Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pumpkin Dango

I love all kinds of mochi and try to experiment with new kinds all the time.  People are always afraid to try it and then always seem to love it.  It is one of those addictive things that the more you eat of it the more you want to eat it.  The recipe for pumpkin dango is pretty sinmple.

Pumpkin Dango
*1 cup mochiko (glutinous rice flour)
*3tbs joshinko (non-glutinous rice flour)
*3tbs white sugar
*1/2 cup warm water
*6, 4" bamboo skewers (optional, but makes it more fun)

Pumpkin (An) filling
*1 cup pumpkin puree, plain
*1/2 tsp cinnamon
*1/2 tsp ginger
*1/4 tsp nutmeg
*1/8 tsp allspice
*1/4 cup packed brown sugar
*2tbs white sugar

So, first you need to make the pumpkin filling.  Start by draining out the liquid by placing the pumplin puree in a piece of unbleached muslin cloth (a good quality paper towel will also work) gather the ends together and twist the cloth tightly over a bowl to drain moisture.  Keep the liquid and set aside.  The pumpkin should now be dry enough to roll into a ball. Put the pumplin in a small sauce pan and add the rest of the filling ingredients.  Cook over medium heat.  Adding the reserved pumpkin juice as need to cook with out scorching it.  When it becomes sticky and can sill be rolled into a ball its done.  Refrigerate or freeze til firm (this really doesn't take very long).  While that chills make the dango.  

Whisk the mochiko, joshinko and sugar together in a small bole.  Slowly add the water a bit of a time.  Mix with a fork at first and then use your hands to kneed the water into the dough.  It should be the consistency of an earlobe when properly mixed (so a bit squishy but not to liquidy, it will make more sense as you do it).  Roll cooled filling into 18 1/2 inch balls.  Roll mochi dough into 18 scant 1 inch balls.

Next, you need to flatten out the mochi dough (it helps if you palm is a bit damp or you have plastic wrap on it etc) and place a ball of filling in the middle.  Gather the edges of the dough and pinch it closed.  It the dough is a bit dry you may need a dab of water to close the ball up.  Roll the dango in your palms to make a nice neat ball.  

In demonstration mode

After rolling all the dango its time to cook them.  This is where the optional skewering comes it (this does make them easier to eat).  Place 3 balls on each skewer and place in a steamer basket.  Steam on high for 10 minutes.  

Its foggy as there is still dangerous steam pouring out . . . caution - steam is hotter than it appears!

Serve immediately (they taste better the fresher they are).  You'll get 6 skewers.  They are actually quite large and filling so a stick per person is not unreasonable if you having people over.  Not that more than three is wrong! :)

Why wouldn't you want to eat that?

Pumpkin dango is great, but you could easily use a different (fairly dry and thick filling) or you could leave them plain/unfilled.  When making them unfilled they are often good with a sauce, which could be savory or sweet.

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