Saturday, August 14, 2010

kushi dango w/ 3 sauces

I've posted dango here before in various presentations, but today I thought I'd go with the very traditional presentation of kushi dango, which is dango threaded on bamboo skewers, lightly grilled, and spread with a variety of sauces. The sauces shown in the photo, from left to right are: mitarashi (sweet soy-based), matcha (green tea powder), and goma (black sesame). My recipe of choice for basic dango is the one where silken tofu is mixed with shiramatako: details can be found on my shiratama an'mitsu post.

1. Prepare the wooden skewers by soaking them in water. This will make it easier to thread the balls, and the skewers will be less likely to burn during the grilling process.

2. Make the dango according to directions described in the link above.

3. Thread the boiled-then-chilled balls, four to a skewer, and grill on a wire net over the cooking ring on your stove or over a charcoal fire, only until the balls get slight, but yummy-looking burn marks. (You can even make these burn marks in a frying pan, if you'd rather not grill.)

4. Remove grilled skewered dango from the heat and spread each row of dango with one of the following three toppings (sauce= tare, paste=an).

Mitarashi sauce
soy sauce...... 2 Tablespoons
white sugar........ 2 Tablespoons (remove any lumps with a sifter)
mirin..........1 teaspoon (optional)
water.........2 Tablespoons
katakuriko (potato starch or corn starch)...1/2 teaspoon

Place soy sauce, sugar, mirin, and water in small cooking pot over medium heat and stir with wooden spoon till the ingredients are well dissolved. When it begins to boil, slowly add katakuriko which has been liquified with a bit of water, and stir into the rest of the ingredients till it becomes clear and thickened. Remove from heat. Spread the sauce over the dango.

Sesame Sauce
: Blend black sesame paste (tahini) with sugar and enough water for desired spreadability and flavor.

Matcha paste: Mix a desired amount of green tea powder into store-bought shiro-an (white bean an), and add enough water to get the desired consistency. Or, if you can't get shiro-an, make a soft version of kinton and mix in matcha (powdered green tea) to taste.

Note: In this recipe, grilling the skewered dango is only for aesthetic purposes. You can skip that step if you want. Adjust ingredients for desired consistency and sweetness.