nepali momo toronto

Two families are making momos with ingredients from their own Toronto backyards

Few foods bring as much satisfaction as hand-folded dumplings. Fill them with ingredients straight from a Toronto family's backyard and you have the epitome of homey comfort food. 

Nepali Momo is the brainchild of two families living in Scarborough.

Hailing from Nepal, couples Yshu and Mandip Gurung along with Surendra Lawoti and his wife Kausila Subba Limba have been selling bags of chicken, veggie and vegan momos through their site and social media. 

Chives used for the momos come straight from Surendra and Kausila's backyard, and as we move into growing season, they hope to be able to add more homegrown ingredients to the mix.

Their garden, about the size of a bachelor apartment that, in previous years, has grown tomatoes and a 5-foot-long Italian cucuzza, will soon yield even more ingredients for their momo recipes: hot peppers, lots of coriander and chayote, if weather permits. 

"The thing about momos, you go to everybody's house, everybody makes it slightly different," Surendra says. "Even though it's all the same ingredients, it will taste different." 

Momos are most commonly recognized as Tibetan fare, but these steamed dumplings are eaten in regions surrounding the Himalayas and across South Asia, including in the incredibly diverse country of Nepal. 

Surendra and Kosila are Limbus, Indigenous to the eastern hills of Nepal, while Yshu and Mandip are from Pokhara, one of Nepal's most touristy cities. It's in these urban areas and the capital, Kathmandu, where momos reign in popularity, says Surendra. 

Both families have had their employment statuses affected since the onset of the pandemic: Yshu's job as a hair stylist, Surendra's work as a photographer and Kausila's work in the nail salon industry have all been put on hold. 

"We've been home a lot during the pandemic," says Surendra, who works as a photographer. Since lockdown, he says his teaching gigs at OCAD University's photography program, where he's been a sessional instructor for a dozen years, have taken a dive. He's been taking care of his son, Arniko, at home. 

The families launched Nepali Momo in April and have already folded hundreds of momos. What started as a delivery on Thursdays only has expanded to Sundays as well.

The family delivers anywhere within city boundaries, and sometimes beyond throughout the GTA, depending on how much you order. Home pick up, located not far from Warden subway station, can be arranged any time. 

Bags of momos come with 25 pieces, ranging from $25 to $30 per bag. So far, Surendra says the vegan option – green-shelled dumplings with a slew of veggies like asparagus, cauliflower, tofu and Brussels sprouts – has been the most popular order. 

The majority of vegetables come from Big Carrot at the moment, though Surendra says the families hope to connect with local farmers for more ingredients down the road.

Another of Surendra's side projects includes trying to grow dalley (or dalle) peppers, a hot pepper grown in Nepal. Those might make an appearance on the menu down the road, if he's successful. Meanwhile, a relatively mild hot sauce made from hemp hearts comes with every momo order.

Lead photo by

Nepali Momo

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