Mitarashi Dango: Sweet and Savory Mochi Dumplings
Whenever I visited Japan growing up and saw mitarashi dango (みたらし団子) being sold on the streets, I had to have them. I loved the chewiness of the dango (unfilled mochi dumplings), the char from the grill and the sweet and savory mitarashi sauce drizzled all over. Little did I know how easy it is to recreate this dish at home. Mochi has been on the rise over the last few years and if you are a mochi lover, you'll love this snack/dessert.
Most recipes will require flours only found in Japanese grocery stores or some silken tofu. Since Japanese grocery stores are not always accessible, I wanted to find a substitution that could be found in almost every Asian grocery store and was cost effective. My favorite solution is the glutinous rice flour that's usually sold for $0.99 a bag. It's a Thai brand that I've seen in every Chinese grocery store I've visited.
First, mix your dry ingredients together.
Slowly mix in about 3/4 of the water into the dry ingredients. For the last 1/4, add 1 tbsp at a time as you knead to achieve a dough that comes together just enough. The dough should not be loose and should feel like your ear lobe.
Next, roll the dough into small balls. The size is really up to you but I usually do a little less than an inch in diameter. If you have children, this would be a great thing to do together.
Boil the balls of dough in a medium size pot until they're floating. Once they rise to the top, boil for an additional 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the dango and place them in a bowl filled with water and ice to immediately cool down and stop the cooking process.
Skewer the dango and let them dry on a sheet rack. I did about 4 dangos to a skewer but use your judgment depending on the size of your dango and skewers (7" skewers used here).
Once the dango skewers are all dry, grill directly over open flame or in a smoking hot frying pan. If you're using open flame like I did, I suggest soaking the skewers for 30 minutes beforehand and being very careful.
Heat up the sauce ingredients in a small pot while continuously whisking until the sauce thickens. Brush the sauce over the dango skewers and serve immediately.