Every once in a while you want a treat. Sometimes sugary and sweet, other times not. This is one of those not times.
The fact that dango does contain sugar and is covered in a syrup doesn't necessarily mean it is going to be sweet. In fact, the subtle flavors in this dish is what really make it stand out. Seeing as this is my first time making dango, and also tasting, I was surprised by the taste.
Since this is mainly rice and soy sauce it has more of a savory taste to it with a hint of sweetness. The thing that might turn some people off is the texture. It has a bit of a slimy coating around it because of the cooking process. Not too much to ruin it but it's something I think I should bring up to you before you try it. The coating does help some with that some especially the kinako.
Set the pot to boil, we are are going to make some Dango!
Let's gather our ingredients:
1 1/4 cup Rice Flour
2 tablespoons Sugar
3/4 cup Water
2 1/2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon Mirin
1/2 cup Sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons Potato Starch
2 tablespoons Water
In a large bowl, combine the rice flour, sugar, and water. Once you put in the water it will not look like it will be enough. Trust me, it's fine. It will look like it will just crumble into many pieces, but it will come together. Once it has, then put it onto a clean surface and knead it like dough for just a little bit until it is smooth.
Roll the dough out like a snake as evenly as you can. Then chop it up to half inch pieces. You should be able to get 24 of them if done correctly. If not, oh well, you have bigger or smaller dango to eat. After the chopping, roll the pieces into balls with your hands.
Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Place the dango in gently and try not to scold yourself on the boiling water. Best thing to do is find a large spoon to set them in the water. Dropping them in is a bit dangerous. Again, trust me.
When the dango are done they will float to the top. Should only be about a couple of minutes. Take them immediately out and put them in some ice water to stop the cooking process. You can leave them in there or take them out while we do the sauce. It's your choice.
In a small sauce pot, add in your soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and keep the heat on medium. Let cook for 2 - 3 minutes. If it gets too bubbly, turn down the heat. We do not want the soy sauce to burn. That will not make a tasty sauce.
Mix the potato starch and water in a separate cup. Once it's combined, stir it into the sauce. This will thicken the sauce up so it will coat the dango nicely. Reduce the heat and keep stirring until you have a syrup like texture.
Use the bamboo skewers to put three dango on. If you have any way to grill them, now would be the time to do so. Grill them till you get some grill marks on them. This will make them even more tasty. Then all that is left is to sauce it up! Pour on loads of sauce to coat them evenly. You can also use the kinako and roll the dango in it for a whole new flavor experience!
You don't need a festival to enjoy these chewy treats. If you are a fan of mochi at all and haven't tried dango yet, you are seriously missing out. Just take the mochi taste you love and spike it with some sugar and sauce. It's amazing how easy these are to make. Plus they make a lot!
Eat and enjoy, dozo!