The Hippo


May 28, 2020








Momos from Momos R Here in Nashua. Courtesy photo.

 Where to get momos

• Cafe Momo (1065 Hanover St., Manchester, 623-3733, offers several types of meat-filled momos as appetizers, including goat, wild boar, lamb, chicken and more.
• Durbar Square Restaurant (10 Market St., Portsmouth, 294-0107, offers meat-filled momos like lamb, chicken and wild boar that can be mixed and matched in each order.
• Kathmandu Spice (379 S. Willow St., Manchester, 782-3911, offers chicken and goat momos that can be ordered as appetizers.
• Katmandu Bazaar (133 Loudon Road, No. 1, Concord, 856-7006, offers fried momos with your choice of chicken, beef or vegetables and made with hot bell peppers and a sweet chili sauce.
• Mo:Mo (Nashua, 438-0774, is a new momo home delivery service based in Nashua. The menu includes pork, chicken or vegetable momos and orders can be placed by calling. There are 10 momos that come with each order and you can customize them depending on how many of each flavor you want.
Where to get empanadas
• El Camino Foods (33 Manchester Road, Derry, 855-479-5804) is a catering business offering meat-filled empanadas like beef and cheese or shredded chicken and cheese.
• Made With Love 603 (607-438-2986, find them on Facebook) is a Manchester-based food truck offering beef and cheese or chicken and cheese empanadas. Follow them on social media for when and where they will appear in the Granite State.
Recipe: Chicken empanada filling
Courtesy of Dave Spagnuolo of Gale Motor Co. Eatery
2½ pounds chicken breast
2 pounds thighs, roasted and small diced
2 large potatoes, small diced and boiled
2 small white onions
6 cloves garlic
2 jalapenos, deseeded
1 red pepper, small diced and sauteed
Mix all ingredients in a food processor. Add following ingredients:
2 teaspoons cumin
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 pound manchego cheese, shredded
1 pound cream cheese
Recipe: Chili verde (to go with chicken empanada filling)
Courtesy of Dave Spagnuolo of Gale Motor Co. Eatery
2½ pounds total, Anaheim poblano peppers
4 jalapenos, deseeded
1 small onion, diced
10 garlic cloves
In a saucepan, sweat until translucent. Add the following ingredients:
⅛ cups brown flour
2 cups chicken stock
¼ cups vinegar
¼ cups lime juice
Simmer for 10 minutes. Add into food processor and blend. Use salt and pepper to taste.
Make your own calzone
There are plenty of great restaurants and pizza joints that offer all kinds of calzones, but if you want to try your hand at creating one yourself, Tim Gyorda of the Pro Dough Pizza Dough Co. in Manchester said making your own meat-filled calzone at home can be as simple as cooking a pizza in the oven.
Gyorda recommends using different types of doughs depending on the filling.
“For an Italian calzone, the garlic and herb dough that we make is the best one, whereas I’d use a white dough for something like a Buffalo chicken,” Gyorda said.
The Italian calzone recipe using Gyorda’s garlic and herb pizza dough contains a combination of ham, Genoa salami and sweet capicola, with both provolone and mozzarella cheese. While the quantities of meats and cheeses are precise, the recipe also includes diced onions, green peppers and mushrooms that will vary depending on how much you want to add, Gyorda said.
Italian meat calzone
Courtesy of Tim Gyorda of the Pro Dough Pizza Dough Co. (serves 2 to 3 people)
20-ounce Pro Dough Pizza Dough Co. garlic and herb pizza dough (can be found at local grocery stories, including Market Basket and Hannaford)
8 ounces mozzarella cheese
3 slices provolone cheese
2 slices imported ham
4 slices Genoa salami
3 slices sweet capicola
Onions, mushrooms and green peppers, sliced or diced
Marinara sauce or pizza sauce
