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BAM 25: Vegan Build-a-Meal Nagaimo Pancake, Lemon Daikon, Myoga and Red Potato Miso Soup and Rice.

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Kabocha Dango with Tsubuan (Red bean)

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010
Last summer I went to my mom's friend's house in Otaru. She has a house on a hill with spectacular views of the ocean. She prepared us a lunch on her patio that consisted of imo mochi (potato paddies which are a Hokkaido specialty dish), corn and a few other Hokkaido delicacies. The imo mochi was so good that I went home to recreate it. She told me that she also makes a kabocha version of the imo mochi that are filled with tsubuan. Although I don't know for sure how she makes them, I decided to come up with a recipe on my own.

Ingredients (makes 10-12)
1/2 a medium kabocha or about 3.5 cups of peel and steamed kabocha or 490 grams
2/3 cup + 3 Tablespoons of katakuriko (potato starch) for soft dango*
OR 1 cup of katakuriko for firm dango
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt (less if you use iodized salt)
About 1/2 cup of tsubuan or about a tablespoon of tsubuan for each dango
1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon of black sesame seeds

1) Cut the kabocha into wedges and then into blocks.
2) Steam them for 6-9 minutes, depending on the size.
3) Let them cool and cut off the skin.
4) Mash them in a bowl with a potato masher or a pestle.
5) Add the katakuriko and salt. The amount of katakuriko varies depending on how moist the kabocha is. As a general rule of thumb, you'll want the mixture to feel be firm enough that it clears the bowl. The consistency should feel like your earlobe. Yes, strange analogy but it's used commonly as a way to describe the consistency of something in Japanese cooking.
6) Ball up about 50 grams of the kabocha and make a hole so that it looks like a little bowl. Ha that rhymes!
7) Fill the hole 3/4 of the way with tsubuan. (approx. 1 tablespoon)
8) Close the hole and gently flatten it out into a round disc. Add decorative lines with a knife and sesame seeds.
9) Heat up a frying pan and add the oil.
10) On low heat, fry each side for 2-3 minutes.

*You can substitute potato starch with corn starch.

Half of a medium kabocha will make 10-12 50 gram sized kabocha dangos.
Kabocha mochi-half a kabocha

Steam the kabocha in a large pot.
Kabocha mochi-steam kabocha until done

Mash kabocha with a pestle or a potato masher.
Kabocha mochi-mash kabocha

Add the katakuriko and salt. Katakuriko comes packaged in long slender bags like this.
Kabocha mochi-katakuriko

Add katakuriko until the mixture clears the sides of the bowl and is firm and not too sticky. It should feel like your earlobe.
Kabocha mochi-add katakuriko

Ball up about 50 grams of the mixture into a ball.
Kabocha mochi-ball up kabocha

Make a bowl out of the kabocha mixture.
Kabocha mochi-bowl

Fill it with tsubuan.
Kabocha mochi-fill with azuki

Large and small Kabocha dango.
Kabocha mochi-different sizes

Add decorative lines and black sesame seeds.
Kabocha mochi-add decorative lines

Put them into a frying pan with a little oil.
Kabocha mochi-fry

Serve it with a cup of green tea.
Kabocha mochi-served

Tsubuan filling.
Kabocha mochi-served 2

Beautiful! Do you know if these freeze well (either uncooked or cooked)? Thank you!
— Kat, March 9th, 2011
To be honest, these little dango have never lasted long enough to make it to the freezer. I'm guessing they won't freeze very well since it will alter the texture of kabocha which in my experience does not freeze well and gets a little spongy. They are ok in the fridge for a few days uncooked.
— Umamitopia, April 14th, 2011
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