More Momo

Cumin's Nepalese dumplings pack a wallop of flavor

Most cuisines have some form of dumpling–and you can find many a potsticker and pierogi here in Chicago.

But the newest dumpling in town is one we haven't tasted before: Nepalese chicken momo ($8) at Wicker Park's new Indian-Nepalese restaurant, Cumin.

They look familiar enough: round, steamed bundles, eight to a plate, that resemble Chinese soup dumplings.

But one bite proves otherwise. The silky wrapper holds a chicken meatball seasoned with scallions, ginger, garlic, garam masala, coriander and a bright yellow slick of turmeric oil. The ginger, garlic and scallions lend an Asian affect to the dish, but the flavor is head and shoulders above Chinatown's mostly wan dumplings, which rely on sauce to add zing.

Instead, the momos' lightly spicy tomato-onion dipping sauce is a pleasantly tart but unnecessary accompaniment–there's more than enough flavor sealed inside.

Make a meal with goat chhoela ($8), also on the Nepalese portion of the menu. Hunks of goat are braised until tender in a gingery, spiced tomato sauce with tang from amchoor (dried green mango powder) and slivers of fresh ginger. Crunchy rice (chewra)–rice grains beaten until flat–comes on the side.

Or just order more momo.

Cumin, 1414 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-342-1414 or cumin-chicago.com