Preheat oven to 450 degrees after letting the dough refrigerate for a day or two. Spread dough out about 14 inches in diameter. Lay down mozzarella cheeses in half-moon shapes, followed by the ham, salami, capicola, vegetables, provolone cheese and marinara sauce. Take the dough and fold it over in a half moon, pinching the edges together. Make a one-inch incision in the center of the top of the dough. When oven is ready, cook dough on a stone or a dark cookie sheet for about 10 to 15 minutes or until dough is a light brown color.
Where to get authentic pasties
British Beer Co. (1071 S. Willow St., Manchester, 232-0677; 103 Hanover St., Portsmouth, 501-0515; offers several kinds of specialty pasties on its menu that include a New England pasty (with turkey, cornbread stuffing and mashed potatoes) and a shepherd’s pie pasty (with beef, peas, corn, carrots and mashed potatoes).
New England Pasty filling ingredients
Courtesy of British Beer Co.
4 ounces sliced turkey
2 ounces mashed potatoes
2 ounces cornbread stuffing
1 ounce cranberry sauce
1 pot pie crust
3 ounces turkey gravy
Where to get pierogi
Bartlett Street Superette (316 Bartlett St., Manchester, 627-1580, carries frozen beef and pork pierogi imported from Poland and handmade ones as well.
How to make pierogi
Pierogi dough
Courtesy of Kathy Card of Holy Trinity Cathedral in Manchester
2½ to 3 cups flour
1 egg
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup water
Beat egg, salt and water together in a large bowl. Add two cups of flour, mixing by hand. Slowly add remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn out the dough and cover with bowl. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Divide dough in half. Place half the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out very thin, ⅛ inch thick. Cut the dough using a floured-edge 3-inch cookie cutter.
To fill:
Put a dough circle in the palm of your hand and place about one tablespoon of filling in the center. Bring edges of circle together over filling to form a half moon. Pinch edges together, leaving no openings.
To cook:
Using a large pot of salted water to boil, drop four to six pierogi carefully into the pot and gently stir to prevent them from sticking to the bottom. When the pierogi rise to the surface, cook them for three minutes. Remove from the water and drain. Do not lay them on top of each other when draining, as they will stick together. Serve covered in melted butter or saute in melted butter in fry pan until they are golden brown.
Pierogi meat filling
1 pound ground beef
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 egg
¾ cup beef stock
Salt and pepper
Brown the ground beef. Drain the meat and add to a food processor. Saute chopped onion in butter until golden and add to the food processor. Pulse about 10 times, until the mixture is completely combined and the onions are minced. Add egg and beef stock. Pulse three more times. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Where to get Dim Sum
• North Garden Chinese Restaurant & Lounge (715 Mast Road, Manchester, 668-1668, offers a Dim Sum menu of more than two dozen options, including steamed dumplings with fillings like shrimp, pork and shrimp, minced beef, barbecue pork, chicken and more. The Dim Sum menu is served every Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• Sunshine Oriental Restaurant (121 Loudon Road, Concord, 228-0808, has a Dim Sum menu that is available every day, with options that zinclude steamed shrimp buns, barbecue pork buns or chicken buns.
• Zhong’s Restaurant (559 Daniel Webster Highway, Merrimack, 429-4289, offers a Dim Sum menu every Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., with options that include steamed shrimp dumplings, steamed barbecue pork buns, steamed chicken buns and more. Orders come in quantities of either three or four, depending on the filling.


