Monday, December 23, 2013

Tofu Dango

What to make for vegan friends? I prefer something that is by its very nature vegan. First and foremost would be a jar of speculoos if we were hanging solo. However, hosting a soirée requires something beyond two spoons. Try making tofu dango-- chewy glutinous rice balls made with tofu and coated with crushed black sesame seeds.

Shiratamako rice flour, made from glutinous rice, is lumpy or clumpy when dumped from the package. It can be found at an Asian store. Use either silk or firm tofu-- you may need more or less water depending on the tofu so focus on the texture of the dough that comes together-- it should be smooth and supple no breaking off in crumbles. Grind the sesame just enough to release some of the aroma and oils in the seeds, mix with sugar, and then roll the cooked tofu rice balls in the grainy mixture. Sesame is one of my absolute favorite tastes and is likely to appeal to a wide variety of friends. 

Tofu Dango
  • Silk or Firm Tofu, 1 block ~7 oz (200 gm)
  • Rice Flour (Shiratamako 白玉粉 lumpy glutinous), 7 oz (200 gm)
  • Water, ~7 oz
  • Black Sesame Seeds, ½ cup
  • Granulated Sugar, ½ cup

Drain the tofu. Combine rice flour and tofu in a bowl. Squeeze the tofu through your fingers into the flour until the lumps are gone. Add water as needed until a smooth white dough forms (if dry or crumbly add more water). Divide the dough in half. Roll the dough into a log, cut into even sized pieces. Roll each piece into a small ball about one-inch in diameter. Set aside until ready to cook. Repeat with remaining dough. 

Bring a pot of water to boil over medium high heat. Fill bowl with ice and water.

Add balls to boiling water and boil until they float, cooking an additional minute once they float. Remove balls and place them into a bowl of iced cold water to cool down. When the balls are cool, drain and place on a drainage rack. 

Grind the sesame seeds in a suribachi bowl or other type of grinding bowl such as a mortar and pestle to release the seeds' aroma and oil, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the ground sesame seeds to sugar and mix. Roll the drained balls into the mix one at a time until evenly coasted. In Japan, they are served skewered three to a stick. At my house, we put them on a plate and have at them with cocktail forks.

Makes ~40 balls.
Time: ~15 minutes

Tofu Dango with a Suribachi bowl in the back