Sagar's Momos

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Sagar Gurung stopped by the studio to share his favorite momo recipe. Do you know the momo? A beautiful, delicate-looking pocket of flavor. He explained that the origins of the momo go back over a hundred years. Traders from Mongolia brought dumplings to Nepal and then the Nepalese took over, combining elements of Chinese and Indian cuisines, creating something unique and special. And then came the secret sauce...

Sagar grew up in Nepal and moved to Omaha, Nebraska in 1996 as a teenager. As a kid, Sagar's family didn't have a lot of money, but every time he got some change in his pocket, his number one priority was getting to the momo stand as fast as possible. He told stories of sneaking away from his friends to indulge in a quick momo plate. Apparently, if his friends saw his secret stash of momos, they would "eagle dive" him, basically bombard him and steal all of his precious momos.

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Sagar owns Himalayan Java, a coffee shop in downtown Omaha specializing in Nepalese coffee. Some customers wanted to try some of his food, so Sagar started making momos at the coffee shop a couple of times a week. You can find them there, as well as at special pop-up events around Omaha, including a regular one at Scriptown Brewing Company in the Blackstone District. His pop-up brand name is Kathmandu Momo Station. 

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Sagar's Momo Recipe. Serves 2

Wrapping Style: Newari (ethnic group) or street vendor style.

Ingredients

1 lbGround chicken

1 bunch Green onions

1 large Yellow onions

generous pinch of Salt

Butter

Curry spices

Dough for wrappers or you can use store bought wrappers. 

For the momo mixture:

Finely dice the yellow and green onion. Combine in mixing bowl with ground chicken. Melt about 2 cups of butter and add to the same bowl as chicken and onions. Add curry spices and salt. Mix all the ingredients by hand or with a stand mixer. Cover, place in fridge, and let mixture sit over night. Wrap up the mixture in 3-4 in diameter wrappers. Pinch around the edges. Use a steamer pan and steam dumplings for 13-14 minutes. Pour sauce over momos and serve immediately.

Sagar held the sauce recipe pretty close, but here are basic ingredients for his wife's sauce: 

Tomatos

Sesame seeds

7 different curry spices

Red dried chili peppers 

Additional pepper from habanero family

garlic

Take a shot at it...you could always use a store-bought sauce and get close! 

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Mangalitsa

We were up in Northeast Nebraska a couple of weeks ago filming an episode about Mangalitsa pigs, a rare Hungarian breed that dates back 200 years. Culinary instructor Brian O'Malley traveled with us to learn about this rare breed of wooly pig and to meet the farmers that put so much care and dedication into raising this storied animal. The farmers then traveled back to the kitchen to watch the magic happen as Brian and his team created a gorgeous spread of goodness. So many rarely seen moments as chef learns from farmer, farmer learns from chef, and students learn about the importance of using the best possible ingredients.  We were truly humbled to be a part of such a captivating story. We are still sifting through about a terabyte of footage, but here are some stills to whet your appetite until we drop the full episode this fall.

Nebraska

The next season of Midwest Food Stories will be an engaging documentary series that follows chefs to the farm and farmers to the kitchen. A true farm to table experience that will take you on great adventures across the heartland and introduce you to amazing characters that will inspire and engage you. Last fall we started filming for the Nebraska season and clocked a lot of miles on the back roads of this great state. More than ever, I am humbled and proud to call this state home. Here is a little sneak peek into what we have been working on:

 

Ham + Pea Tortellini by Jason Olsen

Jason Olsen, entrepreneur, graphic designer, and certified lover of food, stopped by the studio to create a soul-warming dish that his dad taught him how to make when he was young. His father was a firefighter that loved cooking for the whole station. Making food for others made him happy- a trait that was passed down to his son.

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Ham and Pea Tortellini
serves 4-6
3/4 lb sliced ham
1 1/2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp butter
1 white onion
8 cloves garlic
1/3 cup flour
3 3/4 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tbsp fresh ground blank pepper
To Taste 1/2 tbsp salt
1 1/2 cup sweet peas
18-20oz of fresh cheese tortellini  

Cut ham slices into 1/2" squares. Dice onion into 1/4" squares. Mince garlic.

Heat pan on medium heat. Sauté in 1 1/2 tbsp butter lightly with sprinkle of garlic powder and black pepper. Add ham and enough water to cover, bring to a boil and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Strain ham from water reserving the ham stock in a separate bowl.

Sauté onion and garlic in 2 tbsp of butter until translucent. Dust with flour and stir. Add ham stock 1/4 cup or less at a time and continue to dust with flour to form a thick rue. You may not need to use all of the ham stock. Add ham and stir.

Add 2 cups heavy cream and stir on low heat for 5 minutes. Slowly add milk for desired thickness.

Boil tortellini until al dente. Season sauce with garlic powder, pepper and salt to taste. Add peas at the very end for taste.

Spicy Oxtail Sugo with Fresh Pasta by AJ Swanda

Hearty and rich, spicy and sweet. This sugo is truly special- inspired by the sauce that Aj’s grandma used to leave simmering on the stove all day on Sundays. Aj made some fresh spaghetti noodles from scratch with an antique brass pasta extruder, but if you don’t have one of those handy, serve over your favorite noodles. Just keep them a little bit al dente.

serves 4-6 

Spicy Oxtail Sugo with Fresh Pasta

5 lbs of Oxtail, seasoned the night before

1 head of garlic, minced

1 sprig of rosemary

2 cans (medium) diced tomato

2 oz tomato paste

3 each diced chilis

3 each bay leaf

1 ounce of oregeno

TT salt, kosher

TT black pepper, freshly ground

extra virgin olive oil

3 cup red wine, chianti

Season oxtail the night before with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 375 degree F. In a large stock pot, sear all sides of oxtail over med-high heat until deep golden brown. Remove from the pan and reserve fat. In the same stock pot, saute the onion and garlic over medium heat until translucent. Add herbs and chilis and cook for one minute.

