Hanami Dango (or Sanshoku Dango) is a traditional Japanese rice flour dessert which is particularly enjoyed during the custom tradition of flower viewing (Hanami) each year.
This sweet rice dumpling delicacy is formed into three small balls in different colors, skewered together in the centre with a bamboo stick. Dango is commonly served with green tea.
Origin & Cultural Significance
Hanami Dango, sometimes simply known as Dango, is a sweet classic snack made from glutinous rice flour. It is said to have originated in a small tea house called the Kamo Mitarashi, which is situated near the Shimogamo shrine in Kyoto Japan.
t is said that the name Dango is inspired by their similarity to the bubbles formed in the purifying waters (known as mitarashi), which flow at the entrance to the shrine. Dango was initially prepared as a small offering to the gods and goddesses found in the shrine.
Since the 8th century, various festivals have been celebrated all over the country, and it has been a practice for people to bring Dango as a main offering to the deities.
Different types and varieties from the classic Dango have emerged throughout the years and have become part of the culture among the Japanese people. This delicacy is eaten any time of the year but is associated more with the many festivities celebrated in Japan.
Hanami Dango is one of the several kinds of Dango. It is traditionally eaten during Hanami or the sakura viewing season dating back to the Heian period, where “hana” means flower and “mi” means to see. Hence, the name of this particular dessert.
The three distinct colours of the rice flour balls each signify different things. The color pink represents the cherry blossoms, white symbolizes the snow left during the past winter, and green for the grass during summer.
Japanese Hanami Dango Recipe
- Glutinous rice flour (Shiratamako) - 50g
- Rice Flour (Joshinko) - 150g
- Sugar - 50g
- Water (hot) - 50ml
- Bamboo sticks
- Matcha powder (for coloring) - 1 tsp
- Red food colouring
- Mix together the glutinous rice flour, Japanese rice flour, and sugar in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
- Add slowly the hot water into the mixture in small portions at a time while mixing it to prevent large lumps of flour and start kneading it until it is soft and smooth.
- Divide the dough into three equal parts and place each in a bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying.
- In one bowl, add 1-2 drops of red food colouring into the dough. Mix it until the desired colour pink is reached and even throughout the dough. Set aside.
- Add 1 tsp of matcha powder to the other bowl and start mixing it evenly to achieve the colour green. No colouring is added on the remaining portion and will remain colour white.
- Shape each dough into small round bite-sized pieces.
- In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add in first the white balls and allow them to cook.
- After the balls rise or float above the water, let it cook for another 2 minutes then remove them from the pot.
- Repeat the cooking process while adding the pink-coloured balls first then the green-coloured ones to avoid staining the water in the pot.
- After cooking, use one bamboo stick and skewer three balls with one colour each in the centre starting with the colour green, followed by the white and lastly, pink. Serve as is or with toppings.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 342Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 3mgCarbohydrates: 76gFiber: 2gSugar: 13gProtein: 6g