Hanami Dango is a Japanese sweet Mochi dessert, where 3 different Dango balls, pink, white, and green, are skewered on a stick. In Japan, the end of March to April is the time of viewing and appreciating cherry blossoms (“hanami”). People go to parks where a lot of cherry trees are and eat and drink under the trees. Hanami Dango is a popular sweet for this event although it is available all year round at a lot of shops in Japan.
Dango can be made from different types of flour like Mochiko or Shiratamako which are made from sweet rice, and Joshinko made from Japanese sticky rice. Because it is easier to find Mochiko (Koda farm brand) in a lot of grocery stores in the US, we used Mochiko in this recipe. Shiratamako, which can be found at Japanese grocery stores, works just fine too. We would not recommend to use random rice flour (other than Joshinko) because we don’t know what type of rice is used to make the flour and it may not come out glutenous enough.
Hanami Dango is made from lightly sweetened and flavored/colored Mochi. Green is usually colored from Yomogi grass (cooked and pasted or powdered), but you could also flavor with green tea powder which is much easier to find outside Japan. Pink is from red food coloring most of the time, and it has the same flavor as white ones. However, you could add some Sakura flower buds (cherry blossom) and give it a beautiful decoration and a taste of spring. If you like the chewy texture of Mochi, try this dessert and you will enjoy it!
- 240g Mochiko
- 240g Tofu, soft
- 120g sugar
- 1 tsp green tea powder
- Red food coloring
- Salted cherry flowers, if available
- In a large bowl, mix Mochiko, Tofu, and sugar. Divide and separate the dough into 3 parts. Add green tea powder to one part and mix well until becoming a uniform color. Add a very small amount of red food coloring to another part and mix well. Leave the last dough white. Make table spoon size balls from each dough.
- In a large pot, boil water. Cook dough balls one color at a time. Once Dango balls float in the boiling water, cook 2-3 minutes longer. Take out from hot water, put on a paper towel, and let cool.
- Slide 3 different colored Dango onto each skewer. Decorate with cherry flowers if you like.