Chaoyte is an avocado-shaped, bright green squash from the member of the gourd family Cucurbitaceae, along with its relatives the melon, squash and cucumber. 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.

Today I am sharing a recipe for Chayote Squash Dumplings (Iskus Mo:Mo), 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.

This recipe 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 + more to salt the
20-22 dumpling wrapper (I used store-bought; here is a recipe to make homemade wrapper)
Tomato achar (dipping sauce) to serve

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 help 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.
3. In a bowl, add grated, squeezed chayote squash, finely chopped onion, grated ginger, chopped cilantro. Season 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 a 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 from each other. Steam for 10-12 minutes until the dumplings are cooked through and the 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.

Written by Dixya Bhattarai.

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