Sangita Di Biasi, a computer programmer and homemaker, lives in Albertson with her husband, Glenn Di Biasi, and children, Louis 4 1/2 and Luke 2 1/2.
You’ve lived in many places all over the world. Did moving around influence your cooking?
I grew up in Nepal, Bhutan and India. I worked a little bit in Hong Kong, too. That’s where I got engaged. In 2009, I came here. As a little girl, I always liked to cook. In high school, in India, I took cooking lessons.
How would you characterize your repertoire these days?
Very mixed. I get ideas and create things myself. Sometimes, I can’t tell you if a dish is Indian or American; it’s just healthy.
Do you cook for your young children?
My kids inspire me. They’re both allergic to eggs and dairy, so I try a lot of different things. They love crunchy food, so I make all kinds of chips, which I bake. I’ve done kale and zucchini chips. And one day, when I was about to cook quinoa, I soaked and ground it and made it into chips. A big hit. I even made a basket of homemade chips for a friend, who loved it.
Besides cooking for your family, do you entertain at home?
I’ve cooked for groups as large as 35 and as small as eight or nine.
Where do you eat out when you’re not cooking?
On Sundays, we go to House of Dosas in Hicksville. We also like New Chilli & Curry in Hicksville, which is Nepalese but also Indian. Their momo dumplings is one of our favorite dishes. I make momo at home, too. Sometimes, I make everything from scratch, but I also use wonton wrappers if I don’t have time. I serve the momo dumplings with a coriander dipping sauce.
1 pound ground or minced chicken, turkey, lamb, pork or beef – or a mixture of any two.
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
1 cup cabbage, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon powdered coriander (optional)
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1/2 powdered chicken bouillon cube
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt to taste
1 package (about 60) wonton wraps
Additional olive oil for steamer basket
1. In a bowl, combine meat, onion, cabbage, garlic, ginger, cilantro, coriander, paprika, turmeric, carrots, powdered bouillon cube, olive oil and salt. Mix well. Reserve.
2.Make dumplings: Wet the edges of a wonton wrap with water. Holding in one hand, place about 1 tablespoon filling in the center; with other hand, bring edges together to meet in the middle, making pleats. Pinch and twist together to ensure the filling is enclosed. Repeat with remaining wraps.
3.Lightly oil a steamer basket. Place momos inside so that they don’t touch (do in batches if necessary); cover and steam for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove to large plate; cover with damp paper towel and, if necessary, reheat in microwave oven, about 1 minute for 20 momo. Serve hot with chutney. Makes 60 dumplings.
CHUTNEY FOR MOMO DUMPLINGS
1/4 cup cashews
2 ripe tomatoes, cut lengthwise
Salt, to taste
2 tablespoons chili powder, or to taste
1 clove garlic
Small bunch cilantro, chopped
1. In a big bowl, combine cashews with 1/2 cup of water; set aside.
2.In a covered medium saucepan over high heat, bring to 1 cup water and tomatoes to a boil. When boiling, uncover pot and boil another 6 to 8 minutes.
3.Pour boiled tomatoes into a sieve or a colander. Allow to cool until easy to handle. Then, remove tomato peels; transfer pulp to a blender.
4.Drain cashews; add to blender. Add salt, chili powder, garlic and cilantro. Blend to a smooth paste. Check seasoning. Makes about 1 cup chutney; serve alongside momo dumplings.