Photography by Maribel Morales. All opinions are my own.
If I had one word to describe my love for Momo Shack Dumplings, it is obsessed. I linked up with co-owners and entrepreneurs, Leezen Amatya, Thang Duong, and Daniel Flores about a year ago when they first started their Instagram and announced their pop ups at the Dallas Farmers Market. It only took me about seven months before I actually got my hands on some. Um… #lifechanged.
Momos are a type of South Asian steamed dumpling with a meat, veggies, or combination filling. Similar to Chinese dumplings, these are more typical in countries like India, Nepal, and Tibet and are served with a special sauce. It was love at first bite. I remember they went out of their way to drop off a batch of momos just so that I could try them. That type of effort and hustle does not go unnoticed and I knew there was something special about these guys.
Both Leezen, Thang and Daniel decided to start this dumpling pop up because they both sought to bring more authentic Himalyan cuisine to Dallas. As friends attending the University of Texas at Dallas, their entrepreneurial spirit eventually pushed them to start Momo Shack Dumpling. With the help of family and friends, you can find them popping up all over Dallas. Just make sure to follow them on their Instagram account here for the next one.
After becoming fast friends, I asked the team to let me get more hands on. I wanted to make momos. Not just eat them. Although… I happily do that too and am great at eating momos, no doubt! But more importantly, I wanted to get to know the amazing people behind Momo Shack Dumplings. I wanted to share their story and support a local business the best way I can.
Chatting with Leezen, I learned the concept formed from his own personal experience and love for traditional Nepali food. Momos are a comfort food that isn’t well-known nor easily available throughout Dallas. You can find options in Coppell or Irving, but we all know that’s a trek. Being able to share his culture and a family recipe with the Dallas community has been both rewarding and challenging.
The momo-making process seemed so similar to the times I would sit and roll eggrolls with my mom. With similarities between East Asian and South Asian cuisine, I wanted to know what it was like to make momos. It is certainly a labor of love. I met Leezen’s mother, Minu Amatya, the wonderful woman in the kitchen and the beholder of this special family recipe. We sat down and got our hands dirty. It was such an amazing experience and a privilege to learn how to wrap momos.
There are 3 ways to wrap a momo. I learned each step and loved getting hands on with the ingredients. The filling is a mix of protein with chopped cabbage, and aromatics such as onions and cilantro. After peeling off the wrap, you dab the momo wrap with water, scoop in a bit of filling, and pinch and twist till it is perfectly wrapped.
Took me a few tries, but similar to how I would cook with my mother, I knew Minu needed these babies wrapped tightly in order to cook properly without breaking. Not too shabby if I say so myself. Might have a career in wrapping momos in the future. #hireme
What really touched me was the opportunity Leezen, Thang, and Daniel created to turn this into a family business. At a recent pop up, you can spot the whole family and gang and churning out delicious momos to curious customers. Each person is also able to bring a different strength to the table as they continue to find ways to grow and it’s been amazing to see their enthusiasm and creativity. Um hello… fried momos where you at!?
After wrapping as many dumplings as we could fit onto the straw server, it was time to steam them. The multi-layer steamer is the key to perfectly cooked and firm momos, not to mention efficient. We placed 4 trays of momos to steam. It took about 20 minutes to cook and then would be ready to eat.
Momos can also be pan fried as well. They are typically served with a cilantro based sauce and/or a spicy tomato sauce – also a family secret. Momos are traditionally eaten with beer. Warning: you can’t stop at just one either.
You can catch the Momo team slanging these delicious dumplings all over town. They’ve done fun pop ups such as beer + momo pairings, pop ups at breweries, and also other fun collabs with local chefs. When I asked what’s next for Momo Shack Dumpling, they said they’re definitely cooking up some fun event ideas. Hmmm… I’m still here to collab on a Momo Making Class. Just sayin!
Thanks guys for having me and being amazing supporters of Deep Fried Fit. I’m so happy I got to share a little behind the scenes into the process with you guys. Make sure to check them out!