand, then the time will reduce. But if you do everything on your own, it takes about 1.5 to 2 hrs, depending on your working speed and the gadgets you have in your kitchen.
- Shaping: The shaping of the momos come through practice and I do shape them decently. In the step-by-step photo guide below, I have shared two ways of shaping momos. Choose the shaping method that is easy for you.
- A Video made for you: You can also check the video showing the entire process of making veg momos from scratch. See the video in the recipe card, if you cannot understand the shaping part from the step by step photos below.
We love steaming hot momos with a spicy sauce. I make these on days when we crave for some southeast asian food.
I have had one of the best dim sum in the Mainland China Restaurant decades back. That time I did not know that dim sum would become a popular street food in the northern parts of India.
Some years back when we lived in Gurgaon, I was amazed to see dim sum as a street food snack in many places.
When living in Goa, there was a restaurant just a few kilometers from our place and specialized only in momos with different kinds of stuffings. The owner’s wife was a Tibetan and she and her staff would prepare the dumplings
The sauce they used to serve with the momos was a spicy, hot sauce and so good. I even had these steamed dumplings with a very spicy sauce in Dharamsala, India.
The momos are not spicy but the sauce that is served with these is spicy. I have a really good recipe of a spicy momos sauce which we call as Momos Chutney. You can try this spicy sauce when you make these steamed dumplings.
You can even serve these with schezwan sauce or sriracha sauce or hoisin sauce or red chilli garlic sauce.
How to make momos or dim sum
For ease of understanding, I have divided this post into 4 main parts.
- Step 1 – Making the dough
- Step 2 – Making veggie stuffing
- Step 3 – Shaping momos
- Step 4 – Steaming veg momos
Lets begin with Step 1 – Making the dough
1. Take 1 cup all-purpose flour, ¼ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon oil in a bowl. Mix well with a spoon.
2. Add 2 to 3 tablespoon water in parts and begin to knead to a firm dough. Do not make the dough soft as then it becomes difficult to shape the dumplings. If required you can add 1 to 2 tablespoons more water.
3. Cover the dough with a moist napkin or kitchen towel. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
Step 2 – Making veggie stuffing
4. Finely chop the vegetables. You will need 1.5 to 1.75 cups of finely chopped veggies. You can also use a food processor to finely chop vegetables like cabbage, carrots, french beans.
Veggies like capsicum (green bell pepper), button mushrooms and spring onions (scallions) can be chopped with a knife.
5. Heat oil in a thick bottomed frying pan or wok. Add ½ teaspoon finely chopped garlic. Sauté for 2 to 3 seconds on medium-low heat.
6. Add spring onion whites (2 small spring-onions which have been chopped finely) . Stir and sauté for 10 to 15 seconds on medium-low heat.
7. Add all the finely chopped vegetables.
8. Increase the flame and stir fry the vegetables on a medium to high heat. If you have not used a thick bottomed pan, then sauté the veggies on a low to medium heat. Sauté or stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Then add 1 teaspoon soy sauce, ½ teaspoon black pepper and salt as per taste.
9. Continue to stir fry on a medium to high flame for 2 to 3 minutes more. Switch off the heat and add 1 to 2 tbsp of the spring onions greens. Mix well. Check the taste and add more salt, pepper or soy sauce, if needed.
10. The vegetable stuffing is ready. Let the stuffing cool completely.
Step 2 – Shaping momos, 1st method
11. Divide the dough in two parts.
12. Make a 7 to 8 inches log from each part. cut the log into equal slices.
13. Shape into a ball of each dough piece and keep them covered with a moist napkin.
14. Take each dough ball and on a lightly dusted board. Roll each dough ball into a thin circle of about 3 to 4 inches diameter.
15. The edges have to be thin and the center has to be thick.
16. Apply water with your finger tip or with a small pastry brush towards the circumference. This is an optional step.
17. Place 2 to 3 teaspoons of vegetable stuffing in the center.
18. Lift one side of the edge and start pleating. (You can also refer to the video above or in the recipe card below to see how the pleating is done).
