Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mitarashi Dango

P1150097a

More than 10 years ago, a Japanese neighbour taught me how to make dango with red beans topping. It wasn't until I ate the BBQed sweet soy sauce dango outside the Hase Temple in Kamakura, Japan that I got hooked on these delicious snacks skewered on a bamboo stick and grilled.

Dango (pronounced "dung-go") are little balls of glutinous rice, much like mochi and Chinese tangyuen. Dango is easy to make but the sweet soy sauce topping is a different matter. I have tried various recipes from Google, but none turned out right until the other night, my friend Tina (who's married to a Japanese and has come back last week to live in KK because, according to her husband, "Tokyo is nice but KK is the best!") pointed out that the sauce should be thickened not by starch, but by sugar. But...but...but all the recipes said to used starch...

Anyway, I've tested Tina's suggestion and she is right because without the starch the sauce tastes great and looks shinier and clearer. Tina also thinks that only Japanese glutinous rice flour makes good dango, so don't expect this to taste exactly like those in Japan. In Japan, dango are usually sold outside temples and are always sold grilled. If you want a simple snack, do make some mitarashi dango.

Mitarashi Dango

2 cups glutinous rice flour
3/4 to 1 cup boiling water
1 T fine sugar (optional)

1. Put flour and sugar into a bowl, pour the hot water in and stir with a pair of chopsticks till water is all absorbed. Knead with your iron hands. Add 1 0r 2 tablespoons of flour if the dough is too soft, or some water (doesn't have to be boiling) if too crumbly. It should be soft yet firm enough to hold its shape, like playdough.

2. Roll into 1 " balls and drop into a pot of boiling water.(Do not make balls too big or you'll gag because it is made of sticky rice after all.) After 2 to 3 minutes, scoop balls out when they float to the surface. Let them cool.

3. Skewer balls 3 to a stick (or leave unskewered and serve with toothpicks) and drizzle the sweet soy sauce over.

Sweet Soy Sauce

2 T Kikkoman sauce
2 T mirin
3 T fine sugar
2 to 3 t dashi granules
1/2 cup water

Boil above ingredients (you can add more sugar or soy sauce, to your preference) over medium fire till almost thick (sauce will thicken further on cooling). Cool. I prefer to make this ahead and chill it because it'll become thick and sticky.

41 comments:

Ronny said...

madam.

does T mean tablespoon
and t mean teaspoon?

i do not want to get the measurements wrong.

thank you.

Terri @ hungerhunger said...

spot on, clever boy!

Hong Yi said...

lol

Terri @ hungerhunger said...

ron:tell me how ur dango turned out.

Denise said...

Hey why you change ur pic = p Anyways, Both pic make me drool =p Luckily We are not neighbour =p Otherwise, I m getting rounder like Dango =p

Terri @ hungerhunger said...

denise:good thing u asked!Yoko taught me to make flat dangos. i guess it cooks faster. but wey said d ones we ate in Japan were real round so i made a second batch n changed my pic...n u know what, round is better than flat because there's more dough so d dango doesn't taste so salty.

Terri @ hungerhunger said...

n most guys like their girls rounder than flatter, so there denise!

Terri @ hungerhunger said...

n most guys like their girls rounder than flatter, so there denise!

Denise said...

WOops! I hope your philosophy works! HAhA!

Carly said...

Thanks for the recipe, Miss. ^^
I've been looking for ages for a mitarashi dango recipe, but none really worked out alright. Thanks again! ^^

Kendall said...

Yikes, i cant get my sauce to thicken even though after a long boil. It basically just remain watery. im sure i got the proportion right. is it the mirin that i bought suppose to be sticky? Thanks~~

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

carly, kendall: just saw ur comments. u r welcome, n i hope ur dango r perfect by now. kendall, it takes quite a while to boil the sauce down to a nearly caramelised state so do be patient. if u thicken with cornstrch like i used to, the sauce is super yukky!

jess said...

I love your site. it's really nice.
I was wondering though.. how come I can't get the mixture for the dango to thicken? When I try to knead it with my hands it goes all over the place. D:

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

jess: hi! welcome:) u have to use boiling water to make the dough. since tt would be impossible to knead, u can use a pair of chopsticks or fork to mix it first, then use ur hands to knead. the cooked dough will be sticky. tell me again if it doesn't work. i'll come over personally to teach--unless u don't live in KK.

Sol said...

Hey, i just need some help with this, I've been toying with the idea of trying and making something like this for my friends (who, like me, like japanese culture) but, unfortunately, i'll have a hard time obtaining dashi granules in my town/country. So, is there anything that can replace them, or just another sauce, or should i just forget about the sauce and/or whole stuff and just make Chi Chi Dango Mochi for which i can obtain all the ingredients? Thank you in advance :)

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

sol: no dashi granules?! where do u live? this sauce will be very different but is the way my Jap neighbor prepared dango for me: cook red beans in water until very soft and thick, add sugar to taste and use this as a sauce over the dango. good luck!

