Mitarashi Dango is a traditional Japanese rice dumpling smothered in an irresistibly sweet soy glaze. The dumplings are skewered on a bamboo stick and enjoyed all year round. Make this street snack right in your own kitchen!
Gather all the ingredients. Joshinko and Shiratamako on the left and Dangoko on the right. Whichever you decide to use, the instructions below are the same.
Gather ingredients for the sweet soy glaze. Soak the skewers in water. You can start boiling a large pot of water on low heat (See Step 8)
To Make Dango (Rice Dumplings)
Combine Shiratamako and Joshinko in a bowl (or add just Dangoko in a bowl).
Stir in warm water (or cold water for Dangoko) a little bit at a time while mixing with chopsticks. Please note: it is possible that you may need less or more water depending on where you live. I live in a dry climate, so I may use more water than you.
The flours start to stick together and eventually it becomes clumps. Using your hands, combine into one ball.
Knead until the dough becomes smooth. The texture is like squeezing an "earlobe" (that’s how we describe the tenderness for this type of mochi in Japanese).
Make the dough into a ball. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.
Then divide each piece into 2 balls. You will have 16 equal-sized balls. I always like to measure mine. Each ball should be 20 grams. You may have some extra dough, but that’s okay.
Shape into a nice smooth round ball. If the dough is cracking or has some wrinkle, tap your finger in water and apply the small amount of water on the cracked area to smooth out. I have 16 equal-sized balls.
Once the water in the pot is boiling, gently drop in each dumpling into the pot with a continuous motion. We want to cook them all at once, but also keeping them in good shapes. Stir the balls occasionally so they don’t stick on the bottom of the pot.
Dumplings will stay on the bottom first but once they are cooked, they will float. Then cook an additional 1-2 minute.
Transfer the dumplings into iced water.
Once the dumplings are cooled, drain well and transfer to a tray (if you wet the tray, the dumplings won’t stick).
Skewer three pieces into a bamboo skewer. Continue the rest of the balls and set aside.
To Make Sweet Soy Glaze
Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan without turning on the heat.
Potato starch/cornstarch will become lumps once you add the heat to it, so mix all together first. Then turn on the heat and continue to whisk.
Keep whisking as the mixture can become thick suddenly.
When the sauce becomes thick, remove the saucepan from the heat and transfer the sauce to a container or bowl. If you are making this sauce ahead of time, remove it from the heat earlier while the consistency is still not too thick because the moisture will evaporate and thicken as it cools.
[Optional] If you have a kitchen torch, you can give them a little bit of char for taste. You can also grill over the direct heat (If you are going to place on a wire rack, dumplings tend to stick, so grease it). You can use a broiler to give a char or use a non-stick frying pan to pan fry the surface of dango.
Pour the sweet soy glaze on top and serve immediately.
Option 1: After you form the dough into round dumplings, you put uncooked dumplings in a single layer in an airtight container and freeze up to a month. When you use them, boil the frozen dango without defrosting.
Option 2: After boiling and cooling down, pat dry and pack into an airtight container without sticking to each other and freeze up to a month. When you use them, microwave or boil till they are warm.
Shiratamako and Joshinko: Shiratamako (白玉粉) is from glutinous Japanese short-grain rice (also known as sweet rice) and Joshinko (上新粉) is from regular short-grain Japanese rice. When you make dango with the only shiratamako, the texture tends to be too soft while dango made with the only Joshinko yields a very tough texture. Therefore, it's best to combine these two flours to make the right dango texture. I do a 50-50 ratio, but if you like elastic, bouncy, chewy texture, you can increase Shiratamako to 60%.To keep the Dango tender for a longer time: Adding sugar to the dango will help them stay softer. The recommended amount of sugar is 20% of flour’s weight (which is 40 grams). If you reduce the amount, it might not be as effective.