A field guide to meat in pastry
Momos, empanadas, pierogi and more


 While some dishes that combine meats and pastries are easy to find in New Hampshire — think calzones and empanadas — others are hard to come by if you’re looking for an authentic taste. You’d be hard-pressed to find a traditional Cornish pasty on a restaurant menu in the Granite State, for example, or a beef-filled pierogi as opposed to one with potato and cheese fillings. But there are some options, and some tasty substitutes, for all manner of meat-in-pastry dishes. We spoke with several local restaurants and home chefs to get the history on everything from the Tibetan momo to the English pasty (incidentally, it’s pronounced past-e), and we’ve got suggestions for where to get them plus tips on how to make some of these dishes yourself. 

According to Raj Subedi of Kathmandu Spice in Manchester, one order of momos at the restaurant will give you eight dumplings, since they are small in size. These dishes are normally filled with ground meat or vegetables and can either be steamed or fried.
Momos are of Tibetan origin and became widely popular in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal. 
“You can have it as a dinner, but most people like to eat them as an appetizer,” Subedi said.
At Kathmandu Spice, there are three fillings to choose from, including chicken, goat and vegetarian. Subedi said while momos are popular in both Nepal and India, what makes them different between the two countries has to do with the mix of ingredients and the level of spice. 
“The main thing that you’ll find in the chicken momo is the masala,” he said, “and that is made out of ginger, garlic and colander. … We mix that with the ground chicken and with finely sliced cabbage, and then we use oil and butter. We usually make them very mild.”
Kathmandu Spice also makes its own dough for its momos, using wheat flour mixed with oil and water and kneaded for about 30 minutes, Subedi said.
“We fold [the dough] in edges by pinching and twisting by the fingers of our hands … to give them an attractive design,” he said.
Meat-filled momos don’t have to be just chicken or goat, either. According to Suman Dhungel of Mo:Mo, a new momo home delivery business based in Nashua, other popular ground meats include turkey, bison and pork. Her menu includes 10 momos per order, with options like pork, chicken or vegetable momos.
“We make ours with onions, cilantro, olive oil and a tomato-based sauce that comes on the side,” she said. “The sauce is something we keep experimenting with. It can be made either really hot or really mild.”
Dhungel said she began accepting orders last month and, with the help of her husband and her sister, delivers them to most towns in the greater Nashua area. The menu is available on the Facebook page and orders can be placed by calling.
Empanadas, which get their name from the Spanish verb “empanar,” meaning to fold or wrap in dough, can either be baked or fried and are most commonly filled with meats like beef or chicken, according to Tony Elias of the Made With Love 603 food truck in Manchester. Elias likes to describe them simply as “meat-filled turnovers” that can be served as either appetizers or in larger portions as main dishes.
“We have two kinds of empanadas, which are the beef and cheese or the chicken and cheese, and it’s all about the flavor that goes into it.” Elias said.
The meat of the empanadas is cooked for a few hours before it’s filled in dough along with the cheese, diced peppers and onions. Elias said he likes to seal the turnover by sticking a fork in the edge of the dough all around its perimeter. 
The difference in cultural origins, he said, comes when you add different kinds of seasonings, spices and other ingredients to the empanada.
“You know, it just all comes down to where you’re from and how you want to make it,” he said. “We’re Puerto Rican and do it our way … [but] empanadas aren’t just from Puerto Rico. It’s a Latino dish. … We’ll do a lot of garlic, vinegar and cilantro, whereas Mexican empanadas, for example, will add more cumin and other spicier flavors to it.”
Another ingredient Elias likes to add is adobo, a dry seasoning made from paprika, garlic, oregano and other spices.
Out of the 10 items Elias offers at his food truck, empanadas are his top seller.
“Basically when somebody doesn’t know what they want to get, I’ll suggest it to them and say taste this,” he said, “and it will usually bring them back.”
But other fillings can include ham, fish or short rib. Dave Spagnuolo of Gale Motor Co. Whiskey & Wine in Concord and the former Gale Motor Co. Eatery in Manchester said he likes to experiment with different flavors that would complement the empanada depending on what type of meat you use. The short rib empanada, for example, was prepared with a chipotle aioli, while the chicken empanadas contained potatoes, jalapenos and a chili verde sauce.
“We made ours pretty small … so that people could share them,” he said.
Calzones get their name from the Italian word meaning “trouser leg” and are widely believed to have originated in Naples, the capital city of the region of Campania in southern Italy.
“Basically, the idea of folding the pizza over and putting the toppings on the inside … was that you can be able to just eat as you go, instead of going to a pizza place and sitting down to eat your pizza,” said Lionel Grassi, owner of Tano’s Pizzeria in Manchester. “The main things [for calzones], especially in Italy, were pepperonis and anchovies.”
Grassi, who grew up in Argentina but whose parents come from Italy, said calzones began to gain popularity in the United States around the 1950s and ’60s, especially in major metropolitan areas like New York City.
“When they first started in Naples, all of the pieces were as small as individual slices of pizza,” he said, “and over here they are much bigger for the most part.”
As the popularity of calzones continued to spread to other countries beyond Italy, Grassi said the sizes and ingredients of the dish would change depending on where you would get it from. Several signature toppings available on his menu include the traditional Italian with Genoa salami, hot capicola and mortadella; the chicken melanzana with eggplant and pesto sauce; and the Tano’s calzone, which has prosciutto, roasted red peppers, black olives and fresh tomatoes. Other popular flavors traditional in Italy include meatball calzones and chicken Parmesan calzones.
Even though the pasty has become popularized in other countries beyond its origins in England, it was a dish first created out of necessity and for convenience.
James Gibney of Epsom is the corporate executive chef of British Beer Co., overseeing 13 British-style pubs in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, including two in Manchester and Portsmouth. He said pasties originally came from the southwestern English county of Cornwall and are known as “Cornish pasties” that were meant to be consumed as lunches or light dinners rather than appetizers.
