Saturday, 10 November 2012

How many momo?

Dumplings can be a very numeric food.

Yes, the number of dumplings does seem to matter.

"How many do you want?"

It's a question laden with temptation. For mine, the optimal number of dumplings is represented in the mathematical equation N - 1. I can always go for one more. At least. Self-discipline walks out the door when the dumpling monster comes to visit.

But it's not just the consuming, it's the making of dumplings that appears to require quantification.

"How many do you make?"

Whether in the making of gow gee or agnolotti, there seems to be a pride and shared smiles associated with breaking triple digits of made dumplings. It's where the dumpling economy seems to start.

And, dumpling makers love to say how many they've made.

So, I smiled a lot and he smiled a lot when Shashun, Sydney's seeming master of the Nepali momo, told me today that he makes about 8,000 momo each week for the three or so street stalls he works around Sydney, including today at the Parramasala South Asian Arts Festival in the Church Street Mall in Parramatta.

Well, not just Shashun, but his three fellow proprietors of O!Momo! and the five ladies who work with them. So that's about 1,000 per person per week that's paying some bills.

Momo have a thin but sturdy dough. Think the texture of fresh caught and perfectly-prepared calamari.

Their straightforward filling is chicken mince, Spanish onion, coriander - and apparently a couple of Himalayan ingredients like timur only to be found at the top (or probably bottom) of some peak.

On top, they get a splash of achar, a hot and spicy tomato and sesame seed sauce, that creates this great contrast to the simplicity of the dumpling itself.

Spicy and simple. Maybe, that's why we count. So, we can remind ourselves of striking the balance. In dumplings, as in life.

1 comment:

  1. Oh yes, the count! Almost as satisfying to the maker as the eating! There's that time in Wildwood when our mother made blueberry-filled varenky & though I don't remember the number, it's a family legend how many you ate! As for momos, I ate delicious ones in Bhutan made with what I think they said was a buckwheat flour.