‘Today people know me through this business and I am glad I could do something in life worth talking about’
I know I won’t be doing justice to this story if I start it with the clichéd once upon a time. After all it wasn’t once upon a time. Only eight years back, by sheer accident, Darpan Pradhan, proprietor of Cupid became the first frozen momo maker in Nepal. Those who lived most of their lives in Darjeeling must be very familiar with the small momo shops mushrooming in the town. It was in one of this small backyard shop that Pradhan got to learn to make momos. Bunking few classes and attending momo making sessions in a crumbling Tibetan momo restaurant was a far flung idea and little did he know that what he had learnt then would be his bread and butter today.
But who doesn’t know how to prepare momo after all? This Tibetan-Chinese cuisine has become so popular that anybody and everybody now must savour it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Pradhan’s family was no exception. “All of us in the family relished it and we used to make it frequently at home,” says Pradhan. Good things in life come unexpected and that is what happened with Pradhan. With a language institute not running well, Pradhan became quite dejected until one day he discovered making frozen momos. Eureka!
“Like any other day I was busy babysitting my niece and while doing so, I made a mouse out of the dough prepared for momo. To make it firm, I kept it in defreeze and forgot about it. Later when I took it out it was frozen, firm, hard and yet fresh. Then I filled the dough with some meat and defreezed it again. After three days it was fresh as ever and the taste also did not seem to vary. Then the idea struck to me and I started the business in a small scale,” shares Pradhan.
Excited as he was with his new invention he quickly prepared ten packets each and gave it to Gemini and Bhat Bhateni departmental stores. “Initial feedback was amazing. It sold like hot cakes and that is when I made up my mind to get into this business,” says Pradhan. With time Pradhan now has innumerable competitors. “It is very difficult to stay at the top. But we have our own recipes and with the taste and variety we provide most of our customers are loyal to us,” says Pradhan. That is when he decided to name his brand of momo’s. “The name Cupid had always fascinated me and thus the name,” adds Pradhan. Today Pradhan has almost nine varieties of frozen momo in the market. “Our chicken momos are in great demand. Besides we also have baby chicken momo’s, which is specially made for children above 12 months without ajina moto,” says Pradhan.
Starting with two rooms, a helper and a second hand freezer, Pradhan has come a long way.
“I worked hard and my effort paid off. Today people know me through this business and
I am glad I could do something in life worth talking about,” says Pradhan.