Happy Girls’ Day!
March 3rd is the annual Japanese festival of hinamatsuri or Girls’ Day. It is a day to pray for the health and happiness of young girls in Japan and is one of the many celebrations brought to Hawaii by Japanese immigrants. Chi chi dango is just one of the foods associated with this festival.
What is chi chi dango?
Chi chi dango is a type of mochi made from glutinous rice flour (Mochiko is a well-known brand) and coconut milk. These sweet, pillowy confections are often colored pink to represent peach and cherry blossoms but may include additional layers of white for purity and green for new growth.
While chi chi dango is associated with Girls’ Day, it is eaten throughout the year in Hawaii. You can find chi chi dango in specialty shops like Fujiya Hawai’i or Nishodo Candy Store. You can also find it in local grocery stores.
Chi chi dango is just one aspect of the Girls’ Day celebration. To learn more, check out this article from Honolulu Magazine.
Tips for making chi chi dango
- Be sure to spray your baking pan thoroughly so the chi chi dango doesn’t stick.
- Don’t forget to cover the pan with foil before it goes into the oven. If you don’t, a crust will form on the top of the mochi. It’s not the end of the world and you can still eat the chi chi dango but it should be uniformly soft.
- A plastic knife is one of the best tools for cutting the chi chi dango.
- If you can’t find potato starch or kinako (ground roasted soybeans) then you can use cornstarch.
This sweet, soft, and chewy confection is associated with the Japanese Girls’ Day festival but is also eaten year-round.
1 pound mochiko (about 3 1/2 cups)
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups water
1 14-ounce can full fat coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring, optional
Potato starch or kinako for dusting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9″ x 13″ baking pan thoroughly with non-stick spray. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift the dry ingredients together. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the water, coconut milk, and vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir to combine.
To make a two-colored, layered mochi: Divide the batter into two equal parts. In one bowl, add ¼ teaspoon red food coloring and mix to thoroughly incorporate the food coloring. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and pour the remaining batter (uncolored) over the first layer. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
To make a single-colored mochi: Add ½ teaspoon red food coloring and mix to thoroughly incorporate the food coloring. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 1 hour.
Bake until the edges begin to pull away from the pan. The edges may appear slightly hard and over-baked, while the center of the dish will appear moist. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
When the mochi is cooled, sprinkle your work surface with potato starch or kinako. Use a plastic knife to cut the mochi into small rectangles. Roll in potato starch to cover all sides, dusting off any excess.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Microwave cold mochi for 10 seconds to soften before serving.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Dessert
- Cuisine: Japanese
- Calories: 109.27
- Sugar: 12.48 g.
- Sodium: 12.62 mg.
- Fat: 2.16 g.
- Saturated Fat: 1.88 g.
- Carbohydrates: 22.15 g.
- Fiber: 0
- Protein: 0.95 g.
- Cholesterol: 0
Keywords: glutenous rice flour, coconut milk