This Hanami Dango recipe is amazingly chewy and tender with the perfect amount of sweetness. Easy to make & requires just 3-ingredients to make this popular Japanese dessert!
Dango is one of those desserts that bring me right back to my childhood in grandmas small apartment. I was fortunate enough to travel to Japan every summer to visit my grandparents and eat so much good food. Every night, we would end the day with something sweet. My choice of dessert was always homemade dango and mochi over ice cream and cake. Something about chewy, tender, sticky morsels of subtly sweet rice cakes was so satisfying to eat. There are many different varieties of dango, but I wanted to first share a recipe for Hanami Dango because it’s beautiful and the most simplest to make.
What is Hanami Dango?
Hanami Dango, also called Sanshoku Dango (3 coloured dango) is another variant of the dango family. It is the iconic pink, white and green dango on a stick, there is even an emoji for it on iPhones! This special tri-coloured dango is sold year around, but is especially popular during the spring during the cherry blossom viewing. This is where the name Hanami Dango stems from where Hanami literally translates to “flower looking”.
What Does Hanami Dango Taste like?
Plain dango balls tastes like sweet rice. It sounds boring, but what makes this Japanese dessert so special is the texture. Chewy, tender, soft but still firm and toothsome. Some dangos comes with a topping such as sweetened black sesame paste, sweet soy sauce or anko (sweet red bean paste). However, Hanami Dango is served as is. The green dango typically is slightly earth because it is subtly flavoured with mugfort (yomogi), but matcha can also be used. The pink dango is also sometimes flavoured with sakura or strawberry powder but usually tastes the same as the white dango.
Dango traditionally is made with only rice or rice flour. However, my grandma always incorporated tofu to achieve a more tender, soft and chewy texture. I’ve always made it with the addition of the tofu but was curious how it would turn out if I only used Japanese rice flour. I attempted to make dango with just rice flour and found it to be much more tough and not as springy in texture.
So to achieve soft and chewy dango with the right amount of firmness, these are the 3 main ingredients needed:
How to Make Hanami Dango Step by Step
Step 1: The first step is to make the dough by combining the tofu, flour and sugar in a large bowl. Use your hands to squeeze the mixture together, almost in a kneading motion until everything is well incorporated. Then divide the dough into 3 equal portions.
Step 2: Add the matcha powder into one portion of dough and mix until the colour is uniform. Add the strawberry powder or pink food colouring into another portion of dough and mix until the colour is uniform.
Step 3: Divide the dough into 5-6 equal sized pieces. For 5 pieces, each piece should weigh 14-15 grams. If 6 pieces, 11-12 grams each.
Step 4: Roll each piece into a ball using your palms.
TIP: To achieve perfect round balls, dust your hands with a little bit of rice flour so the don’t stick to your hands.
Step 5: Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the dango balls in. Let them cook until they start floating to the top. Then use a strainer ladle to scoop them out.
Step 6: Place the dango into a bowl of ice water to stop them from cooking. Step 7: Once cooled, place the dango balls in a bamboo skewer in this order: green, white pink. Repeat for the remaining balls.
And… thats it! Easy right? I hope this recipe leaves you inspired to make Hanami Dango right in your own kitchen! Stay tuned for more dango recipes coming in the near future!
If you recreate this Hanami Dango recipe let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment and rating below or by tagging me on Instagram @Okonomikitchen, I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!Print
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