Grilled Sticky Rice-on-a-Stick


Sticky rice treats are a staple in many Asian cuisines—as a sweet snack, as dessert, or in lieu of a bowl of rice as part of a meal. As a snack, Japanese sweets (wagashi) such as these dango are served particu- larly at celebrations like Children’s Day on May 5. These grilled rice balls are made with a mixture of sweet glutinous rice flour and plain rice flour. Using a combination helps in shaping the dango (they’d be soft and gooey if made with just the sweet rice flour).


½ cup rice flour

½ cup sweet glutinous rice flour

2 teaspoons sugar for the dough, plus 5 tablespoons sugar for the glaze

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, for grilling

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon mirin

1 tablespoon cornstarch

In a bowl, combine the two rice flours with the 2 teaspoons of sugar. Gradually stir 1 cup of warm water into the mixture, and knead slowly in the bowl until the dough becomes smooth. Divide the dough into 24 balls, about ¾ inch in diameter. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and set up an ice bath. Boil the dango for about 2 minutes, until the balls oat to the surface. Remove the dango and plunge them into the ice bath. Drain well.

Soak 6 bamboo skewers in water for about 10 minutes. Thread 4 rice balls onto each skewer. Oil a cast-iron skillet or grill pan with the vegetable oil, and heat it over medium-high heat. Place the skewers on the skillet and cook, slowly rotating them to char the rice balls, about 4 minutes.

Combine the 5 tablespoons of sugar, the soy sauce, mirin, and
¼ cup of water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, over medium-high heat. Add the cornstarch, and stir until the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Place the skewers on a serving platter. Brush some of the soy sauce glaze over the rice balls to coat them, and then repeat with a second coating. Serve immediately.