Mitarashi dango are chewy, fluffy rice dumplings served on skewers and brushed with a sweet and savory soy glaze. It’s a popular Japanese snack for all seasons that everyone, from children to adults, love eating!

mitarashi dango

What is Mitarashi Dango?

Mitarashi dango (みたらし団子), sometimes called mitarashi kushi dango, are Japanese rice dumplings that have been skewered and grilled over charcoal, until slightly charred, and coated with a sweet soy sauce glaze. It’s a popular Japanese snack that can be found in convenience stores, supermarkets, yatais (street vendors), in the food court section of department stores, specialty stores, and on the menu of some traditional Japanese restaurants.

The taste of mitarashi dango is something special and very Japanese – chewy and sweet rice dumplings glazed with a sweet soy sauce glaze that’s infused with smoky and umami flavors.

It’s one of my favorite traditional Japanese snacks, one that alway takes me back to my childhood and the summers I spend in southern Japan.

best flour to make dango

Best Flour to Make Dango

Shiratamako (白玉粉)

Shiratamako rice flour is made from mochigome which is a type of Japanese glutinous rice that has a mild sweet taste. The grains are big and thick and they look quite coarse. But when mixed with water, shiratamako flour becomes extremely smooth and stretchy, which is why it’s used to make dango.

Mochiko (もちこ)

Mochiko rice flour is also a type of glutinous rice flour, very similar to shiratamako, and has a sweet rice flavor.  The main difference between the two is in the size of the grains – while shiratmako grains are coarse and thick, mochiko grains are much more fine.

Joshinko (和菓子)

Joshinko rice flour is made from high quality white rice. It’s extremely fine, almost like talcum powder, and tastes like premium Japanese rice. It also has a very stretchy texture once it’s mixed with water, making it an excellent choice for unbaked sweets.

how to make dango

Ingredients for Mitarashi Dango

  • Rice flour: I’m using a mix of shiratamako flour and joshinko flour for this recipe but feel free to use your own recipe for dango if you already have one.
  • Silken tofu: Beside having a high water content, silken tofu adds smoothness and a slight sweetness to the dango balls.
  • Water:  Water is mixed with rice flour and silken tofu to create a dough that will be used to make the dumplings.
  • Sweet glaze: A mix of soy sauce, mirin, sugar, potato starch, and water.

Kitchen Tools Needed

  • Mixing bowl to make the dough
  • Bamboo skewers
  • Medium pot to boil the dumplings
  • Strainer
  • Small pot to make the mitarashi sauce
  • Whisk
  • Spoon or basting brush for the mitarashi sauce
how to boil dango

How to Make Mitarashi Dango

  1. Gather all of your kitchen tools and ingredients.
  2. Fill a medium size pot with water and bring it to a boil.
  3. Meanwhile, add both flour and the silken tofu to a bowl, and mix well.
  4. Slowly add the water and mix using your hands until a dough forms, and shape into a ball.
  5. Scoop about 1 tablespoon of the dough and roll it between your palms to shape into a ball. Set the ball on a plate and repeat this step until all the dough has been used.
  6. Fill a bowl with cold water and place it close to the boiling pot of water.
  7. Add the dango balls to the boiling water, one by one, and stir occasionally to prevent them from sticking together.
  8. Keep boiling the dumplings until they come floating to the surface.
  9. Boil for 1 more minute and transfer them to the bowl of cold water by scooping them up with a small strainer. Alternatively, you can drain them and immediately drop them in cold water.
  10. Place the dumplings on a paper towel and gently pat them dry.
  11. Add 3 to 4 dango per skewer and add them to a non-stick skillet over medium high heat.
  12. Char each sides until they are golden brown and transfer the skewers to a plate.
  13. Make the mitarashi glaze by whisking the ingredients in a pot and turning the heat to medium low.
  14. Keep whisking until the sauce bubbles and thickens.
  15. Turn the heat off and pour some of the glaze over the dango skewers. Serve.
charred grilled dango

How Store Mitarashi Dango

If you are planning to save a couple of skewers for later (good luck with that, they disappear within the first 15 minutes in my house), I recommend keeping the glaze and dango skewers separate.

You can leave the skewers on a plate and cover them with plastic wrap, or transfer them to a storage container, and refrigerate. As long as the dumplings aren’t exposed to too much air, they should hold well. Transfer the sauce to a container with a lid and refrigerate.

Before eating, microwave the dango skewers for 15-20 seconds and warm up the sauce.

How Long Does it Keep?

Mitarashi dango can be enjoyed for up to two days if refrigerated. If left on the counter, it’s best to eat it on the same day you make it.

mitarashi dango recipe

Other Popular Traditional Japanese Snacks

While Japan is known for its bowls of noodles and raw fish dishes, they also excel at making delicious snacks.

What I particularly enjoy about them is that they are never too sweet and are often paired with ingredients you would never think of combining. They are just the right size and have the perfect amount of sweetness which keeps me going back for more. Some of my favorites are:

dango with sweet soy sauce glaze dango skewer - mitarashi dango

Did you like this Mitarashi Dango Recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!

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Mitarashi Dango

mitarashi dango

Mitarashi dango are chewy, fluffy rice dumplings served on skewers and brushed with a sweet and savory soy glaze. 

  • Author: Caroline Phelps
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4-5 skewers 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Boiling
  • Cuisine: Japanese
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

Scale

Mitarashi sweet glaze

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoon mirin
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon potato starch or cornstarch
  • ⅓ cup cold water

Instructions

  1. Bring a medium or large pot of water to boil.
  2. Meanwhile, add the shiratamako flour, joshinko flour and silken tofu to a bowl. Mix well and slowly add the water. Use your hands to mix the ingredients until they turn into a dough and shape into a ball.
  3. Scoop about 1 tablespoon of the dough and shape into a ball by rolling it between the palms of your hands. Set aside and repeat this step until all the dough has been used. 
  4. Fill a bowl with cold water and ice and set aside.
  5. When the water is boiling, add one dango ball at a time until they are all in the pot. Stir occasionally so they don’t stick to the bottom or together. 
  6. When the dango balls start floating, boil for an additional 1 minute and transfer them to the bowl of ice water. You can turn off the heat and get rid of the boiling water at this point. 
  7. Take the dango balls out of the water and transfer them to a paper towel to let them dry.
  8. Make skewers of three or four dango – there should be enough for 4-5 skewers. 
  9. Use a large non-stick skillet over medium low heat and add the dango balls. Cook until there is a slight char on them. Turn the heat off and transfer the skewers to a plate.
  10. To make the mitarashi sweet glaze, put all the ingredients in a pot and whisk until the potato starch has dissolved. 
  11. Turn the heat to medium and stir constantly until the liquid starts to bubble and thicken. 
  12. When the glaze has thickened, turn the heat off and transfer it to a bowl. Pour the glaze over the dango skewers and serve immediately.

Notes

To Store: You can leave the skewers on a plate and cover them with plastic wrap, or transfer them to a storage container, and refrigerate. Transfer the sauce to a container with a lid and refrigerate.

Before eating, microwave the dango skewers for 15-20 seconds and warm up the sauce.

Mitarashi dango will keep refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Keywords: yatai, grilled dango, dango with sweet soy sauce glaze, izakaya food, snack, dessert

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