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Hanami Dango

Hanami Dango

Sweets

the blog:

Soft and chewy, these Hanami Dango are a delight to have to celebrate the arrival of Spring. Have them with a cup of green tea or eat them alone, you would not regret them! You only need 5-ingredients to make them too!

Hanami Dango

There was a phase in my life that I was absolutely obsessed with anime largely due to the influence of my sister. She would binge-watch anime when she was free, got home from school and even when she was “doing” homework.

Although I was not as obsessed to her level, I remember waking up a half-hour earlier from elementary to middle school, trying to watch a little anime before I head to school. One of the things that always piqued my interest besides the storyline was the food, especially the dango. I wasn’t familiar with Japanese food at that time and would always look up whatever food I came across while reading the anime especially when sweets are involved.

Since that time I have always been interested in Japanese food and culture. Well, spring and cherry blossom season is finally here and one of the popular spring desserts in Japan is Hanami Dango. They are popular year-round but especially during Spring as the name “Hanami” represents flower viewing for cherry blossom season. Since I cannot travel to Japan right now, I can only savor these dango while scrolling through all the Instagram photos and videos on cherry blossoms blooming in Japan.

Hanami Dango
Hanami Dango

Here is an overview of these Hanami Dango.

Ingredients

Glutinous Rice Flour: It is important that you use glutinous rice flour and not regular rice flour. The texture and the process of making the two flours are completely different and will yield a different texture if you use an incorrect type of flour. You can find glutinous rice flour in many of your Asian grocery stores. If you cannot find them, you can also use sweet rice flour (Mochiko).

Sugar: I used caster sugar to provide a smoother texture to the dango, but you can also use regular cane sugar or powdered sugar. To make it refined sugar-free you can use coconut sugar, but note that the color of these buns will be a bit darker and there will be a stronger taste of coconut flavor to the dango, unlike the traditional version.

Silken Tofu: Some like to use water for the dango, but I find that using silken tofu will provide the dango with a chewier and bouncy texture, kinda like mochi. It is important to use silken tofu to provide a smoother texture to the dango. If you cannot find silken tofu, you can also replace it with water, in a 1:1 ratio with the flour.

Matcha Powder: I used matcha powder to provide the green color of the dango and also an earthy taste to them. If you do not have matcha powder, you can also use natural vegan green food coloring.

Strawberry Powder or Natural Vegan Food Coloring: To provide the pink color of the dango, you can use strawberry powder or natural vegan pink food coloring. If you don’t have any of those, you can also use beet powder.

Hanami Dango
Hanami Dango

FAQs/Tips

What is Hanami Dango?
Hanami dango are commonly known for being chewy, three colored dumplings on skewers, made from glutinous flour or sweet rice flour (Mochiko). “Hanami” refers to cherry blossom viewing as these dango are served to welcome the arrival of Spring in Japan and cherry blossom season.

Why are there only 3 colors?
There are only 3 colors to these Hanami Dango because each color represents the transition of the season from winter to spring. The white represents snow, the green represents growth, and the pink represents peach flowers blooming during Spring.

Are these dango gluten-free?
Yes! The glutinous flour is gluten-free.

How do I store these dango?
These Hanami Dango are best served fresh after you cook them. If you know that you would not finish them, I recommend keeping the uncooked dango in the fridge if you are planning to eat them the next day and cooking it from scratch. However, if you don’t have time, you can also store the cooked dango in the freezer, placing them in an airtight container and microwaving them in 30-second intervals until they are warmed when you are ready to eat them.

Can I make these dango refined sugar-free?
Yes! You can substitute the sugars with coconut sugar instead! However, note that the color of the cake will be darker in color.

How do I know when the dango is cooked?
When you insert a toothpick into the center of the buns, the toothpick should come out clean.

What can I use besides natural vegan food coloring?
If you do not have any natural vegan food coloring you can use fruit powders like strawberry powder for the pink dango or beet powder.

Where can I get glutinous rice flour?
You can find glutinous rice flour in many of your Asian grocery stores! They are often in a green bag.

Hanami Dango
Hanami Dango

If you like these Hanami Dango, you might also like to try:
Vegan Strawberry Sando (Japanese Fruit Sandwich)
Vegan Sweet Cream Buns
Vegan Japanese Shibuya Toast

I cannot wait for you to try these Hanami Dango! If you do, please tag me on Instagram @_withhelen or leave a comment below letting me know you like it!

Hanami Dango
Print

Hanami Dango

Soft and chewy, these Hanami Dango are a delight to have to celebrate the arrival of Spring. Have them with a cup of green tea or eat them alone, you would not regret them! You only need 5-ingredients to make them too!

  • Author: Helen Au
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 3
  • Category: Sweets
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: Japanese
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

45g glutinous rice flour, plus more if needed

28g (2 tbsp) caster sugar

45g (~3 tbsp) silken tofu, water drained

⅛ tsp ceremonial matcha powder

⅛ tsp strawberry powder or pink natural vegan food coloring

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, add the rice flour and sugar together. Mix until they are combined. Add in the silken tofu and mix until a dough forms. Knead the dough until it is smooth. If you find that the dough is a bit too sticky, add a little more glutinous rice flour and knead until it is smooth and elastic.

  2. Divide the dough into 3 equal parts. To one of the dough, add in the matcha powder and knead until the dough is smooth and the matcha is well-incorporated. To another piece of dough, add the strawberry powder or a tiny drop of vegan pink coloring and knead the dough until the pink is well-incorporated.

  3. Divide each color into 3 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball.

  4. Once the water boils, add in the dough and allow the dough to cook for a few minutes, stirring them gently. Once you see the dough balls rise up to the surface of the water, the dango is ready. Remove the dango from the water and allow them to cool for 3-5 minutes.

  5. Using a bamboo skewer or a cake pop stick, place one color of each dango onto the stick. Serve and enjoy!

Keywords: dango, glutinous rice flour, Japanese dessert, Japanese snacks

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Share a photo and tag me on Instagram @_withhelen. I can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

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