19. Begin to pleat the momos.
20. Join all the pleats in the center.
21. A pleated and shaped dim sum.
Step 3 – Shaping momos , 2nd method
22. Another simple technique to shape momos – join the edges
23. This is an easy method. The momo is shaped like gujiya or karanji. You can stop here or can proceed to the next step.
24. Bring both the end together and join.
25. Prepare all momos this way and keep them covered under a moist napkin until you are ready to steam them.
Step 4 – Steaming veg momos
26. Grease a steamer pan with some oil.
27. Arrange them in the pan, keeping space between them.
28. Steam them in an electric cooker or a steamer pan. You can also use idli pan or pressure cooker to steam. Add 2 cups water in the pot or pan while steaming. (Check recipe notes in the recipe card below.)
29. Cover and steam for 5 to 6 minutes till the outer dough becomes transparent. Don’t overcook as then the outer dough, becomes dense and chewy. The steaming time may vary upon the thickness of momos’ cover.
When you touch the momo then dough should not feel sticky to you. This means they are done and the momos will have a transparent look.
30. Serve veg momos hot with momos chutney or red chilli-garlic chutney, spicy schezwan sauce or tomato sauce. They also go best with a spicy sauce and should be eaten hot.
- Dough: The dough has to be firm and tight. Do not add more water and make the dough soft. A softer dough won’t be easy to shape.
- Stuffing: For the stuffing you could use your favorite veggies. You could also make a stuffing with just button mushrooms or a mix of fresh mushrooms. Another variation would be use some mashed or boiled potatoes and paneer (Indian cottage cheese.
- Spices, herbs and seasonings: In the stuffing I prefer some umami and so I love adding soy sauce. But you can experiment with different flavors here. Say – Indian ground spices and herbs, Mexican seasoning, Miso or any flavor profile you like.
- Steaming: While steaming do keep some space between the dumplings. After steaming the momos expand and you don’t want them sticking to each other. The steaming can be done in an Instant Pot, Electric Cooker, Pot or even in a Idli steamer (all options mentioned in the notes section of the recipe card below).
- Checking for doneness: After the momos are steamed, when you touch the dough it should not feel sticky. The momos will also look transparent.
- Gluten Free: You can make dim sum gluten-free by using a millet flour or rice flour. Just shaping them can be tricky. Add enough boiling water, ½ teaspoon oil, ¼ teaspoon salt to 1 cup of any millet flour or rice flour. Mix with a spoon. Cover and let dough become warm and then knead to a smooth dough.
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Veg momos or dim sum are steamed dumplings stuffed with a lightly spiced vegetable filling. A popular tibetan recipe and also a popular North Indian street food.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cuisine Indian, Tibetan, World
Course: Appetizers, Snacks
Diet: Low Fat, Vegan, Vegetarian
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Servings 15 veg momos
Take the all-purpose flour, salt, oil in a bowl and mix them well with a spoon.
Add water in parts and knead to a firm dough. Cover the dough and keep aside for 30 minutes.
Making vegetable stuffing
Finely chop all the vegetables. You can also use a food processor to chop the vegetables.
In a thick bottomed pan heat oil. Add finely chopped garlic. Sauté for 2 to 3 seconds on medium-low heat.
Add spring onion whites and sauté for 10 to 15 seconds on medium-low heat. Then add all the finely chopped vegetables.
Increase the flame and stir fry the vegetables on a medium to high heat. If you have not used a thick bottomed pan, then saute the veggies on a low to medium heat.
Sauté or stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Then add soy sauce, salt and pepper.
Continue to stir fry on a medium to high flame for 2 to 3 minutes more.
Switch off the flame and add the spring onions greens. Mix well.
Check the taste and add more salt, pepper or soy sauce, if required. Set the stuffing aside until it cools completely.
Divide the dough in two parts. Make a 7 to 8 inches log from each part. Cut the log into equal slices.
Make ball of each slice and keep them covered with a moist napkin.
Take each dough ball and on a lightly dusted board, roll each dough ball into a thin circle of about 3 to 4 inches in diameter.
Try to get the edges to be thin and the center to be thick.
Place 2 or 3 teaspoons of vegetable stuffing in the center.
