Dango is a tasty street food in Japan. Made from soft, yet springy ball-shaped rice dumplings on a skewer, dango comes in a couple of different common varieties. Matcha flavored, topped with a sweet and savory soy sauce glaze, smothered with chunky red bean paste, and plain white are all favorites of this sweet treat. We carry a bunch of different varieties in our dessert section right here at Maido! However, if you're feeling adventurous, you can try making dango yourself. It's not too hard, requiring only a small amount of patience, and the ability to roll dough into a ball. To make our own dango, we borrowed this recipe from Just One Cookbook.
You'll notice that the components for the dumplings themselves are measured by weight rather than volume. This is mostly to ensure accuracy in measuring out the ratios of ingredients. Measuring in terms of weight allows for more precision, and even slight variances in the ratios of the different flours in this recipe will have an outcome on the texture of the dango. If you don't have a kitchen scale, you can use a cup measure, but make sure to scoop the flour into the cup with a spoon as this helps to ensure a consistent density. 100g/3.5 oz converts to roughly a half-cup in volume if the rice flour is measured using this method.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
100g (3.5oz) Joshinko rice flour *
100g (3.5oz) Shiratamako rice flour *
150-160ml (⅔ cup) warm water
4-5 bamboo skewers
Sweet Soy Sauce Glaze
4 Tbsp sugar
150 ml water (roughly ⅔ cup)
Soak the bamboo skewers in water and set aside.
Combine joshinko and shiratamako together in a large bowl.
Stir in warm water a small amount at a time until it begins to clump together.
Once the moisture has been absorbed and the rice flour is clumping, use your hands to knead it until it is a smooth dough. Then, press the dough together into a ball.
Divide the dough in halves until you have 16 equally sized pieces and roll the pieces into balls.
Boil water in a medium sized saucepan. Once the water is at a full boil, stir in the rice balls while keeping the water moving continuously. This will prevent the rice balls from sticking to the bottom of the pot and allow them to keep their shape.
The rice balls will stay close to the bottom of the pot at first, but will eventually rise to the top. Once the rice balls have started to float, allow them to cook for 1-2 minutes. After, transfer the rice balls into iced water and allow them to cool.
After the rice balls have cooled, drain them thoroughly, and place them on a slightly wet tray.
Skewer the rice balls on the bamboo skewers, 3 to 4 at a time and set aside.
From here, you can eat them plain, or top them with red bean paste, kinako or sweet and savory soy sauce glaze.
For the glaze, combine all of the mentioned ingredients into a saucepan without turning on the heat.
The starch will clump upon contact with the liquid, so take some time to whisk the mixture until it is smooth.
Turn on the heat and continue to whisk until the glaze begins to thicken and acquires a texture similar to barbecue sauce.
Transfer the sauce from a pan to a bowl to cool. Pour over cooked dango as desired.
*The exact type of rice flour is actually very important for this recipe. These two types will yield a dumpling with the appropriate chewy but firm texture. You DO NOT, want to use mochiko. This rice flour is meant for mochi dumplings and will be too chewy and sticky for dango.
[Updated: April, 2021]