I'm back after a two month sabbatical spent working my chops off both in the catering biz and at the Univ, the catering hotted up with the advent of the Parsi wedding season and then was quickly accelerated by Xmas and New Year, followed hot on their heels by Annual 'Rocks, Minerals & Fossils Exhibition' held at the University of Mumbai's Convocation Hall from the 4th - 7th of jan 2012!!
Things finally slowed down a bit (a wee bit) this week and I caught up with a lot of my online reading ... Lo behold!! my old buddy Kalyan Karmakar alias The Knife had written about the surprise discovery of a Pork Momo stall in Bandra!
My tryst with momos goes back to my courting days when I went down to meet my In-laws to be in Calcutta and was introduced to these old friends (whom I had first encountered only in Delhi - Dilli Haat) at what Rhea told me was the original Momo Shop in Calcutta - Tibetan Delite. This shop located in a small very narrow lane of 63 Chowringhee Rd in Calcutta was truly the kind of dim, smoky, ill lit, ill ventilated place that one remembered from a hundred bad 'B grade' Hollywood films, bossed over by a fat greasy somewhat shabbily dressed Tibetan lady ... it was so cliched that it was perfect.
Many a momo later - both steamed and fried, I reckoned myself to be a connoisseur of this delicacy.
Now, a momo is essentially a crescent shaped steamed dumpling from Tibet, Sikkim, Nepal and the Northeastern states of India. By default all original and traditional momos are Pork Momos ... it is only in the Ganga Valley and south of it that the weird and bizarre Chicken and Veg momos have materialised like some wannabe cousins. My tryst with momos culminated in Pune at the Deccan College Boys Hostel when my good friend from Nagaland - Imtirenba Changkija decided to feed me what he called the 'real stuff'. He set up an assembly line of fellow Nagas (Chumbeno, David and Akham), chopped Pork belly, mixed in salt, onions and ginger, laid out the dough, made the little parcels and steamed them to perfection. These non-commercial babies are to date the most awesome momos I have ever eaten. The belly made for a parcel filled with soupy dumplings filled with hot aromatic melted fat that exploded on contact with the mouth filling one with a sublime taste that can only be described as perfection.This though was 11 years ago!
Thus finding out that Pork Momos were available in Mumbai that too at Carter Rd, Bandra was something that left me slavering like Pavlov's dog!
When Rhea told me we were having dinner with friends at Bandra and that I would have a couple of hours to kill between Univ and dinner ... I headed for the end of Carter Rd like a bullet.
The Shop is called Kepchaki Momos and is run by two Nepali boys Santhosh and Mithun, it's actually a small stall outside a tattoo parlour on the last lane that leads up from Carter Rd to Pali Hill. They make pork, chicken, prawn, veg and paneer/cheese momos. I had portion of the pork momos and was very pleasantly surprised. They were actually quite nice though a tad lean on both filling and fat. They were served with a nice tangy spicy chilly sauce made sans any colour. I then ventured to try the chicken and veg options, the prawn and cheese were over, the chicken was very so so, bland and boring, the vegggie ones were actually quite sad and tasted a tad weird. But the pork momos were what I had come for and they were superb. I wolfed down another three to wash out the taste of veggie momos (serves me right!!) and packed two portions (6 in a portion for Rs 80/-) to take for my hostess who had declared that I dare not come without them.
Santhosh hard at work at the Kepchaki Momos Stall
Santhosh delivering my first plate of Mumbai Pork Momos!!
The Pork Momos ... ate two before I could muster the strength to take a picture ;)
Mithun giving me a half plate of chk momos and a half plate of veggie momos.
The crescents at the top are the Chicken Momos and make the bulk of sales, the flat fat cushions at the bottom of the plate are the veggie guys.
After quenching a desire that had remained unsatiated for many a year I made my way into the tiny little lanes of Bandora village and met up with old friends Pavan, Megha, and Arina ... and a litlle later were joined by Rhea and Roshni for a lovely dinner put together by Megha. The excuse for the dinner was that megha was designing some new desserts for me from which I had to choose one for the Dalal Enterprises Valentine's Day Menu (more on that in another post). She'd put together some awesome hors d'ouevres a lovely Chicken Almond and Broccoli Salad followed by some delicious pasta (of which I have no pictures!!!) and then capped off the meal with three of her signature bottled desserts. One of these was her famous Shahi Tukda which is to die for; the second was a Pannacotta with Strwberry topping and the third was the evenings Piece de resistance and won the right to be the DE Valentine's Day Spl dessert ... more on that later (ie once we figure out what to call it ;)).
The little Toasts with Ricotta, Bell peppers, Mushrooms, and Home made organic Pesto accompanied by Cheesey Lavash and Organic Honey Mustard and more of the Pesto
The Salad with pavan making a quick move at getting a picture before it was demolished by the starving barbarians.
All in all one of the nicest days of this year. Thank you all!