Are you familiar with the savory, chewy skewered dumplings called Mitarashi Dango? Mitarashi Dango are a variety ofwagashi, or traditional Japanese confection. They have a similar chewy texture to mochi. However, they are actually made from a combination of different flours instead of steamed rice. They typically consist of round dumpling balls, served in sets of 3 to 5 per skewer. They are coated in a savory-sweet soy sauce glaze with an enticing and light umami flavor profile. While you can roll the dumpling dough into small balls (around the size of a nickel), in this recipe we suggest cutting heart-shaped dumplings out of the dough with a cookie cutter as a kawaii alternative.
Mitarashi Dango achieve their desirable chewy texture by blending different rice flours together to make their dough. This recipe uses a blend ofmochiko andjoshinko flours mixed with firm silken tofu, butshiratamako is also a common flour ingredient used to achieve the signature Mitarashi Dango texture. Mochiko is flour made from cooked, glutinous sweet rice. Joshinko is a flour derived from nonglutinous, short-grain rice.
Mitarashi Dango originated in Kyoto, and the irresistible treats were originally intended as an offering for the gods. A “mitarashi” is a font of purifying water at the entrance of a shrine, and the dango balls were meant to resemble the mitarashi bubbles. These tastywagashi eventually became popular items with food vendors throughout the city. Now you can find them for sale throughout Japan, even in convenience stores!
For the Dango:
- ¼ cup joshinko rice flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 5 cups water, for boiling
For the Mitarashi Sauce:
- 2 ½ tablespoonsKikkoman soy sauce from Bokksu Grocery
- 1 tablespoonmirin from Bokksu Grocery
- 1 tablespoonpotato starch from Bokksu Groceryor cornstarch
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- Mash tofu, mochiko, and joshinko together until a sticky dough forms.
- Continue to knead with your hands and add sugar. Mix until well incorporated.
- Pat the dango dough out until it is about 1” thick. Then, cut small heart shaped cookie cutter shapes. Alternatively, roll the dough into balls that are around the size of a nickel.
- Lower the dumplings into boiling water with a fine mesh sieve. Boil for 6 minutes.
- Remove the dumplings and lower them into an ice bath to halt the cooking process.
- While the dumplings are cooling, make the mitarashi sauce. In a medium saucepan, heat sugar, water, soy sauce, and mirin until bubbles begin to form.
- Lower the heat to low heat and add the potato starch, stirring constantly with a whisk.
- Once the mixture begins to thicken and has the consistency of honey, take the pan off of the heat.
- Pierce two dango hearts or balls with small bamboo skewers, or three balls on longer skewers.
- Pour mitarashi sauce onto the dango dumplings so that they are fully coated.
By Hadley Sui