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Chochoyotes (Masa Dumplings)

December 28, 2014

These dumplings will add a tasty, rustic, Mexican flair to your soup or stew.   I’ve been reading that there are many regional variations, mostly in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico.  Achiote, onions,  cheese, jalapeno or cilantro are just a few possibilities.   It seems they are used in many types of soups and I myself have found that because of  their versatility they can compliment soups not related to Mexican cuisine.

This recipe uses dried masa harina which can be found in the baking aisle in many supermarkets nowadays.  If you can get your hands on fresh masa, so much the better, though some slight adjustments to the recipe will have to be made.  Lard is a traditional ingredient used in chochoyotes, but I’m replacing it with vegetable shortening here.  Olive oil, I understand,  can also be used as a substitute.  This easy 4 ingredient recipe below is the most basic version.


For about 16 to 20 dumplings

1 cup masa harina

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

3/4 cup warm water


For 1 batch I added 1/4 cup loosely packed chopped cilantro, for a second batch I added 1 teaspoon each of ground toasted chipotle pepper and ground toasted Ancho pepper.  You can make your own interpretations though.  Let me know if you make some!



Mix the masa harina and salt together. Include optional ingredients if using. Add the vegetable shortening and incorporate it until well dispersed.  Add all the water except a couple of tablespoons or so and incorporate well.  Let the dough rest for about 15 minutes.  This will allow the water to be full absorbed. The dough will be pliable,  not too dry and not too moist.  Add a little more water if necessary. Form a portion into about a 1 inch ball.  With your index finger, make a dimple or indentation.  This shape helps the dumplings cook evenly.  Continue with the rest of masa.  Gently add them to your slow simmering soup which has reached or very nearly reached the end of cooking.  As you place them in the pot, try to keep them separate so that they do not stick together.  Continue on a simmer for about 10-12 minutes. The dumplings should turn out soft but with a nice substantial bite, something like a flour dumpling.



The dumpling can even hold a little bit of the soup.


This “vegetable stew with no name” was made with ingredients I had on hand at the time.  Garbanzos (chickpeas), gandules (pigeon peas), eggplant, tomatoes, carrots, celery, onions, garlic,  thyme, oregano,  a bay leaf and vegetable stock melded nicely for a simple but hearty and tasty meal.  Adding the chochoyotes gave it a welcomed serious Mexican twist.  I then splashed a bit of bottled hot sauce for a little extra kick.  Great anytime of year but very nice for those cold rainy winter days.  I also made a puree of baby lima bean soup with chochoyotes which worked out well.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. December 28, 2014 3:46 pm

    Wow man very cool! I did not know about these, really great to see! Hope your holidays have been warm and wonderful

    • December 28, 2014 3:50 pm

      Thanks Robert! They are not too well known around here. I hope all is going well for you for the holidays!

  2. December 28, 2014 4:36 pm

    What a great versatile recipe Gerard!
    Happy new year :).

  3. December 29, 2014 5:14 pm

    These are adorable! I will have to try them!

    • December 30, 2014 2:27 am

      Thank you Marcella! Please let me know how they go. I hope you have a very Happy New Year and a peaceful 2015.

  4. December 29, 2014 8:03 pm

    They look so delicious, Gerard! They’re on my list for 2015 🙂

  5. elle permalink
    December 30, 2014 8:21 pm

    These look so neat! And I love how they’re shaped like little bowls 😛
    I actually just picked up some fresh cilantro, so I would love to give this a go!

    • December 30, 2014 10:49 pm

      Thank you Elle! They really are easy to make. I’m curious what soup or stew you add them to!

  6. Linda Creation permalink
    January 14, 2015 9:46 am


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