I’ve often thought of the sizzle platter—a cast iron oval set in a wooden block—as a gimmick. Designed to make diners ooh and aah with its sputtering and hissing, it’s akin to fried ice cream or the show put on by a teppanyaki grill man. I can count the number of times I’ve ordered sizzling fajitas, precisely once. But when I heard of the sizzling C-momo at Spicy Tibet I couldn’t resist. Whether fried or chive-filled I have a weakness for the dumplings that are the hamburgers of the Himalayas.
C-momo comes to the table blazing hot, the dumplings coated in a bubbling reddish glaze flecked with dried red pepper. The crescent-shaped beef momo are interspersed with red and green peppers and onions, much like Tex-Mex fajitas.
As I tucked into the plate of dumplings with its sweet spicy glaze it tasted familiar. “General Tso’s dumplings,” I thought to myself not quite able to put my finger on it. Thanks to that maligned sizzle plate some of the dumplings achieved a blistery char that went perfectly with the chili heat.
Still unclear what these novel momo called to mind I asked the waitress what the “C” stood for. “Chili,” she said. “Oh like chili chicken?” I responded, realizing that the peppers, onions, and sweet sauce were that of the popular Indian-Chinese dish not General Tso’s.
So there you have it. Tibetan dumplings in an Indian-Chinese sauced cooked on a piece of equipment popularized by Tex-Mex cuisine right in the heart of Jackson Heights, Queens. Perhaps that sizzle platter isn’t so bad after all.