Mitarashi Dango is a common Japanese wagashi (dessert) or street snack made of mochi, or sweet rice cake, on a stick. It’s glazed in a sweet and salty soy-based sauce, and sometimes grilled on an open flame.
It can easily be made vegan, because the ingredient list is quite simple, and can also be made gluten free with an appropriate soy sauce substitute. I’ve made some minor substitutions and landed on this version which is gluten free, vegan and refined sugar free. Also, it’s much easier to make than you may think!
All you really need to do is create a dough with sweet rice flour and water, roll into balls, boil and coat with the sauce (which, by the way, comes together in about 4 minutes). From start to finish, you could have this delightful snack ready to eat in about 20 minutes.
If you want to get creative, you can also play around with the shape and design of your dango. Inspired by a photo a friend sent to me from Japan, I went for a Shiba Inu design. You can also add on toppings of choice, like toasted sesame seeds, togarashi (Japanese spice blend) or shredded nori. This recipe is vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free and oil free. You only need 5 ingredients, so let’s get into it!
what’s in mitarashi dango?
Sweet rice flour
Gluten free soy sauce
Arrowroot flour (or cornstarch)
secrets to success
Most of these ingredients are easily sourced at Japanese grocery stores. If there’s one in your neighbourhood, or even an Asian grocery store, you should have no problem finding them. Online, all of these ingredients are available as well, and I’ll leave links to online purchase options in the recipe below.
Dango is best enjoyed on the spot, as sweet rice treats tend to firm and harden up over time. This recipe makes enough for about 2 people (or 2 skewers), but you can also double the recipe as you see fit.
To make Shiba Inu shaped dango, remove about a teaspoon sized portion of dough and set aside. Then divide remaining dough into 4 equal sized balls and begin to shape 2 heads, and 2 U shaped booties. To shape, just work the dough like playdough. Using the remaining teaspoon of dough, make tiny tail features to attach after boiling, and before glazing. Glaze only top halves of face and bottoms, and then use kitchen scissors to cut details out of a toasted nori sheet. It should stick to the dango very easily.
If you try this recipe out, tag me on Instagram @veggiekins so I can see your delicious re-creations and feature them! As always, I love when you share your reviews in the comments below, and if you make any fun substitutions, let me know how it worked out below too.
Prepare a pot of water over medium high heat and bring to a boil while you prepare your dango dough.
In a mixing bowl, combine sweet rice flour and water. Start with a spatula and stir to combine, then begin to work the dough with your hands. You want a firm dough that doesn’t stick to your hand, but is workable and sticks to itself. If you need to add additional water, do so by lightly wetting your hands and kneading again. It’s important not to add too much water, so start with less and add more as needed.
Once you have a workable dough, divide into 6 pieces and roll into small balls. When the water is boiling, gently drop into the pot and let cook for about 3-5 minutes, or until the dango floats and is cooked all the way through. Strain and transfer to a bowl of cold water while you prepare your sauce.
In a small bowl, whisk together arrowroot starch with a splash of cold water to form a slurry. Next, in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine gluten free soy sauce, water, coconut sugar and mirin. Whisk to combine, then add arrowroot starch slurry and continue to stir until sauce thickens. Once the sauce thickens, remove from the heat and set aside.
Now drain dango again, and skewer 3 pieces on each stick. Glaze with your sweet soy glaze to taste, and enjoy!
Hi there, I’m Remy! Welcome to Veggiekins Blog, home to nourishing vegan + gluten-free recipes and tips to live your best balanced and holistic life. I’m a human on a mission to empower you to be well and be kind to your mind, body and soul with the healing power of plants.
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