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Recipe: Anita's Chicken Porcupine

June 05, 2023 13:09 IST
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Photographs: Anita Aikara

Whenever the craving for comfort food kicks in, I turn to chicken momos -- the plain variety with a steamed filling of minced chicken mixed with peppery sweet shreds of sauteed ginger, spring onion and garlic, and vegetables of my choice. Fancy tandoori momos, fried wontons, chicken and cheese momos don't seem to excite me anymore.

The outer covering of these steamed potlis of deliciousness is made with maida or all-purpose flour, which I'm trying to avoid and that got me to scout for healthier options.

Chicken Porcupine was one -- the filling is the same, but instead of stuffing it in a casing of maida, the momos are rolled in uncooked rice, that puff up once steamed and resemble the spikes of a porcupine, hence the name.

This recipe doesn't require much effort, most of the ingredients are easily available in any well-stocked kitchen.

It's perfect for as an appetiser for a Sunday brunch at home and can be enjoyed with a lovely Shrimp Coconut Soup with the aromatic flavours of galangal, lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves.

It can also be teamed with Bethica's Bajra Fried Rice or Sangita's Veggie Fried Rice, which is made in 20 minutes.

Chicken Porcupine

Serves: 3-4


For the filling

  • 500 gm minced chicken, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce, optional
  • 1 carrot, peeled and coarsely grated
  • Small piece of cabbage, grated, about ½ cup grated cabbage + a few leaves that can be used as baskets to steam the momos (please see the pic above)
  • Small bunch spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp black pepper powder
  • Few tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • Salt to taste, about 1 tsp
  • Parchment paper
  • Mint leaves, to garnish, optional
  • Soy sauce, for serving
  • Chilly sauce, for serving

For the outer covering

  • 1 cup uncooked rice, preferably the longer grain varieties like basmati
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Water


  • Soak the rice 2 hours before the momos are ready to be steamed.
    Don't forget to add salt, because you won't be able to add it later.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan.
    Add the grated ginger and chopped garlic.
    Stir-fry for a minute.
    Add the chopped spring onions and cook on low heat for a few minutes.
    Take off from heat and transfer this mixture into a bowl.
    Add the minced chicken.
    Add the grated carrots and the grated cabbage.
    Add the sauces.
    Add the olive oil, pepper.
    Add salt.
    Add the egg and using your hands, mix until well-combined.
    Divide the mixture into portions and roll them into small balls of 1½-inch diameter and keep aside.
  • Drain the water from the soaked rice.
    Transfer the rice into a big bowl or onto a flat plate.
    Roll the balls in the rice.
  • Line the base of a bamboo steamer (or a regular steamer) with parchment paper or use the small portions of the cabbage leaves too for the momos to rest on.
    Pierce a few holes in the paper using a toothpick.
  • Boil water in a large saucepan over which the steamer can easily be placed.
    The saucepan should not be very large or else the steamer will slide into the water; if it is too much smaller than the steamer, the momos won't be cooked.
    Place the steamer over the saucepan of boiling water.
    Fill the momos in the steamer, leaving a little gap between them as the rice will expand once it cooks.
    Cover the steamer and let the momos steam for 15-20 minutes.
    Once the momos are cooked, take off heat, garnish with mint leaves and serve with chilly sauce and soy sauce.

Editor's Note: For vegetarian porcupines, replace the 500 gm minced chicken with 150 gm grated tofu, 150 gm grated mushrooms and 200 gm chopped pre-cooked rice noodles or Maggi.

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