Basically, Iskus momo has been concocted to fulfil the need of the vegetarian population. Any momo fanatics will disagree to the fact that there is something called vegetable Momo, howsoever their sentiments are truly respected. There can be many different vegetable fillings, the most common being cabbage, but my personal favourite is the one made with chayote squash, locally known as “Iskus”. I just simply love the way it melts in your mouth and it almost tastes like you are having melted fat. Here, I am sharing with you the vegetable filling that is popular in the hilly areas and I hope it tingles your taste buds.
5-6 Chayote Squash ( about 500 gms) grated
1 large Carrot, grated (optional)
3-4 medium onions, finely chopped
150 gms ginger, finely chopped
200 gms Coriander leaves, chopped
1/2 to 3/4 Cup oil (Odourless)
Salt as required
Wash and grate the chayote squash (remove the seed) along with the carrot.
Add salt to it and leave for 30minutes. Drain excess water.
After about half an hour give the veggies a good squeeze and keep it aside.
To this, add the sliced onions, ginger and coriander leaves and mix it well.
Now heat the refined oil to smoking point and pour it over the mix thoroughly with your hands. (The oil is to keep it moist and to retain the taste as well)
Try not to skip the salting and squeezing step. If this step goes amiss, it may result in dough break.
** After mixing all the fillings and oil, taste the mixture before proceeding to assemble it. You may add salt at this stage, depending on your taste.
Making the dough
*Take 1 cup all-purpose flour, ¼ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon refined oil in a bowl. Mix well with a spoon.
*Add 2 to 3 tablespoon water in parts and begin to knead to a firm dough. Do not make the dough soft as it becomes difficult to shape the dumplings. If required you can add 1 to 2 tablespoons more water.
*Cover the dough with a moist napkin or kitchen towel. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
*Divide the dough into two parts. Make a 7 to 8 inches log from each part, cut the log into equal parts. Shape into a ball of each dough piece and keep them covered with a moist napkin.
*Take each dough ball and on a lightly dusted board. Roll each dough ball into a thin circle of about 3 to 4 inches in diameter. Keep the edges thin and the centre thick.
*Apply water with your fingertips or with a small pastry brush on the circumference. This is an optional step.
Place 2 to 3 teaspoons of vegetable stuffing in the centre.
*Lift one side of the edge and start pleating.
Dough: The dough has to be firm and tight. Do not add more water and make the dough soft. A softer dough won’t be easy to shape.
*Prepare all momos this way and keep them covered under a moist napkin until you are ready to steam them.
Grease a steamer pan with some refined oil.
*Arrange them in the pan, keeping space between them.
*Steam them in an electric cooker or a steamer pan. You can also use idli pan or pressure cooker to steam. Add 4 cups water in the pot or pan while steaming.
*Cover and steam for 8 to 10 minutes till the outer dough becomes transparent. Don’t overcook as the outer dough may turn dense and chewy. The steaming time may vary upon the thickness of momos’ cover.
*When you touch the momo the dough should not feel sticky. This means they are ready and the momos will have a transparent look.
*Steaming hot veg momos tastes good when served with churpee chutney or dallae chutney. Despite its longing throughout the year, momo's become a staple diet during cold winter months and soups complement it very well.
Ishita Rai Dewan
For Ishita, food has always been an extensive affair, and this started early on at her home. It’s her family's favourite subject. Her father was a chef and she was exposed to a cooking-learning environment right since her childhood days from her parents as well as her grandparents. (You must definitely try her grandpa's Chicken Curry Rice!). Her torrid love affair with cooking and baking started early on at the age of four and has continued ever since.
After graduating as a nutritionist from J.D. Birla Institute, Kolkata and bypassing the cliché campus recruitment path, she started her journey as an entrepreneur. Food delivery and takeaway enterprise called ISHEE’Z KITCHEN was set up in 2014, which operated for four years.
Ishee'z Kitchen was a one-woman army kitchen which later went on to become one of Kolkata’s Favourite Soul Food Kitchen. Her specialities include the melt in the mouth Pork Chop Hawaii, a variety of homemade sausages and her customisable one-pot meals. Following which, she was appointed as the Assistant General Manager - Operations & Business Development for the Fresh Food Category comprising of Deli Café, Select & The Tuck Shop at Shell Technology Centre, Bengaluru from late 2018.
She returned home to Kalimpong in 2020 to continue and expand her venture. In the month of August 2020 she won the title of Lockdown MasterChef Competition organised by Rockvale Management College, Kalimpong. Follow her Instagram : ISHEE’Z KITCHEN Facebook : ISHEE’Z KITCHEN
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