Momo Dumplings Recipe

Dumplings at 30,000 feet are a treat, and worth the effort - filling, nutritious, plane-friendly finger food. This time I upped my game and made the dumpling wrappers from scratch, filled them with a ginger and chile-spiked ricotta, spinach, and cabbage filling before twisting and folding them into momo-shaped poufs.

Momo Dumplings

I'm in France right now, for a relatively quick trip. Or, another way to think of it, a quick trip flanked by two long flights. I took it as an opportunity to up my dumpling game, making and freezing an assortment of them in the weeks leading up to my trip. It made it easy to leave some for Wayne to enjoy while I was gone, and to pack a box, bento-style, for my flight. Dumplings at 30,000 feet are a treat, and worth the effort - filling, nutritious, plane-friendly finger food. Here's the wildcard. This time I made my own dumpling wrappers. It's only about half as crazy as it sounds. In reality, making your own wrappers is very similar to making fresh pasta (not difficult), and equally satisfying. So, I thought I'd share the basic jist of what I did to make momos - or what I think of as Himalayan dumplings. Little poufs are stuffed with a ricotta cheese base mixed with chopped cabbage, spinach, ginger, chiles, cumin, scallions, and the like.

Andrea Nguyen is the angel that sits on my shoulder anytime I attempt dumplings. I keep her book on the counter and her voice in my head. We made dumplings with homemade wrappers together years ago, and I was by no means a natural. She assured me, even ugly dumplings are usually fine once cooked. And she's right! ;) I used Andrea's framework for the filling, but switched up the ratios and technique a bit, based on what I had around the kitchen.

A few suggestions if you're a dumpling beginner: Start by using pre-made wrappers before graduating to homemade, allowing you to focus on folding technique. Start with simple folds - like half moons or big hugs before graduating to more complex shapes like the momo. This was my first attempt momo-folding. Not perfect, but delicious!

As far as fillings are concerned, it can be helpful to make them a day or two ahead of time. Once you've nailed your filling, and are confident in your folding, then consider making the jump to homemade wrappers. It's absolutely worth the effort, and you'll likely swear off pre-made. The last thing I'll mention about making your own wrappers is that it enables you to boost the wrappers with color, flavor, and ingredients - for ex: turmeric, or other spices. Or juices - beet, spinach, ginger, etc.

I use Andrea's dumpling book, but here are a number of other resources she has provided for those with dumpling aspirations:
- Favorite Asian Dumplings from Scratch (Craftsy class - online)
- Asian Dumpling: Learning to Prepare Dumplings at Home (San Francisco Cooking School - in person)
- Andrea's Basic Dumpling Dough (Chow)

Momo DumplingsMomo DumplingsMomo DumplingsMomo Dumplings

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Momo Dumplings

1 1/2 cups finely chopped cabbage
1 1/2 cups finely chopped spinach
2 tablespoons ghee or unsalted butter
3/4 cup minced onion
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 small medium-hot red pepper
1 teaspoon chile flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 cups ricotta
1/3 cup chopped scallions
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons organic corn starch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water

round dumpling wrappers (either pre-made, or homemade)

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Salt the water a bit, add the cabbage, cook for about 30 seconds, add the spinach and cook for another 10 seconds or so - just long enough for everything to wilt. Drain, rinse with cold water, and press out any extra moisture with a clean towel - really go for it.

Heat the ghee (or butter) in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion and cook until soft and translucent - a couple of minutes. Stir in the garlic, ginger, red pepper, and red chile flakes. Cook for another minute or so, then stir in the cumin. Add the cabbage mixture and cook until heated through. Stir in the cheese, scallions, and cilantro. Stir well, then sprinkle in the salt. Give your cornstarch mixture a quick stir, drizzle it across the pan, and stir well, until everything comes together. Set aside to cool before proceeding to use in dumplings.

