Mitarashi Dango みたらし団子 | Family Cuisine

Dango sauce is a sweet and tangy dipping sauce that is used for making dango, an Asian ball-shaped confection.

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How to make dango sauce

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!

Mitarashi Dango on a blue plate.

Reading: how to make dango sauce

Mitarashi Dango (みたらし団子) is a type of dango, sweet rice dumplings, skewered onto a bamboo stick. Typically, there are three to five dumplings (traditionally five) on a skewer and covered with a sweet soy sauce glaze.

What I like about Mitarashi Dango are its contrasting textures and flavors. The chewy dumplings are mildly sweet and they get a hint of char from grilling. When we brush over the glaze, each bite is gooey, savory and satisfying without being overly sweet. They make a fun, delicious snack to go with a hot cup of green tea.

Mitarashi Dango on a blue plate.

Origin of Mitarashi Dango

Mitarashi Dango was originated from the Kamo Mitarashi Tea House in Kyoto. The dango was thought to be made as an offering for gods and the name was given after the bubbles of the mitarashi (御手洗) (font of purifying water placed at the entrance of a shrine) of a famous shrine in the city. The street vendors in Kyoto started selling dango as a snack and became popular amongst many visitors. Today you can find Mitarashi Dango being sold at supermarkets, convenience stores and specialty sweet shops everywhere in Japan.

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Types of Rice Flour We Use for Mitarashi Dango

To achieve the perfect texture for the dumplings, you want to use the following two types of rice flours:

  1. Johshinko (上新粉) – a flour made from Japanese short-grain rice (uruchimai うるち米).
  2. Shiratamako (白玉粉) – a flour made from Japanese short-grain glutinous rice (mochigome もち米).

My recommendation is equal proportion: 50-50 ratio for both flours. The combination will give you the bouncy, chewy but not too sticky texture. If you like the chewy mochi-like texture, you can decrease Joshinko to 40% and increase Shiratamako to 60%. When you increase Shitamako too much, the dango gets too soft, and it becomes more like Shiratama Dango texture. Dango needs to be a bit firmer than Shiratama Dango.

At a Japanese grocery store, you may find the third type of flour called Dangoko (団子粉). This is a combination of rice flour and glutinous rice flour and the ratio is unknown; up to the manufacturer. If you have trouble finding the first two types of rice flour, this third one is an option. However, in my opinion, the texture is firmer, which I assume it’s the result of mixing more rice flour than glutinous rice flour.

The Mochiko (餅粉) is the fourth type of flour, made of glutinous rice flour similar to Shiratamako, but it’s produced differently. It yields a very soft and tender texture, which is not suitable for Dango.

You can find these flours at your local Japanese grocery store or maybe on Amazon.

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Mitarashi Dango and Dango with anko on a Japanese blue ceramic.

Traditional Japanese Sweets to Enjoy At Home

I hope you have fun making these traditional sweets of Japan. If you like sweet red bean paste (anko), you can put your homemade anko on top of the dango to enjoy too!

Hungry for more? Check out these recipes:

  • Tsukimi Dango
  • Green Tea Mochi
  • How to Make Mochi with a Stand Mixer
  • Strawberry Mochi (Ichigo Daifuku)

Mitarashi Dango on a blue plate.

Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.

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