Lift one side of the edge and start pleating. (Refer to the video below to see how pleating is done).
Start folding and forming the pleats one by one. Towards the end, join the pleats in the center.
Prepare all momos this way and keep them covered under a moist napkin. Till you are ready to steam them.
Steaming veg momos
Heat 1.5 to 2 cups water in a steamer or in an electric cooker or in a pressure cooker. Let the water come to a boil.
In a greased steamer pan or in idli moulds, place the momos keeping some space between them so that they don’t touch each other. Check notes on how to steam the momos in idli pan or pressure cooker or Instant Pot.
Steam them for 5 to 6 minutes.
Don’t overdo the steaming, as the dough becomes dense and dry.
The steaming time may vary upon the thickness of momos’ cover.
When you touch the momo then dough should not feel sticky to you. This means they are done and the momos will have a transparent look.
Time of cooking varies from intensity of the flame and kind of pan and the steamer you are using.
Once done, remove them and keep on a serving tray or plate. Garnish with spring onion greens.
Serve veg momos with a spicy sauce like schezwan sauce or tomato-chili sauce or chili sauce. You can also serve it with red chilli garlic chutney.
Stuffing: For the stuffing you could use your favorite veggies. You could also make a stuffing with just button mushrooms or a mix of fresh mushrooms. Another variation would be use some mashed or boiled potatoes and paneer (Indian cottage cheese.
Spices, herbs and seasonings: In the stuffing I prefer some umami and so I love adding soy sauce. But you can experiment with different flavors here. Say – Indian ground spices and herbs, Mexican seasoning, Miso or any flavor profile you like.
Steaming: While steaming do keep some space between the dumplings. After steaming the momos expand and you don’t want them sticking to each other. The steaming can be done in an Instant Pot, Electric Cooker, Pot or even in a Idli steamer (all options mentioned in the notes section of the recipe card below).
Checking for doneness: After the momos are steamed, when you touch the dough it should not feel sticky. The momos will also look transparent.
Gluten Free: You can make dim sum gluten-free by using a millet flour or rice flour. Just shaping them can be a tricky. Add enough boiling water, ½ teaspoon oil, ¼ teaspoon salt to 1 cup of any millet flour or rice flour. Mix with a spoon. Cover and let dough become warm and then knead to a smooth dough.
Substitutes: Use tamari or bragg liquid aminos in place of soy sauce. Use white pepper in place of black pepper. Use onions (red or white) or shallots in place of spring onions (scallions).
Steaming dim sum in an Instant pot or stovetop Pressure Cooker:
- Keep a trivet inside the IP steel insert or the stove-top pressure cooker. Add 1.5 to 2 cups water.
- Bring the water to boil. For IP, you will need to use the sauté button to get the water to a boiling stage.
- Place the pan containing the dim sum or momos on the trivet.
- For Instant Pot, position the valve to steam release position on the lid. Seal and using the steam option, steam for 5 to 6 minutes. Keep a track of the time using a stop-watch.
- For stovetop Pressure Cooker, remove the vent weight/whistle and steam the dim sum for 5 to 6 minutes.
- If the dim sum looks undercooked, then steam for a few more minutes. Note that the water should not come in contact with the dumplings.
To steam dim sum in a pot or in an idli pan:
- For a pot, first keep a trivet and then heat 1.5 to 2 cups water. Place the pan with the momos in the pot. Cover and steam for 5 to 6 minutes.
- For steaming in a Idli pan, heat water in the pan.
- Grease the idli mould with oil.
- Place the momos on the idli moulds.
- Then place the moulds in the pan and steam them for 5 to 6 minutes.
Calories: 53kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 2gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 159mgPotassium: 54mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 940IUVitamin B1 (Thiamine): 1mgVitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 1mgVitamin B3 (Niacin): 1mgVitamin B6: 1mgVitamin C: 2mgVitamin E: 1mgVitamin K: 3µgCalcium: 8mgVitamin B9 (Folate): 22µgIron: 1mgMagnesium: 7mgPhosphorus: 21mgZinc: 1mg
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This recipe post from the archives (July 2014) has been republished and updated on 8 September 2020.