And you thought Delhi Street food consists of chaat, golgappe, tikki, samose and chhole bhature! Well, there was a time when it was true but today Delhi has one more dish on its menu – Momos!
Momos are one of the most versatile and the most experimented dishes of the recent times. Who had ever thought that this Nepalese/Tibetan delicacy of steamed dumpling with some form of filling will become such an integral part of Indian Food Culture, especially Delhi?
Though the Momos have been around in Delhi for a long time owing its humble beginnings to Tibetan Refugee Colony in Majnu ka Tilla and Yashwant Place Market in Chanakyapuri. Since then it has been popular among youth especially college students. Being a budget food option, which is filling as well as suits the spicy taste buds of the youngsters, momos had become instantaneously popular.
And with Dilli Haat introducing State food stalls, the momos served in North-Eastern states’ food stalls became the preferred choice among people of all ages and cultures. And today they have become an integral part of Delhi’s food culture and momo-stalls can be found in every nook and corner of the state.
Initially, the experimentation was limited to veg and non-veg fillings for momos, but the past decade has seen a marked evolution in the variety of momos too across the country. So much so, that there are restaurant chains opening serving a wide variety of momos.
The most popular being WOW! Momos with 254 outlets in 13 cities in 10 years and still growing as you are reading this article.
Its Amazing to see how this simple steamed dumpling has changed, or adapted to, the taste buds of the country.
Traditionally, a simple white-flour-and-water dough is preferred to make the outer momo covering and the filling is prepared with ground/minced meat. Over the past several years this has changed, and the fillings have become more elaborate.
The meats used included mutton, chicken, pork and fish primarily. Today, there are many vegetarian and eggetarian options available. Some of the popular vegetables to substitute the traditional meat options are cauliflower, cabbage, paneer, mushrooms, soya, tofu, spinach, carrot, potatoes, corn, spring onion today as the non-vegetarian options. And with chocolate filling, the momos have entered the dessert market too.
If fillings have become indigenous, so has the outer covering of momos, with wheat momos and buckwheat momos becoming equally popular today.
The experimentation didn’t stop there. Earlier, there were two varieties of momos – fried and steamed. Today the market has expanded, rather bursting, with varieties such as Tandoori, Afghani, Kothe, Schezwan, Pan-fried, soupy, sweet, jhol and open momos. It won’t be a surprise if more varieties are introduced tomorrow.
And if that wasn’t enough, the restaurant chains have brought in momo thalis, momo sizzler, baked momo, momo burger, momo pasta as well as sharabi momos
The popularity of this dish can be gauged from the fact that Delhi has been organising Momo Festival and its hugely successful. The footfalls at the event are increasing every year.
All this just shows that the momos have taken over the food market with a storm and they are here to stay. Future generations may not even believe that Momos are not an Indian dish like samosas.