If you're ready to make dumplings, either follow the instructions on the wrapper package, or fold them and seal them into your desired shape. You can use a basic shape like half moon fold, or attempt a more elaborate fold (like the momo) before steaming in a lined steamer for 7-10 minutes.

Makes 2-3 cups of dumpling filling.

Prep time: 45 minutes - Cook time: 8 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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This is one of the best ideas for plane food I've seen - and homemade? beyond. I would swim before forgetting to pack way more food in every flavor for traveling. Something sweet, something chocolate (a separate category: ), something savory and meal-like, something crunchy, something fresh like a perfect orange or a great salad or both. It is one of the most nurturing, comforting things ever when you unpack a lovely treat mid-flight. These are a GREAT idea!


Beautiful! Any recommendations on store-bought dumpling wrappers, please? Thanks, much!


Do you think you could leave the ricotta out, maybe add some egg to bind the ingredients, for a dairy free dumpling? or replace the ricotta with tofu?


Thank you for the link to the dumpling- folding video. Very helpful and encouraging. Do you think this will work in a metal collapsible steamer basket? Won't look as authentic, but it also could be lined. I have a really big sturdy one that fits in a dutch oven nearly flat ,so I could make a lot ( and eat a lot) at once.

Lauren Yarema

Those look beautiful- don't sell your folding skills short. Any suggestions for how to vegan-ize these? Wondering with what to replace the ricotta. Thanks!


This filling recipe looks absolutely scrumptious! I have attempted this sort of thing before with wonderful results, but then I still get intimidated even thinking about it. I will sweep aside the intimidation and plunge in!


I am beyond impressed and totally inspired. I want/need to make my own dumpling wrapper as soon as possible! PS enjoy your staying in France :)


do you ever have problems taking food on the airline?I recall during international travel our apples taken away from us. i kinda understand the agricultural issues with that. dumplings, eh what is inside of those guys?? can't bring toothpaste i would hate to see home made dumplings go in the dust bin!


After reading " I'm in France right now " immediately La Vie En Rose started playing in my head and could literally smell fresh baked baguettes, even heard that fresh crust crackling. Looks like dumplings are gonna have to wait hahaha

Ciao Florentina

You read my mind! I have been dumpling crazy lately. And I adore Andrea Nguyen.


Oh I want that dumpling book now! Your dumplings are absolutely gorgeous and I am so impressed that you make your own skins. I'm going to put your ricotta version on my list of things to try!

Emily | Gather & Dine

I am always fascinated at what meals people bring on the plane with them. I am paranoid about food spoiling before I eat it- any tips on how long things can keep at room temp? These dumplings look amazing. Printing out now! Thanks.


How delightful! This is just the thing I've been looking for of late. I can hardly wait to try them.


I love your diligence!


Looks delicious and will certainly try them.Can you tell me what type of liner did you use in your steam pot?

HS: Hi Dominique- parchment paper with a few holes poked in it.


OMG dumplings! I love dumplings and these look oh so delicious, an Italian/Asian combo all in one, my two favorite cuisines. I can't wait to try these out myself. I also love all your inspiration about bringing great food along while you travel, so much better than airport food!

Jen @

LOVE your steamer! Where'd you get it?

HS: Hi Christi, it's awesome - love it. We stock them at Quitokeeto. That said, if we run out before you get one, just add your name to the notification list. We should be getting more in any day.

Christi Cooper

They look so absolutely amazing! Muuuuch better than my last attempt of making dumplings - just beautiful! Also I have never really brought any food to the plane, except for maybe some roti prata in Singapore... Haha, that was a treat as well! :) Hope you are enjoying France as well! Have a lovely day!

Tina | Mademoiselle Gourmande

I would never have thought I could carry real food on a plane if not for you and Sarah Britton from My New Roots! It makes it a whole different experience. And Andrea Nguyen's book is one of my favorites too.


Enjoy France you lucky one :) Your dumplings look awesome, I am polish so my heart is with traditional polish dumplings, but this one are very tempting.

Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today

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