Thursday, April 18, 2013

Attempting Something Completely New: Masa Dumplings

Enchilada "stew", with masa dumplings under that cheese.
I love masa, it's one of my favorite things about Mexican food.  If I get a choice, I want tamales, hurraches, corn tortillas, etc.  When I found a recipe for masa dumplings, I thought they would be a great experiment that might quench my desire for a masa food product.  I had never heard of masa dumplings before, apparently they're called chochoyotes.


Cate's World Kitchen Smoky Black Beans with Spinach and Masa Dumplings

I was only making the dumplings part and skipped the rest of the recipe since I had already come up with the rest of the dish.  I put a couple cans of enchilada sauce, a package of chicken thighs, and some frozen veggies in the slow cooker and the dumplings were going to go with it. 

I selected this recipe because it was based on a recipe from Rick Bayless, whom I trust for Mexican cooking.  The only change I made was to add a sprinkle of salt since I was going to boil them in plain water rather than cook them in the enchilada "stew" concoction I had come up with.  I figured this was going to be more plain tasting, but at least I wasn't risking the whole meal if it didn't work out. 
Two balls of masa dough.


  • 1 cup dried corn masa
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp hot water


Start up a pot of water to boil to cook your dumplings in.

Mix the dry ingredients and then add the water.  The dough should be like Play-doh.  I shaped them in the palm of my hand where they were rounded against my palm but flat on the top.  They were pretty small, but the smaller they are, the quicker they'll cook.

Drop them into the simmering water and wait until they float, that's how you know they're done.  Scoop them out with something that will let you drain off the water, I use a pasta fork. 
Shaping the dumplings


Blurry, cooked dumplings
Easy, but disappointing.  

They weren't tricky to make, no special tips or steps, definitely straightforward, which is good.  And the texture was nice, not mushy or slimy, but the flavor wasn't very good.  I don't know how to describe it, maybe they tasted... raw?  But they were fully cooked.  Husband Jeff said they were good, but I think he was being nice.  Sonny D didn't eat any at all, as usual he focused on the chicken in his bowl.

Mixed in with our enchilada chicken
Does anybody know what I did wrong?  Maybe I needed a different masa?  I used Maseca brand, which is the one everybody talks about in Mexican recipes using masa.  Maybe I needed to let it hydrate longer?  Knead it more?  Add lard?  That was one thing my inspiration recipe didn't have, but some others did. 

Luckily the rest of the recipe was tasty, so it wasn't a complete loss.  I can't bear to throw food away unless it's completely horrible, so I divided up the leftover dumplings and "stew" into two containers and Husband Jeff and I will eat them for lunch.

Wanna Chat?

I turned off the 'leave a comment' feature, so if you want to share what you're thinking about this or anything else, drop me an email at jhk1013 (at) It's so much more cozy than a comment, plus we can have a real conversation!