Tidbits from Tibet

Like any reasonable human fortunate enough to try them, I love momo. All dumplings are delicious, but something about this Tibetan specialty is particularly captivating. These two-bite round bundles look like beautifully wrapped packages, which isn’t too far from the truth. It’s a real gift because making momo from scratch is no quick fix meal.

Funny enough, despite that, the thing that I crave most when I think about momos aren’t the dumplings themselves, but the unbelievably creamy tomato soup that comes with an order of jhol momo. Spicy, rich, and intensely flavorful, it’s essentially liquefied chutney that’s been spiked with toasted sesame seeds. Once blended, that nutty goodness transforms the brilliant red brew into the best kind of tomato bisque on the planet.

I still haven’t mastered momo, but I have cracked the code on a shortcut jhol achar soup. Garlic, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, and Sichuan peppercorns dance in this aromatic mixture, bolstered by the natural sweetness of lightly caramelized onion. Canned, fire-roasted tomatoes add an instant earthy, woodsy, smoky complexity, while tahini ensures a smooth finish every time.

This soup is so good that you don’t even need dumplings to make it a meal… But if you do have access, it certainly doesn’t hurt. If you can’t get your hands on vegan momo, homemade, frozen, or otherwise, other [unconventional but delightful] additions and serving suggestions include:

  • Diced avocado
  • Steamed vegetable gyoza or wontons
  • Gnocchi
  • Diced and roasted sweet potato
  • Chickpeas

On really cold days though, I’m happy to just pour it into a thermos and sip this soup all day. It’s soothing, invigorating, and restorative all at once.

Yield: Makes About 8 Cups

Jhol Achar Soup

Jhol Achar Soup

Spicy, rich, and intensely flavorful, this soup is a take on the liquefied chutney that's typically served with Tibetan momo dumplings. Once blended, that nutty goodness transforms the brilliant red brew into the best kind of tomato bisque on the planet.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion, Diced
  • 2 Fresno Chilies, Roughly Chopped
  • 5 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 1/2 Inches Fresh Ginger, Minced
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sichuan Peppercorns
  • 1 (28-Ounce Can) Fire-Roasted Tomatoes
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cardamom
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 4 Cups Vegetable Stock
  • 1/4 Cup Tahini


  1. Place a large saucepan over medium heat and coat the bottom with oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add the onion and chilies, cooking for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, ginger, and peppercorns and saute for another 4 - 5 minutes, until golden brown and aromatic.
  2. Quickly pour in the tomatoes, scraping the bottom of the pan with the spatula to make sure nothing sticks or burns. Add the bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom and salt. Pour in the vegetable stock, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the bay leaves and carefully transfer the soup to your blender. Add the tahini and puree until smooth. Ladle into bowls and top with cilantro, tahini, and any other garnishes if desired. Serve hot!

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 97Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 537mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 2g

All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.

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