Tibetan Meat Dishes

Beef Momos are probably Tibet’s most famous dish, these are handmade by all the family and eaten on special occasions. Variations with lamb are also popular. Other popular Tibetan meat dishes include a range of curries and noodle stews.

Beef Momos



Yield: 12 – 18 pcs



  • 3 c All purpose flour 1 c WaterMeat Filling
  • 1 lb Extra lean ground beef
  • 1 ea Onion; chopped 1/2 lb Daikon, spinach or cabbage, -chopped fine
  • 1 Garlic clove; minced
  • 1 ts Fresh ginger; grated
  • 2 ea Green onion; chopped (white -and green both; no roots)
  • 2 tb Fresh cilantro; chopped
  • Salt


Mix flour and the water; knead and form into a ball. Let rise covered with a wet towel or plastic wrap for 30 min. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Cut dough into 12 – 18 pieces and roll into small flat circles. Mash together all filling ingredients. Place a spoonful of filling on each dough circle, folding over and crimping to seal. Place momos in a steamer and steam on high for 30 min.

Serve with a mild tomato salsa, “Tsal”, made from chopped tomatoes, cilantro, green onions and garlic, and/or Sriracha sauce and/or soy sauce.

Recipe from Jigme Topgyal, a Tibetan. In his native Tibet, these would be made with a flour ground from roasted barley called “Tsampa”. The [alternate] filling usually is made with ground chicken mashed with onions, daikon, fresh ginger, garlic and cilantro. [A] Vegetarian filling contains chopped cabbage, bok choy, tofu, green onion, ginger and garlic.

Lamb Momos

Yield: 12 servings



  • 2 c All-purpose flour 3/4 c Hot water
    Momos Filling
  • 8 oz Lean ground lamb
  • 1/2 Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 c Chopped raw kale
  • 1/2 c Cilantro, chopped
  • 3 Cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tb Chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 ts Curry powder
  • 1 tb Sherry, vermouth or brandy
  • 2 ts Flour
  • 2 ts Soy sauce
  • 1/2 ts Cayenne pepper or 1/2 ts Hot chili paste
    Khote Filling
  • 2 tb Butter
  • 1 Chopped onion
  • 3 Cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 Jalapeno Peppers, Sliced
  • 1 ts Cumin 1
  • 1/2 ts Curry powder
  • 1/2 ts Dry ground ginger
  • 1/2 ts Tumeric
  • 1 1/2 c Raw broccoli, chopped
  • 1/2 Red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 1/2 c Mashed Baking Potatoes
  • 1/4 c Chopped cilantro
  • 2 tb Yogurt
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Salt and Cayenne to taste
  • 1 Bunch Kale to line steamer


      Dough: 1. Pour hot water over flour; mix with fork. When cool enough to handle, finish mixing with your hands until dough holds together. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until chilled through.


      2. Work one piece of dough at a time; pinch off a walnut-sized chunk, shape into a ball, knead several times, then roll flat on a floured board.


      3. Place dough circle in the palm of your hand; in the middle of the dough, place about 1 tbsp filling. Bring up edges and seal at top with little gathers. Leave a tiny hole at top for steam to escape during cooking.


      4. Line steamer or bottom of skillet with kale leaves. Top with a layer of dumplings and steam over boiling water 15 to 20 minutes. If using a skillet use just enough water to cushion the Momos; replenish water as needed. Serve immediately, pairing Momos with soy sauce, ginger, and vinegar. May also be served with Achar.


      Momos Filling: Combine all ingredients.


      Khote Filling: 1. Melt butter in skillet. Add onion and garlic and cook over low heat until onion is limp. Add chiles and spices and cook a minute or two longer.


    2. Add broccoli and red bell pepper. Cook until they are crisp-tender; then add mashed potatoes, cilantro, yogurt, lime, and salt and cayenne to taste.

Shamday – Tibetan Curry

Serves: 2 Preparation and Cooking time: 30 minutes


  • 1 small Onion
  • 3 cloves of Garlic
  • 1 small piece of Ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 Tomato
  • 2 large Potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon of Ground Tumeric
  • 1 small packet of Bean Thread Noodles
  • Lamb or Beef
  • 1 handful of Seaweed
  • Sesame Oil


    Soak the bean thread noodles and the seaweed in cold water and leave for 10 minutes. Peel the potatoes and cut into cubes. Dice the meat into cubes. Vegetarians can substitute tofu (bean curd) for meat. Finely chop the onion, garlic and ginger. Directions Fry the onion, garlic and ginger in a deep sauce pan. Add the tumeric, salt and sesame oil. Stir well. Add the diced meat and potatoes. Stir well. Add 1 pint of cold water and cook for 20 minutes (Gas mark 4). Once the meat and potatoes are cooked take the bean thread and cut into small pieces, rinse the seaweed, add to the curry. Cook for another 5 minutes. Lastly, season to taste and add the tomato. Serve hot with boiled rice.

