Asian Recipes/ Dessert/ Japanese/ Recipes/ Snack

Dango Recipe with Anko (Sweet Red Bean Paste)

21/01/2021

Deliciously chewy Dango are a quick and easy treat you can make in minutes. Japanese anko (sweet red bean paste) brings in the sweetness to complement the cute little rice flour dumplings perfectly.

Two sticks with dango topped with sweet red bean paste.

Why We Love This

We have a real obsession with all things mochi and red bean paste. Unlike mochi though, which is cooked in the microwave, dango is made into balls and boiled until soft and chewy in just a few minutes, then it’s popped on a stick and topped with that amazing sweet red bean paste!

What is Dango? 

Dango are small round rice flour dumplings, often found on a stick in sets of three or four. They’re only around 2 cm / 1 inch in diameter, so they’re nice and easy to eat each dango.

There are lots of local varieties of dango across Japan, but we’d most often see three main types available almost everywhere:

  • Anko Dango – These are our favourite, and what we’ve made today. They consist of 3-5 dango dumplings threaded on a skewer, topped with anko (sweet red bean paste)
  • Mitarashi Dango – Similar to anko dango, except basted in a syrup made from soy sauce and sugar. The dumplings are usually grilled first before being coated in the syrup. They’re a little more savoury than anko dango. 
  • Hanami Dango – Famous for the 🍡 emoji, these are similar to regular white dango, except the pink ball is coloured with food colouring and the green is flavoured with Japanese mugwort leaves, so it has a slightly earthier flavour. The colours represent the evolution of the peach flower in spring, from pink blossom to green new growth. They’re usually enjoyed during cherry blossom season at ‘hanami’ (cherry blossom viewing) celebrations.

What You’ll Need

  • Glutinous Rice Flour – The traditional flour used in Japan is called shiratamako (glutinous rice flour) or mochiko (sweet rice flour). It’s often blended with another type of flour called joshinko (non-glutinous rice flour) to give the dumplings the perfect balance of chewy texture named for how it sounds: ‘mochi mochi’. We find these flours are a little hard to source where we live, so we use Thai style glutinous rice flour which we can buy from both our local supermarket and the nearby Asian grocery. Look for the green label (it also comes with a red label, this is the non-sticky rice flour, so don’t get this one!). You can also buy any of these flours online.
  • Sweet Red Bean Paste (Anko) – We used coarse red bean paste, but you can use the fine bean paste as well, it’s completely up to your taste. Store bought is fine – you’ll find it at your local Asian supermarket, otherwise you can also make your own from azuki beans. In a pinch, you could make a filling with sweetened kidney beans, like in Vietnamese 3 Colour Bean Dessert. Or ditch the beans, and make up your own filling!

How to make Recipe:

  1. Bring small pot of water to the boil. In a medium bowl, add your glutinous rice flour and water and mix until combined. It should start sticking to the spoon / your hand and coming away from the sides of the bowl.
  2. At this point, use your hands to bring the dough together into a big soft ball. It should feel soft and smooth ‘like your ear lobes’.
  3. Next form them into balls shapes around 2 cm / 1 inch in diameter. Use ‘soft hands’ here for a nice round shape.
  4. Pop in boiling water and cook until they start to float (3-5 minutes).
  5. Remove from hot water into a bowl of cold water to stop them cooking further and cool them down.
  6. Once cooled, place three dango on a wooden bamboo stick and top with anko (sweet red bean paste). Enjoy!

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Serving Suggestion – Serve as a dessert after classic Japanese dishes like tantanmen ramen and Japanese gyoza dumplings!
  • Boil First – Make sure you boil the water first, so your dango don’t dry out waiting for it to be ready.
  • Prevent Dango Drying Out – If it’s a particularly hot day or you can’t cook them straight away, keep them in a plastic bag to keep from drying out.
  • Soak the Skewers – This will help stop the dango from sticking to the bamboo.

FAQs

How long does dango last?

Dango is best eaten within the day. If you can, leave it out of the fridge and sealed in an airtight container for the freshest taste.

Can I use all purpose flour or regular rice flour for dango?

Unfortunately no. It’s the sticky aspect of glutinous or sweet rice powder that really helps to give dango its distinct taste and texture.

Can I freeze dango?

It’s best not to freeze cooked dango. If you absolutely have to, after you make the dough – pop it in an airtight container before cooking and freeze that portion. Then when you’re ready to eat and cook them, you can leave out to thaw on the bench for a few hours and then continue the recipe as normal by shaping them into balls and boiling them.

Variations & Substitutes

  • Grilled Dango – For added texture, you can lightly grill your dango on the stove before topping with anko
Two sticks of dango covered in anko on a grey plate.

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and a star rating below!

Rice flour dumplings topped with sweet bean paste on a stick.

Dango Recipe with Anko (Sweet Red Bean Paste)

Deliciously chewy Dango are a quick and easy treat you can make in minutes. Japanese anko (sweet red bean paste) brings in the sweetness to complement the cute little rice flour dumplings perfectly.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Japanese
Servings: 2 sticks
Calories: 169kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $5

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Bring a small pot of water to the boil. In a medium bowl, add your glutinous rice flour and water and mix until combined. It should start sticking to the spoon / your hand and coming away from the sides of the bowl.
  • At this point, use your hands to bring the dough together into a big soft ball. It should feel soft and smooth ‘like your ear lobes’.
  • Next form them into balls shapes around 2 cm / 1 inch in diameter. Use ‘soft hands’ here for a nice round shape.
  • Pop in boiling water and cook until they start to float (3-5 minutes).
  • Remove from hot water into a bowl of cold water to stop them cooking further and cool them down.
  • Once cooled, place three dango on a wooden bamboo stick and top with anko (sweet red bean paste). Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • Serving Suggestion – Serve as a dessert after classic Japanese dishes like tantanmen ramen and Japanese gyoza dumplings!
  • Boil First – Make sure you boil the water first, so your dango don’t dry out waiting for it to be ready.
  • Prevent Dango Drying Out – If it’s a particularly hot day or you can’t cook them straight away, keep them in a plastic bag to keep from drying out.
  • Grilled Dango – For added texture, you can lightly grill your dango on the stove before topping with anko.

Nutrition

Calories: 169kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 19mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg
Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks
Dango Recipe with Anko (Sweet Red Bean Paste)

8 Comments

  • Reply
    Immaculate
    05/03/2016 at 12:15 am

    5 stars
    I love beans but have never tried it like this before . Now I seriously wouldn’t be able to get it off my mind. Thanks for sharing!!!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      05/03/2016 at 8:38 am

      We’re still so impressed that it’s a sweet dessert… with beans… that tastes GOOD!

  • Reply
    Sam | Ahead of Thyme
    04/03/2016 at 1:47 pm

    This sounds sooo good right now!! Saving this recipe for my husband, he would love it! Thanks!!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      05/03/2016 at 8:36 am

      It’s such a fun little treat. Sweet, tasty and super moreish!

  • Reply
    Kaitie
    04/03/2016 at 12:46 pm

    great tutorial on how to mould the dumplings! pictures were awesome. Plus this whole recipe sounds utterly delicious!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      04/03/2016 at 12:47 pm

      Thanks Kaitie, glad we could help. It’s really fun to make too! Best reward being to eat it all up afterwards, of course!

  • Reply
    Renee
    04/03/2016 at 12:44 pm

    Beans in a dessert?! I definitely wouldn’t feel guilty about eating this! Looks great.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      04/03/2016 at 12:46 pm

      It’s got the health, it’s got the sweet… It’s got our vote! Hahah 😀

    Leave a Reply

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