Gara3987 said...

That is awesome, I have made Mitarashi dango before using the starch and everything with the sauce. Though I never tried boiling the Mochi balls, I would steam them which I suppose would have the same effect. I also would grill it either before I put the sauce on or right after which I think makes it have a better consistency and texture. Thanks for the recipe! this one is a keeper.

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

gara: grilling them would be nice, tt's how they did it in Japan.

miyu said...

konnichiwa terri-san!

ano, ne..

..can i replace these ingredients:
*Kikkoman sauce to ordinary soy sauce
*mirin to gin


...and this dashi granules, is this monosodium glutamate?

Anonymous said...

i hope this works i watch naruto and wanted to try it

Anonymous said...

where can you get mirin and dashi grandules in alabama?

terri@adailyobsession said...

miyu: i'm sorry i didn't see ur comment. u can replace kikkoman sauce with a good soy sauce, mirin with sake but dashi can't be replaced by monosodium glutamate. dashi is stock granules made from tuna concentrate n i suspect there's some monosodium glutamate but it has a smoky fish flavor tt's unique n distinct to Jap cuisine.

anon: oh dear. can anyone answer this? how about a good asian grocery store?

Kristina ;] said...

hello, i just wondered: can i replace the sauce? its kinda hard to find the ingredients in Lithuania (where i live). can i try hot chololate? or caramel? would it "harm" the dango? or maybe ill can put cacao evaporated milk?

Kristina ;] said...

i meant condensed milk xD

Anonymous said...

omgosh! i have tried EVERY dango recipe that i could find then i found yours. I FINALLY succeeded!! =D lol i went to japan over the summer and fell i n love with dango so ive been looking for a good recipe and your is the one that tastes EXACTLY the same ^_^ thank you!

Jen said...

Hi! I was just wondering if you could replace the mirin with something non-alchoholic, because I would like to make Dango for my children! Thanks

terri@adailyobsession said...

jen: mirin is not replaceble in this recipe but i suppose u can omit it.i wouldn't worry about kids eating a bit of alcohol-flavored food. if they are old enough to eat dango, which can be a choking hazard to little ones, they are old enough to have a bit of alcohol in their food bc it's more of a flavoring n also the alcohol evaporates some leaving the flavor behind.

Foodies Queen said...

Nice! ^.^

Benjamin said...

I have tried four different mitarashi dango recipes, all of which have failed. I have high hopes for this one, though. I'll let you know later in the week how it goes! Thanks for the recipe and for the amazing website. I'll be trying the Ichigo Daifuku, Baos and Flora's Cha Fa Buns next :D

terri@adailyobsession said...

oh dear. maybe u shd try flora's chi fa buns first. tt's a no fail.

Sarah said...

I have a question: you mentioned in the introduction about it usually being grilled - but in this recipe, do you have to grill it? Because it doesn't say, so I'm assuming you don't.
Does it actually make a difference - grilling it or not with this recipe here? I'm only 15 - but learning to get into the kitchen - so trying out small interesting things first, and not so good with cooking techniques, so yea. Thanks :D

terri@adailyobsession said...

hi sarah, u r only 15! tt's great, i love it when young ppl get busy in the kitchen

oh grilled dango is ver much better bc the rice dough is toasted n the flavor is yum. i didn't have an open grill then so i didn't bother

Kath said...

ohh I love this site!!
but i have a question..
so, i bought some glutinous rice flour and made some ichigo daifuku..but i had some left over.. (just a little under a cup)
I'm planning on making this to finish off the flour but what i'm wondering is how much water and sugar do I put in when I have around 1 cup of flour? 1/2 a cup of water?? and in the sauce, does the mirin make it thick? would other wines work?
thanks and keep it up! :)

Anonymous but Cortney (Darn) said...

Would these still taste good if I as forced to omit the mirin and dashi granules?

I don't really have access to either of them....

徵信社 said...

so cute!I love it! Very creative!That's actually really cool.
謝謝你的文章分享,請你有空到我

參觀,Thanks

echobunny said...

Can't wait to try this one out! Thanks! :D

Brusinka said...

Thank you so much for this recipe.
I´m not sure I made it right, but it tasted great! :)

Izzy said...

Does it have to be glutonious?

Anonymous said...

I Love Dangos!!!!

Jessica said...

help! my dough turned out so sticky i couldnt even handle it and 90% of it had to be washed off my hands! adding flour didnt help and adding water didnt help... what am i doing wrong?

Anonymous said...

DAH-NGO
Not DUNG-GO
Dung?

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