Chi Chi Dango is Hawaiis favorite children’s dessert, and it is so easy to make! A staple on Girls Day and Boys day in the islands, this treat brings back fond memories of sticky fingers and childhood friends. The hardest part about this recipe is waiting for the mochi to cool…and not eating the whole tray!
Chi Chi Dango is a chewy sticky treat made with sweet rice flour(glutinous rice flour), coconut milk, and sugar as the main ingredients. A drop of red or blue food coloring gives the mochi color, and each square or rectangle is rolled in potato starch for cleaner eating.
Growing up on the island of Kauai, Chi Chi Dango was a huge part of our childhood! That, and Butter Mochi, and of course the hot Malasadas sold fresh outside of K-Mart, rolled in cinnamon sugar.
Hawaiians love a good comfort food, and this is made special for the kids as the perfect light dessert. These sticky mochi squares are perfectly chewy and, dare I say, even better a couple of days later cold from the fridge! But they taste great fresh, too, of course.
What does Chi Chi mean?
Chi Chi means frilly or beautiful in Japanese, and Dango is a type of mochi/dumpling. So Chi Chi Dango are pretty little mochi things!
How To Make Chi Chi Dango
Chi Chi Dango is very easy to make and takes an hour to bake. After that, it needs to sit and rest a bit(at which point it actually softens), and then it gets sliced and dusted in starch, which makes it less sticky.
- Sweet rice flour, otherwise called Mochiko Rice Flour or Glutinous Rice Flour. Do not try to use regular rice flour!!
- Coconut Milk or Coconut Cream (a half a can which is 3/4 cup)
- Baking Powder
- Vanilla Extract for flavor
- Blue or Red Food coloring
- Potato Starch/ Tapioca Starch/more Sweet rice flour
You will need two bowls to make this recipe, and an 8×10″ baking dish.
- First combine the dry ingredients with a whisk.
- Then Whisk together the coconut milk and water.
- Slowly add the dry to the wet, whisking continuously to get out any lumps. So easy!!!
- Make sure to spray the baking tray with spray oil to prevent the mochi from sticking. Do not use parchment paper because it is impossible to unstick mochi from that stuff!
- Bake for one hour, and then turn off the oven and let the mochi sit in there and cool down, for 15 minutes, or overnight, if you have patience.
- Slice, dust with starch, and serve!
TIP: Dust liberally with your preferred starch to prevent sticking, slice into squares, and then roll each piece in more starch to coat all the sticky edges.
TIP: Use a pizza cutter for the easiest slicing. If you don’t have that, use a plastic knife. Mochi sticks to a metal knife!
TIP: Once each piece is dusted, place in a strainer and shake off all the excess starch.
Should you Refrigerate Dango?
Chi Chi Dango can sit at room temperature for 24 hours, after that refrigerate in an airtight container (for up to 5 days).
I think Dango tastes best cold straight from the fridge(it has a bit of a thicker consistency), but it is delicious served hot or cold. As it sits at room temperature it softens a bit.
You can cut the mochi into squares or rectangles, or smaller bite sited cubes.
I hope you love this Chi Chi Dango as much as we do! For a full Hawaiian meal also make: Hawaii style Kalbi Ribs, Huli Huli Chicken skewers, and Ahi Katsu. Enjoy!
Chi Chi Dango
Chi Chi Dango:
- 1 1/4 cup glutinous rice flour/mochiko rice flour
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 cup coconut cream or coconut milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- a drop blue or red/pink food coloring
- 1/4 cup potato starch/tapioca starch/ more glutinous rice flour
- In a large bowl, combine glutinous rice flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt with a whisk.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together coconut milk, water, and vanilla.
- Slowly add the dry ingredient to the wet, whisking continuously to prevent lumps. When smooth, add in a drop of food coloring. (you can omit this but it is so much more fun to choose a color!).
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.Spray a 8×10" baking dish with spray oil and pour in the batter. Cover with aluminum foil, making sure not to touch the foil to the top of the mochi batter. Bake for one hour. Turn off the oven. Leave the mochi in to cool down for 15 minutes minimum or overnight.Remove from the oven and uncover, and let sit until cooled down completely Dust your work surface with potato starch and use a metal spatula to loosen up the edges of the mochi. The edges will be hard but they will soften as they cool.Transfer the mochi to the dusted surface and dust the second side with starch as well.
Slice and Serve
- Slice with a pizza cutter into squares or rectangles. Fill a bowl with 1/4 cup potato starch (or just dump it into a pile next to your work space), and roll each sliced square so the sticky cut edges are coated in starch.Place cut pieces into a strainer and shake to get off the excess starch. Arrange on a platter to serve immediately or place each square in a muffin holder to serve. Store in an airtight container and place in the fridge for up to 5 days. Do not leave mochi at room temperature more than 24 hours or it will get too soft. Enjoy!
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