Chewy plain and matcha dango made with rice flour and dusted with kinako, a sweet roasted soybean flour
I often find myself craving this satisfying kind of chewy, bouncy texture that you find in sweets made from glutinous rice flour. I mean, I basically grew up on a diet of tapioca bubble tea pearls and mochi. This kind of texture in desserts is addicting and so well-loved.
There are so many different kinds of rice flours that produce slightly different textures. Japanese confectionery is really both an art and a science. One of the most readily available rice flours I've been able to find in stores in my area is mochiko. For a quick dango fix, this kinako dango fits the bill perfectly since it's simple to make with just a few ingredients.
What is kinako dango?
Dango are small, round Japanese dumplings made with rice flour. There are many different types of dango, depending on what kind of rice flour they are made with (or different ratios of flours) and what they are served with. In this recipe, they are made with mochiko, a sweet glutinous rice flour.
Kinako is roasted soybean flour made by grinding roasted soybeans into a fine powder. The taste by itself is mildy nutty and it's most often used in Japanese sweets as a topping, coating, or filling.
How to make kinako dango
Make dough: Mix mochiko, sugar, and water until it becomes saturated and sticks together.
Press together: It may look crumbly at first and like there's not enough water but just try pressing the crumbs down together into a dough. You shouldn't need more water but if it's really not sticking together, add a tiny bit at a time. It should feel like the texture of an earlobe, soft but firm.
Roll into balls: Pinch off bits of dough and roll into small ¾" to ½" balls in the palm of your hands. Repeat for the matcha dango by adding matcha powder to the first step.
Boil dango: Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the dango for 2-3 minutes or until they float to the surface.
Remove dango from the boiling water and transfer to a bowl of ice cold water to stop the cooking.
Make kinako topping: In a small bowl, stir together kinako and sugar. Serve dango rolled in kinako.
Tips for success
- The texture of the dough should feel like your earlobe. It sounds a little weird but seriously, just lightly pinch your earlobe. Your dough should be just as soft and have a bit of resistance.
- Use a small 1" cookie scooper to make evenly sized balls instead of pinching the dough off with your fingers.
- Cook your dango as you roll them. I like to have a pot of water boiling right next to me and I just throw the freshly rolled dango into the water as I go instead of putting them down which can distort their round shape.
- Serve dango right away. If you're not eating them immediately after boiling, they can sit in a bowl of cold water for about 1 hour but the texture will start to change.