For a kindergartner, Raffles has quite sophisticated taste, not only in food but in women. And there are many, many lovely ladies in my Raffish wee man’s crayon filled little black book. But when I think about his list of lovelies I’m starting to see a pattern forming… all his favourite ladies are connected to him not only by the heart, but also by the stomach.
There’s one at the chocolate shop, one in the sushi shop and another at the café and he’s always chatting up the girls at the deli to score extra slices of sopressa. But one of these lovely ladies has always been held loftily above all others, in all probability due to her penchant for spoiling him with chocolate frogs. Regardless of the why, at the ripe old age of four Raffles became betrothed to her. And when I say betrothed, I mean that he was so infatuated with her he stole my wedding ring and gave it to her because “I love her mama, and when you love someone you give them a diamond ring”.
Fair point baby! Just. Not. Mine.
The Fiancée having a good 23 years on her affianced was wise enough to return my ring. But upon consideration, Raffles could do worse. Not only is The Fiancée smart, gorgeous and kind, but the Kathmandu native makes the best Chicken Momo’s in Sydney.
And we all know the way to a mother-in-law’s heart is through her stomach. I mean boy’s heart! Honest.
It’s certainly the way to Raffles’ cardiovascular organ, which I think is actually located somewhere in his gut. So when The Fiancée asked us over for lunch he practically broke out in a fever. Mostly because the invitation came with a promise of a lesson in making Momo, one of his all time favourite things.
After a half an hour of swooning and a cup of the best chai EVER, it’s time for Raffles to hit the kitchen with his amour. The Fiancée patiently talks Raffles through each step of the process from making the filling to folding it into little pastry cases.
Soon Raffles is making dumplings like a seasoned pro. And when I say “seasoned pro” I actually mean a drunk who has had both hands amputated. But he does his very best, bless his tiny little cotton socks, constructing abstract variations on the theme.
The result may not be as pretty as his teacher’s perfect little parcels but the proof is in the eating!
After steaming for around twenty minutes they are ready to be served with a special Momo Achar (a piquant tomato, coriander and sesame dipping sauce) and they are good. So good, in fact, that while we are busy chatting, Raffles manages to consume 22 of them – without slipping into a food coma.
Oddly, my wee pelican is that he’s so petite that given the chance most Victoria’s Secret models would torture him for his diet tips. The kid is skinny. But why and how is unfathomable to anyone watching his human compactus impersonation. The kid could out eat the average sumo wrestler and still claim to be hungry.
As he quite predictably does now. Luckily, The Fiancée has a spare chocolate frog for just such an occasion.
1/2 kilo of minced chicken
1 large red onion, very finely chopped
½ cup of chopped spring onions
Handful of chopped coriander (optional)
2 tbsp of minced garlic finely chopped
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon of olive oil
salt and white pepper to taste
Gow Gee pastry (you can buy these at Asian grocers and most good supermarkets)
- In a bowl add the mince, chopped onion, shallots, coriander, garlic, ginger, cumin, garam masala and seasoning.
- Add oil as required and mix thoroughly.
- Cover mix with wrap and leave for around 2 to 3 hours to allow all ingredients to impart their flavours. This also improves the consistency of the flavour.
- Hold Gow Gee wrapper in one hand and place one to teaspoons of the chicken mixture in the centre.
- With the other hand bring all edges together to the centre, making pleats.
- Pinch and twist the pleats to ensure the dumpling is completely sealed.
- Place in a steamer for about 20 minutes.
- Serve with Momo Achar dipping sauce. (Recipe below).
Momo Achar (tomato and sesame dipping sauce)
2 large ripe tomatoes
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
½ cup coriander chopped
4-5 dried red chillis.
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice to taste
1 teaspoon of olive oil
Salt to taste
- Roast tomatoes in oven for about 30 minutes, or until charred and remove skin.
- In a frypan, add sesame and mustard seeds and cook until browned.
- Grind the toasted seeds in a mortar and pestle.
- Combine roasted tomatoes, ground sesame and mustard seeds, coriander, chilli, garlic, lemon oil and salt and process to form smooth mixture. Add a touch of water if the mixture is too thick.
- Serve with steamed momos.