Tibetan Noodle Stew

Serves 4


  • 2 cups cavatelli or other thin tube-shaped pasta
  • 1 Tbs. canola oil
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
  • 4 oz lean lamb, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 2 tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch dice
  • 4 cups Chicken Stock or Vegetable Stock
  • 3-4 Tbs. tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. hot paprika, or to taste
  • 4 cups stemmed, washed spinach leaves


1. Cook the cavatelli in 4 quarts of boiling water until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain in a colander, rinse with cold water until cool, and drain again.

2. Heat oil in a wok or large saucepan, preferably nonstick. Add the onions, garlic, and ginger and cook over medium heat until nicely browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lamb, if using, and tomatoes and cook until the lamb loses its rawness, about 2 minutes.

3. Stir in the stock, tamari or soy sauce, and paprika and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the stew until richly flavored and the lamb is tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the cavatelli and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in the spinach leaves and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Correct the seasoning, adding tamari or paprika to taste.

294 Calories per serving;
12 G Protein;
5 G Fat;
1 G Saturated Fat;
53 G Carbohydrate;
818 MG Sodium;
0 MG Cholesterol.

Reproduced by permission from Viking.
High Flavor Low-Fat Pasta? 1996 by Steve Raichlen

Then Thuk – Noodle Soup

Serves: 2 Preparation and Cooking time: 25 minutes


      • 1 small Onion
      • 3 cloves of Garlic
      • 1 small piece of Ginger
      • 1 teaspoon of Salt
      • 1 small piece of Mouli Spinach (frozen or fresh)
      • lamb or beef
      • 1 table spoon of Soya Source
      • 2oz Plain Flour
      • 1 table spoon of Oil


Knead the plain flour into a dough using only cold water. Cover and leave for a while. Meanwhile, peel the mouli, cut it in half and slice thinly. Wash fresh spinach leaves and chop into large chunks. If frozen spinach is used defrost thoroughly. The amount used depends on presonal taste. Chop the onion, garlic and ginger. Cut the meat into strips and slice thinly.

Fry the onion, garlic and ginger in a deep sauce pan. Add the meat and soya sauce. Stir well. Add two pints of cold water and the sliced mouli. While the water is boiling, take the dough and roll it thinly into a large chapati-like shape. Cut the dough into long strips 2 inches wide. Take the strips and tear them into small pieces. Throw the pieces straight into the boiling water. Cook for 5 minutes. Lastly, add the spinach and season to taste. Simmer for a few minutes. Serve hot.

Sherpa Momos


        Meat Filling

      • 4 chicken breast halves, meat removed and minced
      • 2 minced onions
      • 5 cloves garlic (or to taste), diced
      • 1 large piece ginger to taste, diced
      • 1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
      • salt, paper and accent to taste
      • 1 teaspoon garam masala* optional
      • a little oil or ghee (clarified butter) to moisten Mix these ingredients together well
        Vegetable Filling
      • onion, cabbage, green beans and cauliflower all finely chopped and lightly steamed or blanched until slightly limp, enough to make about 3-4 cups. season with minced garlic, ginger, soy sauce, salt and accent to taste, using the above recipes as guidelines
      • 1 teaspoon garam masala* optional
      • a little oil or ghee (clarified butter) to moisten
      • 3-4 cups flour and enough cold water to make a smooth dough. Knead lightly and break off small pieces, rolling each into a thin round about 3 1/2 inches in diameter.


        Put a heaping teaspoon of the filling in the middle of each dough round. Form the momo in any of the following traditional shapes, using one hand to pleat or pinch and the other to both hold the momo and keep the filling from oozing out:


        o 8-pleated half moon shape;


        o 6-pleated round shape, with the pleats in the center like a top- knot;


        o the 9-pleated half moon shape with the ends brought around to almost touch; or


        o the fluted half moon shape in which the ends have been brought around and pinched together to form a circle.

Arrange on a steamer coated with vegetable oil spray and steam, covered l0-15 minutes. Serve with a dipping sauce. I like soy sauce mixed with a little rice vinegar and sugar or chili paste.

Sha-Balé- Meat Pastry

Serves: 4 or 5


        3 finely chopped medium Onions

      • 1 tablespoon of freshly ground Ginger and Garlic
      • 2 tablespoons of Cooking Oil
      • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
      • 1 tablespoon of Cooking Salt
      • 2 tablespoons of Soya Sauce
      • 1 teaspoon of Sesame Oil
      • 2 tablespoons of Hot Water
      • 2lb Minced Lamb or Beef
      • 6 cups of Self-Raising Flour
      • Cold Water


        1.Add the cold water to the flour a little at a time.