“The very traditional Cornish pasty would have a flaky pie dough, and then you would have minced beef with onions and seasonings and maybe peas and carrots mixed in. That’s basically three quarters of the pasty, and then at one end you’d have maybe like a dollop of rice pudding at the end, before you fold it up, crimp it and bake it,” said Gibney, who himself comes from the East Anglian borough of Colchester. “That’s what the tin miners down in Cornwall would eat for their lunch.”
Gibney said Cornish pasties had the unique quality of having two thick ends making it easier for the miners to eat.
“The idea was to have that big, thick solid nub of pastry [to hold], so that when you go to eat your lunch, you’re eating it with filthy, dirty hands and you eat it until you get to the end and you just toss it,” he said.
The name “Cornish pasty” has had EU protective status in Cornwall since 2011, Gibney said, but pasties inspired by the original dish can include all kinds of variations of fillings.
The New England pasty on the British Beer Co.’s menu, for example, is like a whole Thanksgiving dinner folded and baked into a pie, complete with honey roasted turkey, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. There’s also a cottage pie pasty, which Gibney described as a take on the minced beef and onions of the traditional Cornish pasty, and a “fisherman’s pasty,” which is filled with seafood chowder and potatoes as the base.
“These are all entrees, and we’ll serve them with extra mashed potatoes and gravy on the side,” he said. “The essence of a pasty is a stuffed hand-held pastry pie, and it can basically be whatever you want it to be, depending on what you put into it.”
Pierogi are dumplings native to Poland and can contain meats like ground beef or ground pork, as well as traditional fillings like potato and cheese, mushrooms, cabbage or sauerkraut. The dish has a very strong association with holidays, different seasons and other special traditions, according to Bedford resident Kathy Card, parish committee director of Holy Trinity Cathedral in Manchester, which takes part in an annual Polish festival in the fall each year. Her grandmother came from Poland, making pierogi part of a Christmas Eve dinner as well as other holidays.
“In the past in Poland, it was almost like a peasant food, because back in the day, you would not find traditional pierogi on a menu,” Card said. “Around the ’70s, pierogi became more common to people who weren’t Polish, because it used to be promoted as a carbo-loading food for people who ran races or triathlons … and so people sort of discovered them that way.”
Card said that meat-filled pierogi are especially popular in Poland while in the United States there tend to be more options in the way of potato and cheese or cabbage fillings. The fillings can also vary depending on which part of the country they come from in Poland.
“If you were using meat, the traditional way would be to start with roasted meat and put it through a grinder,” she said, “but instead what I do is … [grind] it and then you’re putting it into a food processor and pulsing it. … You don’t do that to the point of making it a paste, but the idea is to make it a fine filling.”
The practice of making your own pierogi, Card added, can be time-consuming because of the boiling process of the dough.
“It isn’t hard. It’s basic ingredients, but there are a lot of steps,” she said.
Pierogi are also more often eaten more than at a time, due to their normally small size.
“I’ll cut them in like a three-inch circle, and to me that’s a normal size,” Card said. “However, you might see other people make them even smaller. … One is called a pierog, and nobody ever eats one.”
Dim Sum steamed buns
A handful of Chinese restaurants across the Granite State offer a Dim Sum menu, which includes steamed dumplings with meat fillings like pork, beef, chicken or shrimp. “Dim Sum” is a Cantonese term meaning “to point to the heart’s desire,” and is made up of several bites-sized dishes that became popular with street vendors and highway-side tea houses. Today, they are most commonly eaten as appetizers or snacks.
According to Jay Zheng, co-owner of Sakura Asian Bistro in Nashua, the most common kinds of meat-filled dumplings you will see as part of a Dim Sum menu are known as shumai.
“Shumai … is made with pork or shrimp in the middle, and then some vegetables,” Zheng said. “They’re usually not completely covered in meat on the top.”
While pork is the most common filling for Dim Sum dumplings, some restaurants will use other meat fillings and pair them with various side dishes. The North Garden Chinese Restaurant & Lounge, for example, has more than two dozen options on its Dim Sum menu, including chicken, shrimp or barbecue pork. But Dim Sum options are not strictly meat-filled dumplings; other options include chicken claws or spare ribs with a black bean sauce, or beef, pork or rice soup, and you can pair them with the steamed buns to make your own meal.
Wontons (Chinese dumplings)
Wontons are available in many area Chinese restaurants as appetizers and have a tradition of being popular foods during the Chinese New Year and Moon Festival celebrations.
“Some places will call it a wonton, and some will call it a ravioli or a dumpling,” said Jay Zheng, co-owner of Sakura Asian Bistro in Nashua, which offers pork dumplings as six-piece appetizers that can be either steamed or fried. “We’ll make [the meat] into a small meatball, maybe two inches or so thick.”
Zheng said the dumplings will also contain a variety of vegetables, like cabbage, mushrooms, scallions or chives. The dough used to make them will usually contain a mix of flour, eggs, water and sometimes salt.
Jenny Yang, a manager at Thousand Crane in Manchester, said popular dumplings include pork or shrimp fillings.
“You can get them as a six-piece appetizer, but people oftentimes like to place two orders as their entree, so they’ll get 12,” she said.
Most Chinese restaurants in the Granite State will offer your choice of either steamed or fried dumplings. According to Michael Li, owner of No. 1 Chinese Restaurant in Manchester, the meat-fillings are usually the same, while the cooking of the dough is different. Dumplings are available as eight-piece appetizers at the restaurant, both steamed or fried, which have a ground pork filling, with scallions and soy sauce in a dough made from rice flour.
“We steam them …  for about five minutes and the fry them probably for about another two or three minutes,” Li said. “The fried ones are definitely more popular. People like the crispy outside.” 

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