Sweet rice balls (Hanami dango): recipe from Japan

The hanami dango (花 見 団 子) is a wonderful typical Japanese sweet, which in this country usually tends to be prepared for the celebration of the season ofhanami, the national holiday in which the arrival of spring is officially celebrated, with the flowering of the cherry tree (its characteristic and traditional tree).

In fact, the dango consists of a kind of chopped dough -ordumpling- which is made with glutinous rice flour (mochi-ko), of certainly sticky texture and sweet taste. Although this typical sweet is consumed practically throughout the year, the variety hanami dango It is made in order to celebrate the arrival of spring.

For this celebration the most usual is to serve between 3 to 4 balls of hanami dango, which are skewered on a wooden or bamboo skewer. In addition, it is common for the skewer to be composed of three colors hanami dango: white, green and pink. Not in vain, it is common for matcha tea It is used as a green coloring, for its flavor and aroma.

Recipe of hanami dango (sweet rice balls)


  • 120 g of non-glutinous rice flour (Joshinko)
  • 120 g of glutinous rice flour (Shiratamako)
  • 120 g of sugar
  • 120 ml of water
  • 1 teaspoon matcha tea powder
  • 1 teaspoon of red dye

You will also need bamboo or wooden skewers with which to insert the sweet balls.


  1. In a wooden bowl put the sugar and the two flours (the non-glutinous and the glutinous rice). Mix them well.
  2. Add the water little by little. Knead well with the help of your hands until you get a rather smooth texture.
  3. Divide the dough into three equal parts.
  4. Add a few drops of the red dye to one of the parts and knead it again until the pink tone is rather uniform.
  5. On the other hand, add the matcha tea powder to another party. Re-knead until the green tone is uniform.
  6. Now is the time to form small balls with your hands, and doing it with each part of the dough.
  7. Put water in a pan and heat in the fire until it boils. Keeping the fire on the same level, in order to keep boiling, add the balls ofhanami dango little by little and progressively.
  8. When the rice balls rise to the surface is the ideal time to remove them from the water. Put cold water in a bowl and put the rice balls in soaking in this bowl.
  9. On a bamboo or wooden skewer add a ball of each color. Repeat this operation until you finish with all the balls.

As you will see if the tests, the truth is that thehanami dango They are really sweet rice balls, as well as sticky. Although its texture is rather peculiar and characteristic, if you do not like them to be so sweet, you can reduce the amount of sugar by half.

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