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Mountains, memories, momos

Lisa Suwal maps out the path to frozen momos becoming fresh, the research that goes into making that happen, and a surprise announcement

Published: 18th July 2021 10:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th July 2021 10:31 AM   |  A+A-

The Suwal family, headed by Mahendra  and carried on by Lisa, look to their past to craft future tastes

The Suwal family, headed by Mahendra and carried on by Lisa, look to their past to craft future tastes

You should try pan-frying them, that’s my favourite way of eating them,” advises Lisa Suwal, CGO, Prasuma, about her brand’s most recent flagship product, Prasuma momos. I add in the rider of ‘most recent’ because Prasuma, started by her father Mahendra Suwal, has been stocking the fridges of Delhi households with a taste for delicatessen products over three decades. And as our well-travelled readers know, Prasuma is pan-India.

Saving the history of Prasuma for a later story (watch this space, folks) let us instead concentrate on the momos. Lisa, 34, joined the family business six years ago, after a five-year stint at L’Oreal, having completed her MBA and other degrees at DU and beyond. While the brand has specialised in meat and deli products over its timeline, Lisa was spurred on to greater heights.

“There were two distinct things that came together to sow the seed for Prasuma momos. Firstly, coming from a Himalayan family, momos were always central to family nights, something that was always there on the table as we talked, argued, and bonded. Any occasion that happened, momos were involved. And about a decade ago, when my father was travelling in Italy, he came across these amazing frozen stuffed ravioli, and when we cooked them, they were really fresh. My dad said then, why can’t we do the same with our momos in India. And so the idea for quality momos was planted way back then,” recalls Lisa.

It is the freshness that sets Prasuma momos apart from the rest of the market, and why we are doing a story on them. Prasuma sources fresh meats every single day, with each piece of meat being hand-selected and minced at its Gurugram facility to ensure the consistent quality of every momo. The components for the vegetarian dumplings (I refuse to call them momos) come directly from partnered farms that grow the best produce, as do the grains used for the wrapping. As someone who has worked in professional kitchens in the Capital, I can guarantee you that this is unprecedented. Delhi, you do not want to know what goes into your favourite momos that you buy off the streets. I do, and I don’t eat momos from the street anymore.

Then there’s the sprinkling of legacy. “The chicken momos are based on my own grandmother’s recipe, something we grew up with. Similarly, the pork momos are actually gyoza (Japanese style dumplings), with the recipe sourced from a small village in Japan, revered for its gyoza. So yes, a lot of work and heart has gone into this range,” shares Lisa.

Speaking of work, “We are so glad to have created this product, which people can prepare in two minutes to enjoy. They are not really aware of how much time and effort it took to craft such a brand. We spent five years in R&D to make a frozen product that would still taste and feel fresh when you open that packet and fry/steam/microwave it. Given the delicacy of our wrappers, which are translucent yet firm enough to hold our fillings, there was a lot of trial and error that went into making something that survives the making, packaging, and delivering to stores and or customers,” explains Lisa.

It’s funny, Lisa muses, of how the company spent half a decade on developing the product only for it to become an overnight success. I’m unsure if you remember, dear reader, but there used to be a time before the pandemic, and it was in late 2019 that Prasuma momos launched its first range in the country. “Earlier, when my friends would come over and have momos at our home, and would always say, why don’t you sell this as a frozen food? As a brand we had been looking at getting into the frozen foods market, but we also wanted to be different; like okay, it’s a frozen food but it needs to taste and feel fresh. So that’s why we spent so much time on developing a people-pleasing product,” elaborates Lisa.

And while it derives from an enduring legacy, Prasuma momos’ story has only just begun. “You are the first person we are telling this to, but we are going to launch three new varieties next month, and honestly, these are my favourites so far,” shares Lisa gleefully. The versions are Spicy Veg (writer’s note: dumplings), Mutton, and Desi Chicken. And no, the last doesn’t mean they wrapped up some Butter Chicken; it’s actually chicken cooked in mustard oil and kharra masala. So, more momos please.



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