        2.Knead the dough for about 4-5 minutes.


        3.Leave the dough to stand for a while at room temperature.

1.Add the hot water, chopped onion, oil, salt and spices to the mince and mix them well.
2.Roll out the dough as thin as possible (on a well floured surface) and cut them into 4 inch rounds.
3.Put 2 teaspoons of the meat mixture on the round and flatten it down a little.
4.Put another round on top and pinch the edges together tightly.
5.Deep fry the sha-balé in moderately hot oil (only cook a few at a time).
6.Drain thoroughly on kitchen roll.
7.Sha-balé can also be shallow fried on a low gas (but remember to fry the mince and onions first).
8.Serve the sha-balé hot with chili sauce.

Kongpo Shaptak

(Kongpo-style Browned Beef)

4 servings


      • 1 pound top round beef
      • 2 tablespoons oil
      • 1 large red onion, chopped roughly
      • One half teaspoon paprika
      • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
      • I (1-inch) piece ginger,
      • chopped one quarter teaspoon ground emmo (sichuan pepper, available at large grocery stores)
      • 1 tomato, chopped roughly
      • One and one half tablespoons churu (blue cheese), crumbled
      • 1 cup water
      • 2 jalapeno chilies, sliced thinly on diagonal


        Cut the beef into thin slices about one eighth inch thick and one and one half to 2 inches square.

Heat the pan over high heat and add the oil. Fry the onion until brown with the paprika, garlic, ginger and emmo. Add the beef and stir-fry until cooked through. Add the tomato and the cheese, and cook until the cheese melts. Add the water and stir in the chilies, cooking for a few minutes more. Serve with bread or rice.

Adapted from “Lhasa Moon Tibetan Cookbook.”

Tibetan Spring Soup

Yield: 4 servings


      • 1 chopped onion
      • 1 tb mixed chopped garlic and -ginger
      • 1 lb diced beef
      • 1 pt water
      • 1 handful chopped mooli root -vegetabl; e, (or 1 radish, chopped)
      • 1 c plain pastry chopped into -tiny piec; es
      • 1 handful lettuce
      • 1 tblspoon chopped coriander


        Fry the onion, garlic and ginger together for a minute and add the beef until it is sealed. Pour in the water and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the mooli and the small pastry pieces and cook a minute longer.

At the end, drop in the lettuce and coriander and serve good and hot.

Mar Jasha

(Butter Chicken)



      • 1 whole chicken cut up,
      • 1 tbsp tandoori masala,
      • 1/2 tbsp garam masala (cloves, cinnamon and cardamom powdered)
      • 2 tbsp lime juice,
      • 1/2 tsp cummin powder (jeera),
      • 5 tbsp of yoghurt,
      • salt



      • tomatoes puree in a blender,
      • 2 onions chopped,
      • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste,
      • 15 cashew nuts paste,
      • 1 1/2 tbsp butter,
      • 3 tbsp cream,
      • 1 tsp chili powder,
      • oil


        Marinate the chicken in the marinade for 1 whole hour. Heat oil in a non stick pan and fry the chicken for 10 mins. Remove the chicken and keep aside. In the remaining oil fry the chopped onions till golden , then add the ginger-garlic paste and fry sprinkling little water now and then till oil separates. Add the cashew paste, chili pd, tomato paste and cook for 10 mins. Add the butter and the cream and the chicken. Mix well and cook till done . Garnish with cilantro.

Lamb Curry

(Luksha Shamdeh)


      • 1 cup plain yoghurt
      • 1 tsp paprika
      • 1 tsp curry powder
      • 1 tbsp soy sauce
      • 1 tsp each of ginger/garlic
      • 1 lb bonelss leg of lamb cubed
      • 3 large onions coarsely chopped
      • 1 tbsp oil
      • 4 inch pce of cinnamon stick
      • 1 star anise
      • 5 whole cloves
      • 3 bay leaves
      • 4 tomatoes
      • 3 large potatoes quartered


        In large bowl, combine yogurt, paprika, curry powder, soy, garlic and ginger. Add lamb, mixing to coat, marinate several hours (overnight if you want). In a large saucepan, over medium high heat, sauté onions in oil several minutes until translucent. Add cinnamon, star anise, cloves and bayleaves. Cook several minutes until onions brown. Add lamb and marinade; bring to boil over high heat, then add tomatoes. Lower heat to medium. Cook, uncovered, 20 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, boil potatoes until just cooked (10 to 15 minutes). Stir into the curry for the final 5 minutes of cooking to even out and combine the flavours. Remove the cloves, bay leaves, star anise and cinnamon. Makes 4 servings. If you wish you can accompany this with a pita or some rice as a side dish.