Simply Tibetan, Simply Delicious

tsampa, momo, lephing and more!



With Tibetans everywhere, including those in my household, humming the Shabaley song, it would be more than appropriate to post a recipe for Shabaley, giving thanks to our ancestors who created this yummy thing called Shabaley. I don’t think I know anyone who’s tasted it and not liked it. My son took some of our left over Shabaleys for school lunch and he came home saying that his friends were begging him for a taste. He had three shabaleys, so he gave them one half to share.

Shabaleys are pretty simple to make if you know how. Some make them deep fried but I like the pan fried version that we called “Sokpoe” Shabaley .. “Mongolian Shabaley” – this is how it was always made in my home. The key is that the dough needs to be slightly supple – less firm than your usual momo dough – if you let the dough rest for an hour or longer, then it will have more of a yield.

Here’s my impromptu recipe for shabaley … this is not for the novice but for someone with a little knowledge of making momos at least 🙂

Ingredients for meat filling:

1 lbMinced or Ground Beef

1/2 cup finely chopped Celery

1/2 Onion finely chopped

1 small bunch cilantro (chopped)

1 small bunch spring onion (chopped)

2 Table Spoon Vegetable Oil

Dash of Soya Sauce

¼ cup water

Black Pepper, Emma, Salt


Approx two-three cups of flour – knead a slightly moist supple dough, cover and let sit in room temperature.

Tomato Chilli Salsa:

1 Large Tomato

½ Onion

1 small bunch cilantro

1 small bunch mint

1 Jalepeno

salt, pepper and emma

Start by making the dough, adding water little by little to the dough until you have a slightly moist supple dough. Cover and let stand at room temperature.

Put the ground beef in a large bowl, add celery, onion, spring onion, cilantro, and season to taste with black pepper, emma and salt and some soya sauce. Add the oil and about ¼ cup of water and gently mix thoroughly until evenly mixed. Add more water if needed – mixture shouldn’t be lumpy, but neither should it be too moist.

To make the Shabaley, shape them like you make round momos, exept use twice the amount of dough and twice the meat filling – so it’s a really big momo. Then flatten it out, gently pressing with the tips of your fingers until they are as flat as you can get them without the skin tearing.

When frying, I usually have two pans going. One non-stick pan, where I dry fry them first – maybe 3-5 minutes on each side until they are slightly browned. Then transfer over to the next pan, where you add a little oil and let them cook on each side until nice and golden. The key is to keep an eye on the heat – after a couple of tries, you should get the hang of it – it shouldn’t be too hot or it’ll burn and it shouldn’t be too low or it’ll take forever to cook. (Alternately, you can do both steps in one pan.)

Transfer your shabaley’s into a container lined with some paper towels, and let them sit there until ready to serve. Shabaleys taste best after you’ve let them sit for a while. The dough shell softens and the paper absorbs the extra oil, and you get some melt in your mouth Sokpoe Shabaleys.

To serve with the Shabaley, its nice to have some tomato chilli salsa, and soya sauce. Throw all the ingredients for tomato salsa in a blender, add some salt and pepper to taste and voila … its ready to serve. Add less of more of the Jalepenos depending on your fondness for spicy hot sauce.

Other filling options:  You can experiment with all kinds of filling options. I sometimes make some potato and spinach shabaleys. Boil and roughly mash the potatoes, add some chopped spinach and also some golden fried onions.

Veggie Shabaleys – I chop whatever green vegetables that I might have, usually bakchoy is very good – you can add some chopped tofu and some shitake mushrooms, and a small bunch of chopped spring onions and cilantro.

Chive or Chutse-baleys – This is an Amdowa favorite. The Chinese flat leave chive has a strong and distinct flavor and very easy to make. All you need is chopped chive and some ground meat. No need to add anything else – just season with some salt, emma, pepper and some soya sauce and mix thoroughly.


  1. I don’t add garlic or ginger to the mixture for shabaleys or momos, but instead add some garlic to your chilli sauce. The chefs that I grew up with always seemed to look down on Garlic or ginger in shabaleys and momos – as they kill the gentler flavor of the other herbs.
  2. Do add some cilantro and spring onions. Some people say add one or the other, but the one chef who made the best tasting juicy momos told me his secret is to add a touch of both – as they add aroma and flavor. Too much of either is not recommended though. 


9 comments on “Shabaley

  1. Sangfroid
    February 2, 2015

    I just need to know what is the “emma” seasoning you add, is it an herb or a spice mixture like panch pooran or gram masala which I can replicate or buy; the rest is straight forward enough. Thank you

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  5. simplytibetan
    July 26, 2012

    Thanks for the comment. Shabaley is one of my favorite foods too. Hope you got to try the recipe … do let us know how it turned out. Thanks.

  6. Kamakshi
    July 14, 2012

    I really love this recipe. I love Shabaley but have only had the deep fried ones. Which are really tasty but high on calories. This pan fried option is really good. I will love to try out this recipe . Thanks

  7. gyalrong Khentul
    December 19, 2011

    thanks for the prompt response. you are heaven send. I’m off to my kitchen..

  8. simplytibetan
    December 18, 2011

    For this style of shabaley, you don’t need to pre-cook the meat. It will get cooked as you are making it. The trick is to make the shabaleys as flat as you can without tearing the dough skin. Do not add too much water to the meat mixture, as the more water, the more easily the dough will tear. Secondly, when frying, make sure the heat is not too high, as then the dough will burn before the meat is cooked. It sounds complicated but when you start making, its quite simple. Please test the recipe and let me know if it worked for you :-).

  9. gyalrong Khentul
    December 18, 2011

    thanks for the tips… however i wonder whether meat used in sokpo shabakley filling should be precooked or meat will be cooked while shabakley is fried..?
    gyalrong khentul

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This entry was posted on November 26, 2011 by in Recipes and tagged , , , , , , .

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