I first posted this Sanshoku (three colour) Dango in 2016 to celebrate “Hina Matsuri” also known as “Girls Day” in English. This time, my post includes a mini movie to help show you how to make delicious Sanshoku Dango.
Sanshoku Dango are sold not only March, but all year round in Japan. Even though March is still a little bit far away, I still think it would be good to write tell you all about the girl’s day festival. The 3rd of March marks the Girl’s Day Festival in Japan, known as “Hina Matsuri” or “Doll’s Day”.
This name stems from the Japanese tradition of display a set of Hina Dolls dressed in traditional Japanese clothing. The dolls are displayed on tiered shelves covered in red carpet along with other ornaments such as food and flowers. Families in Japan will display these dolls to wish happiness, growth, and prosperity for their girls.
One of the foods that is usually displayed on the stands with the dolls is Hishi-Mochi, a type of rice cake (Mochi) made into a diamond shape with three different coloured tiers of pink, green, and white. However instead of making Hishi-Mochi, I decided to make three colour Dango (or “Sanshoku Dango”), because it uses the same colours and I think they look cuter (plus they are also easier to eat!)
These three colours are used because they are said to represent peach flowers (pink) which bloom in March, the pure colour of snow (white), and the beauty of new growth (green). My daughter is obsessed with this kind of Dango, so my parents will always bring her a packet of it when they go to pick her up from the airport (apparently, she can’t wait another 2 hours until they get home to eat it!). Whenever we visit Japan, she eats it almost every single day!
Dango all have the same sweet taste, but the green one has a slightly different flavour to the others because it is made with a type of leaf called Yomogi. On my last post, I said “Unfortunately, I can’t find this anywhere in Australia”, but I am happy to report that this time around I found some and am now cultivating it in my backyard. I still don’t have enough to make Mochi with it yet, so I made the green one with Matcha instead, which tasted really yummy.
The colour of the Dango dough becomes intensified when it is cooked. I like subtle colour of the greens and pinks so I only add tiny bit of colouring agent. You can see it how light the dough colour is, but how it gets strong after it is cooked in the mini movie below.
I used tofu rather than just water because I think tofu adds a bouncy texture to Dango, and I prefer that “mochi mochi” texture. There are two types of tofu, and for this recipe silken tofu works better to create the smooth and bouncy texture of the Dango. Of course, if you cannot get silken tofu, just add water equivalent to 90% of the weight of the flour.
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Sanshoku(three colour) dango recipe
- 90 g Glutinous rice flour
- 90 g Silken tofu
- 2 tbs white sugar
- 1/4 tsp Matcha powder
- A drop of Pink colouring
Place the rice flour, silken tofu, and sugar in a large bowl and mix well until it forms a dough.
Divide the dough into three equal parts.
Add the Matcha powder into one of the dough parts and knead until the dough turns green.
Add a couple of small drops of pink food colouring into one of the other dough parts and knead into the dough until it turns a light pink.
Roll each ball of dough (green, pink, and white) into 6 even-sized balls.
Boil some water in a pot or sauce pan and add the Dango balls.
Once the Dango raises to the surface of the water, scoop them out and put them into a bowl of cold water to halt the cooking process.
Place one green, one white, and one pink Dango onto a skewer and repeat until all the Dango are gone then serve!
When the dough is cooked, the colour of the Dango will be intensified, so try not to drop any more than one drop of food colouring into the mix, unless you prefer a strong and intense colour.
Substitutions: If you don’t have tofu, you can replace it with water. The texture will be slightly different.