Add tomato paste and stir to incorporate. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the pot smells very sweet and a little fond begins to form at the bottom of the pan. Deglaze with red wine and cook for 3 minutes. Return the oxtail to the pot and cover with diced tomatoes. Place in the oven and cook for 3-4 hours uncovered. Let cool for at least 45 minutes or overnight before serving. Serve over spaghetti or bucatini noodles.

Italian Chicken Soup + Muffuletta Sandwich by Andrew Wettengel

Chicken soup with Sicilian roots and the journey of a muffuletta sandwich from New Oreleans to Omaha. Andrew walks through the preparation of two of his favorite things.

For the chicken soup

butter

celery

carrots (sliced to small pieces)

sweet onions

cherry tomatoes

garlic

fresh thyme

basil

white Rice

chicken thighs

white wine (Andrew typically uses Reisling
as it’s subtly sweet)

2 48-ounce cartons of chicken stock

Sauté the thinly sliced and chopped sweet onions and garlic in grassfed butter, adding a bit of white wine as needed. Once translucent, add the chicken thighs cut to preference. Cook thighs until nicely browned. Add the celery and carrots and cook thoroughly. Add crushed cherry tomatoes and add wine as needed and reduce. Add the chicken stock and 2 cups white wine, thyme and basil. Bring to boil, set to medium and let boil for about 45 minutes. Spoon out, and top with Romano cheese.

For the Muffuletta sandwich

fresh Italian garlic bread (pre-made with the
garlic butter and cheese already on it)

Soppressata

Salami

Prosciutto

Mortadella

Capicola

Swiss and provolone cheese

spicy giardiniera

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine all meats and cheeses on the bread (pile as high or low to preference). Add the olive salad (giardiniera) on the top of the meats, and then another final layer of provolone over that. Bake 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted and bread is slightly browned.

Irish Scones by Bryce Coulton

Bryce Coutlon is a retired Air Force veteran that wanted a change of scenery and discovered his passion for charcuterie at a cooking school in a remote part of Ireland while perfecting his scone recipe. Can't make that up.

Ballymaloe Irish Scones

makes 18

2 pounds cream flour

6 ounces butter

3 eggs

2 ounces caster sugar

pinch of salt

3 heaped teaspoons baking powder

15 ounces milk

egg wash

granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Sieve all dry ingredients to remove any lumps and mix well. Cut unsalted butter into ½-inch cubes, combine with flour in a mixing bowl. By hand, mix butter and flour until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Some recipes call for mixing until “fine breadcrumbs,” but the larger (coarse breadcrumb) pieces of butter leave larger air pockets as they melt during baking, thus a lighter and less-dense scone.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk eggs for 1 minute to break up the whites. Add most of the milk, holding back about 1 ounce. Depending on humidity and time of year, sometimes more or less liquid is needed, or a pinch more flour, so you’ll have to adjust as you see fit when making the dough. Don’t worry, you have to really work at it to mess-up this recipe. Trust what feels and looks right.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently mix until it comes together into a soft dough. Turn out the dough onto a cutting board dusted with flour. With a light hand, shape into around 1-inch thick round. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter, press out scones. You will have extra irregular pieces of dough, but bring those pieces together and cut more scones. These last few scones will be a bit more dense than the first from even this small reworking of the dough. Egg wash the tops of the scones, dip the tops into sugar and place about 2-inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, until there’s a nice dark golden color.

How do you make it better? It’s the technique. It’s the little nuances. If you are going to do something, it should matter.
— Bryce

Lil' Pie by Sarah Jane Hunt

This guarded, Great Depression era recipe has been in Sarah’s family for generations and was traditionally made with leftover dough scraps, but she usually uses a store-bought pie crust when she makes this simple, yet delicious cream pie for friends and family.

Pie crust

4 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons flour

heavy cream (amount depends on the size
of the pie crust)

dash of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place pie crust in pie pan and fold edge of crust tightly over edge of pan and continue all the way around. Mix, with fingers, the sugar and flour. Pour in heavy cream to cover flour and sugar mixture.

Sprinkle a dash of nutmeg across the top. Place in center of oven for 10-15 minutes until crust is golden and center is bubbling. Turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 45 minutes. Let it cool slightly on a wire rack.

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From-Scratch Ricotta Cheese by Colin Duggan

A new philosophy developed one night while Colin and his wife Jessica were enjoying a chef’s choice menu at a Kansas City restaurant early in his career. The first course was fresh-baked bread with some house-made ricotta cheese, some olive oil, and salt and pepper. So simple, but so delicious and inspiring. They decided that from then on, if something could be made in house at their restaurant, it would be.

4 quarts whole milk

2 quarts heavy cream

4 tablespoons lemon juice

4 teaspoons kosher salt

In a non-reactive pot, bring the milk, cream and salt to 190 degrees over medium heat, stirring regularly to prevent scalding. Stir in the lemon juice. As soon as the curd breaks from the whey, remove from heat. Let it rest for 10 minutes to completely separate. Line a colander with cheesecloth and set it up over a bowl in the refrigerator overnight to strain.

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