Soft, sweet and chewy heart shaped dango, inspired by the Japanese traditional tri-coloured hanami dango. These are a fun treat perfect for this Valentine's day!
What is dango?
Hanami dango (aka sanshoku dango) are basically tri-coloured sweetened glutinous rice balls on a stick! They are chewy, sweet and so fun to eat.
Hanami means flower viewing. These are called hanami dango as they are traditionally enjoyed while watching the cherry blossoms bloom in Spring. I'm sure everyone is aware of Japan's beautiful spring blossoms and these are just one of the treats enjoyed during that time. These are of course enjoyed year round too!
Ingredients needed to make Dango
These are so easy to make and only a couple of ingredients are needed.
Glutinous rice flour
This is the most important ingredient! There are a few different varieties that can be used the three being regular glutinous rice flour, mochiko and shiratamako. These three are very similar and will produce equally delicious dango, but can change the texture of the mochi.
If you can find shiratamako that's what will provide the best bouncy and elastic texture. Shiratamako is the kind of glutinous rice flour traditionally used to make wagashi (Japanese sweets) and the way it is processed creates the best dango.
Not only does it give a better texture, it's creates a dough that is smoother and easier to work with. If you have made mochi before you would know that they tend to firm up a little after they have cooled. However shiratamako will retain its soft bouncy texture!
Mochiko is similar to shiratamako as it it made from Japanese short-grained sweet glutinous rice, but it is finely milled. I find it is very similar to regular glutinous rice flour in texture, but with a little more bounce.
Find what is available and work with it, you'll still create a delicious treat!
The best characteristic of dango is it's chewy texture. Using tofu enhances that bounce and gives the dango more texture.
Make sure to use silken tofu as it will create a smooth dough.
Although plain dango is delicious I thought it would be nice to add a little bit of flavour! If you don't have any strawberry or raspberry powder available it's okay to just leave it out. I used freeze-dried fruits from the supermarket, crushed them and added it to the dough.
Tips on creating the perfect dango
Although I have given exact measurements when making any kind of dough it's all about how it feels. The flour will absorb different amounts of water depending on the humidity, the type of flour, the temperature, etc.
Usually the ratio is 9:10 water to flour, however I found that regular glutinous rice flour (what I used) absorbs more water and needed a little more flour. Aim for a texture that is soft, but can hold the shape you are creating. Add more flour or water as needed.
Cooking dango is so easy, simply place them in boiling water. Once they float to the surface they are done. Simply scoop them out and place them in a bowl of cold water.
These are a delicious treat, but they should be enjoyed fresh. Eat them as soon as possible!
Let's Get Cooking!
Now that you have all the tips let's make some dango! Hanami dango was always so cute to me, and I thought what a better way to up the cuteness than some heart shapes. These would be perfect to bring on a picnic, as a little snack or wrapped up as a gift. Who says Valentine's Day is all about chocolate!
If you liked this recipe make sure to leave me a comment and rating below. Tag me on instagram @catherine.justdessertsau and hashtag #cattycakes if you make this! Can't wait to see some super cute dango!Print
Soft, sweet and chewy heart shaped dango, inspired by the traditional tri-coloured hanami dango. These are a fun treat perfect for this Valentine's day!
Adapted from Okonomii Kitchen
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- 100 g Silken tofu (3.5oz)
- 90 g Glutinous rice flour (¾ cup)
- 50 g White sugar (¼ cup)
- 3 tsp Raspberry/strawberry powder
- Red food colouring
- In a medium sized bowl knead the tofu, glutinous rice flour and sugar together until smooth
- Portion into three equal balls
- In one portion add 1 teaspoon of strawberry/raspberry powder and a touch of food colouring, knead until a light shade of pink
- In another portion add 2 teaspoon of strawberry/raspberry powder and a little more food colouring, knead until red
- Divide each of the portions into 6 small balls and shape them into small heart shapes
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, drop the hearts into the water, stirring lightly to prevent them from sticking to the bottom
- Continue boiling until the hearts rise to the surface of the water
- Strain and place in a bowl of cold water
- Arrange the hearts from darkest to lightest on a bamboo skewer
- Enjoy! You can sprinkle on some crushed freeze-dried fruit for decoration. They taste best when they are freshly made.