How To Make Kyoto Mitarashi Dango

by Gyeongyeong Kim

Around this time of year, many people visit Kyoto to see autumn foliage. So let us take you to Kyoto with us right at this moment: We’re going to visit Kiyomizudera first which is an iconic Buddhist temple in Kyoto that is part of UNESCO heritage sites. We stare at the beautiful red, orange and yellow leaves of Mount Otowa and make wishes at the temple.

Kiyomizudera autumn view

After we enjoy the scenery for a bit, we walk down the ninenzaka (slope of two years) and the sannenzaka (slope of three years) where lots of stores are located. Be careful not to fall down on these streets though because you might die within two years and three years (yup, that’s where the names come from!). We check out a Japanese incense store, a kimono store, a Japanese traditional fan store and so on. But that’s not all! We also stop by a mitarashi dango place to get some snacks.

Mitarashi dango with kinako

Mitarashi dango is a rice cake skewer that is boiled and grilled then dipped in mitarashi which is thick sweet soy sauce. Although nowadays it can be found all over Japan (even in convenience stores), it originated in Kyoto!

We introduced you to a small part of Kyoto through text just now, but you can also taste a flavor of Kyoto from home. Mitarashi dango is super easy to make, and they taste amazing! Add kinako (soybean powder) as extra topping for nuttiness.

Mitarashi Dango with kinako

Mitarashi Dango

Makes 3 small skewers
  • 10 Tbsp (70g) Mochiko
  • 4 Tbsp + 1 tsp (65g) Water
  • Mitarashi Sauce (recipe below)
  1. Mix in mochiko and water in a small bowl until well combined. Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Roll the pieces into balls.
  2. Boil the balls in boiling water. Once the balls rise onto the surface, boil them for another 1 minute.
  3. Put the balls into skewers, 3 balls each, and grill them on a pan over the medium heat for about 3 minutes each side. Finish by glazing them with mitarashi sauce.

Mitarashi Sauce

  • 2 Tbsp (30g) Soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp (30g) Mirin
  • 4 Tbsp (48g) Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp (15g) Cornstarch
  1. Mix all of the ingredients into a small saucepan. Boil them over medium heat until they become thick (about 2-3 minutes).
  2. Remove from heat, dip the base of the saucepan in ice water if you plan to glaze directly from the pan to stop the cooking. Otherwise pour into another container for glazing or storage.

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