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Served with a side of sweet red beans, these chewy little dumplings are a very traditional treat, especially when sprinkled with nutty kinako. For a variation, float two or three dango in tsubu an heated and thinned with water to make a sweet dessert soup, oshiruko.

Shiratama dango on a scoop of sweet red bean paste, garnished with Asian pear and a sprinkling of kinako (soy bean powder)

Ingredients (makes 8 – 10 dumplings)


  • 100g mochiko (glutinous rice flour)
  • 4 Tbsp – ¼ cup cold water


  • Tsubu an (sweet red bean paste – chunky)
  • Kinako (soy bean powder)


  1. Get prepped. Set a large, deep pot of water to boil, and prepare a large bowl of ice water so that you can work quickly with the dough.
  2. Make the dough. In a bowl, add 2 – 3 Tbsp cold water to mochiko and mix with your hands. Continue to add water bit by bit and knead until the dough is soft and pliable (the Japanese say until it is the softness of an earlobe). Add more mochiko or water as you need it. The dough should be soft, but not sticky.
  3. Form and boil dango dumplings. Pinch off small pieces of the dough and roll into small balls about 2.5 – 3cm or so in diameter. When the water is at a roiling boil, drop in the shiratama dango one by one (so that they don’t stick) and boil until they float up to the top of the water. (This is why you need a deep pot of water, so that you can see the difference between a sunken and floating dumpling). This should take a few minutes.
  4. Cool. Remove cooked dango with a slotted spoon and drop into an ice-water bath until cooled. Drain well. If not using immediately, sprinkle lightly with potato starch to prevent sticking and cover tightly with cling film or store in simple syrup at room temperature for up to a few hours.
  5. Serve at room temperature or microwave lightly to re-heat, with a spoon of tsubu an and generous sprinkling of kinako. Enjoy with tea.