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Iskus Mo:Mo | Chayote Squash Dumpling | Vegetarian Recipe

Iskus Mo:Mo or Chayote Squash Mo:Mo is a regional specialty from the Eastern part of Nepal. Made with grated chayote and seasoned minimally, this vegetarian mo:mo is definitely a must for all the dumpling lovers.

I learned about iskus mo:mo through a friend on instagram, the gundruk a few months ago and was really intrigued by the idea of using chayote squash (iskus in Nepali) in dumplings. I hardly ever cook with chayote squash but I was sold on the dumpling idea. Upon some research, I found out that mo:mo made with iskus (chayote squash) is very popular in the Eastern part of Nepal. The recipe I am sharing is inspired from the gundruk and someday would love to travel to the Eastern part of Nepal and try the iskus mo:mo made by the locals. This is a vegetarian/vegan-friendly recipe and in my opinion, one of the best vegetable dumplings.

Chayote squash is a pear-shaped gourd that has a crunchy texture and mild taste. It is a popular vegetable in many parts of the world, including Central America and Asia. In Nepal, it is often prepared by sauteing or cooked with meat/poultry-based stew. Depending on where you live, chayote squash is available at most grocery stores, including Indian and Hispanic grocery stores.

I love the simplicity of iskus mo:mo, made with few ingredients which you may already have in your kitchen. Once steamed, iskus mo:mo gets really plump/juicy and melts in your mouth. Typically, mo:mo is served with some sort of tomato achar (dipping sauce) and I served mine with roasted tomato and chili achar with timur (Nepali Sichuan pepper).

I used ghee (a type of clarified butter) but regular butter or any neutral oil can be used.

If you are into dumplings or looking to try a new recipe, this is a one I highly recommend for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. It is best served steamed but I am sure it will taste equally delicious when pan-fried. Depending on the thickness of your dumpling wrapper, steaming can take anywhere from 10-15 minutes and I always look for a visual cue where dumpling wrapper looks a a bit translucent and has a bit of a shine.

Iskus Mo:Mo | Chayote Squash Mo:Mo

Makes about 20-22 dumplings

2 medium size chayote squash, remove the seed and shredded (after squeezing the water out, I had about 1 cup shredded chayote squash)

1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 heaping tablespoon grated ginger
2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 tablespoon ghee or oil if vegan/dairy-free
salt and pepper, to taste
20-22 dumpling wrapper (I used store-bought; here is a recipe to make homemade wrapper)
Tomato achar (dipping sauce) to serve – here are 5 mo:mo achar recipes to try

1. Grate chayote squash using a box grater and make sure to remove the seed. I didn’t peel the skin of chayote squash.

2. In a bowl, add the grated squash and generously salt it and keep it aside for 25-30 minutes. When ready, take a small handful of salted, grated chayote squash and squeeze out the moisture. This steps helps remove the moisture from squash so please do not skip it. Optional step: line another bowl with a cloth and add grated squash to it to help squeeze out the water. See above photo for reference.

3. In a bowl, add grated, squeezed chayote squash, finely chopped onion, grated ginger, chopped cilantro. Season with with ghee/oil, salt, and pepper to taste. The mixture should look almost creamy.

4. Take a dumpling wrapper and add about 1 heaping tablespoon of chayote squash filling in the center and fold the dumpling wrapper to your desired shape. If using store-bought wrapper, you will need a little water to seal the edges. Continue with remaining filling and wrapper.

5. Prepare your steamer by bringing water to a rolling boil. Line your steamer basket with non-stick spray, oil, or parchment paper.

6. Arrange dumplings on a steamer basket at least one finger apart each other. Steam for 10-12 minutes until the dumplings are cooked through and dumpling wrapper looks translucent and plump.

7. Serve it immediately with tomato achar of your choice.

8. Alternatively, you can freeze uncooked dumplings immediately after wrapping. You can steam frozen dumplings without thawing until they’re cooked through, 12-14 minutes following steps 5-7.

More dumpling recipes to try:

Dixya Bhattarai

Dixya Bhattarai

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