Ikinari Dango is a local dish in Kumamoto Prefecture, Kyushu. Ikinari means ‘suddenly’ and it implies you can make the dish quickly when you have unexpected guests. The combination of the tender sweet potato and the anko creates just enough sweetness.
Combine the cake flour and the mochiko also known as sticky rice flour. Add the salt and thoroughly mix the flour with a balloon whisk.
Add the water a little at a time while mixing with chopsticks. Mix until all the flour is moistened.
Press the flour with your hand to combine the dough. Then, place it onto a flat surface dusted with flour and knead the dough until it has a smooth texture.
If the dough sticks, dust the surface with flour again and roll it into a cylindrical shape. And cut it into 6 equal pieces.
Shape each piece into a ball. Cover the dough with a dampened towel and let it rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Let the sweet potato sit in water for about 5 minutes to remove any unwanted flavor. Place the sweet potato slices onto a paper towel. And remove the moisture thoroughly.
Let’s wrap the Ikinari Dango. Turn a cup upside down. Place the potato on the bottom and spread the anko, sweet bean paste onto it.
Dust your hands with flour. And shape the dough piece into a thin flat circle. Then, cover the potato with the wrapper.
Flip it over and spread the dough over the other side, completely covering the potato. Adjust the shape and place the dango onto a piece of wax paper.
Working on the bottom of a cup will make it easy to wrap the dango so you should definitely try it out. Repeat the process and you’ll have 6 pieces of dango.
Now, let’s cook the Ikinari Dango. Make sure the steamer is producing lots of steam and then place the dango into it.
Cover the dango with a dampened kitchen towel and then cover with a lid. If you're using a pot, make sure the towel isn't touching the edge to avoid burning.
Steam on medium high heat for about 25 minutes. Now, they are ready. Turn off the burner. And carefully remove the kitchen towel.
This local dish is originally made from cake flour but we blend in the sticky rice flour since many people nowadays tend to like soft mochi.
If you think your sweet potato is not sweet enough, mix some sugar into the dough.
You can store the dango in the freezer but make sure to wrap each piece with plastic wrap. When you thaw, microwave them until the wrappers soften.