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Bento Recipes: Kushi Dango


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Yet another way to serve rice in soy sauce!You may have seen anime characters eating things that look like these. These are rice dumplings served on skewers with a sauce made from sugar and soy sauce.

What you'll need:

    For the dumplings:
    1 cup of rice flour, maybe plus some more
    3/4 cup warm water
    6" bamboo skewers

    For the sauce:
    3/4 cup of water
    1/2 cup of sugar
    2 tablespoons of soy sauce
    1 1/2 tablespoons of katakuriko (potato starch)
    1 1/2 tablespoons of water

Put the cup of rice flour in a bowl and add warm water. Mix, then knead the dough well. If it's too wet, add more rice flour. The dough is done when it reaches an even, smooth texture. It won't become as stretchy as dough made with wheat flour.

Shape the dough into round dumplings. Play around with the sizes. I made some as small as a nickel and some almost as big as a golf ball. The ones shown above are about quarter-sized.

Grease the inside of your steamer with cooking spray, then place the dumplings inside, spaced about an inch apart to give them room to expand. Steam them on high heat for 10 minutes. Then take them out and put them on a rice-floured cutting board to cool down. These things are sticky, so you don't want to leave out the cooking spray or the flour on the cutting board, trust me! When they're cooled, skewer them, three to four per stick.

To make the sauce, mix the water, sugar, and soy sauce in a pan, dissolving all the sugar, then cover and heat it on medium heat. While that's warming up, mix the water and potato starch in a separate cup. When the sauce boils, add the starch-water and mix quickly. The stuff will thicken up fast!

Slightly grill the skewered dumplings, then brush or spoon the sauce over them.

The dumplings are soft and chewy when fresh. Refrigerating or freezing them will make them hard and not-very-pleasant-textured, but you can always microwave them for a half minute on medium power to restore them to their chewy, yummy state.

Other uses for mochi dumplings

I've found you can use the steamed dumplings in at least some of the ways you can use storebought mochi. Eaten right after they're made, they're kinda mozzarella-cheesy. You can dip them in soy sauce. And you can stick them in a waffle iron and make little mochi waffles - and use some of the leftover sauce to top 'em.