Kinako Dango (Sweet Roasted Soy Flour Dumplings)
Kinako dango was my ultimate favorite dessert as a kid. Chewy dumplings made with rice flour, very similar to mochi and dusted with a sweet and salty roasted soy flour.. SO GOOD. I remember standing next to my mother as she added the doughy balls to a pot of boiling water, eagerly waiting for them to rise up and float, signaling they were ready to eat. My love for this dish is just as much about the taste as it is about the the texture: sticky, chewy and fluffy balls oozing a little sweetness bite after bite, leaving you wanting more.. Now that’s what I call good eating!
It’s one of the easiest things to make since there is no real recipe for this dish. I wanted to write a post about it because it had such a big impact on me as a kid. The Japanese food I had during my summers spent there as a child greatly changed and expanded my palate. I discovered at a young age that food was so much more than just burgers and fries (not that there’s anything wrong with that greasy goodness!) Suddenly I found myself craving dried shredded squid, maki rolls, oden, pickled plums and.. a dessert made with soybean flour? Na uh! Ya huh.. It may have been a long time since I sat on tatami floors during those hot Japanese summers, but I’m still seriously addicted to kinako dango.
The good news is kinako dango makes a healthy snack or dessert. Though slightly high in calories, it’s low in fat and high in protein and B vitamins.
The ingredients are also easy to find in Asian supermarkets. You may have trouble reading
Japanese characters though most of the packages do display pictures of desserts that can be made with rice flour. As for kinako, it looks like beach sand and will be located next to the dango flour.
If you want your kids to participate in the kitchen, have them help you with shaping the dough! I used to have a blast creating moon crescents, hearts and other oddly shaped designs. Kinako tastes a little like peanut butter so you can play around with the flavor as well and add your own twist to the mixture. If you come up with something delicious, do share it with me as I’d love to hear about it!
If you have leftovers, put the kinako and dango balls in a tupperware, covered. The next day, zap them in the microwave for 45 seconds and the texture will return to being fluffy and chewy.