Japanese Recipe: Dango San Kyodai (and song!)

by Dr. Jessie Voigts /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
Oct 22, 2020 / 2 comments

I LOVE Japanese food. One of my favorite party foods is a yummy rice-ball confection called Dango. We found a recipe for kushidango online, and adapted it. These are fantastic rice balls (mochi) that are steamed and grilled, adn served with a sauce. I remember eating them at festivals I went to, in Japan. They are really easy to make, and quite delicious! Here's the recipe:

Japanese Recipe: Dango San Kyodai (and song!)

KushiDango - Japanese Rice Balls Recipe

mix up and then form into 18 balls:

1 1/3 c glutinous rice flour
3/4 c warm water

Steam on high for 10 minutes. If you don't have a steamer, (or can't find yours) put some balls of foil in a large pan, fill the pan halfway with water, and then lay a dish cloth atop it.  Put the balls into some sort of flat dish, balance the dish on top of the balls, and put the lid of the pan on. Fold the edges of the dish cloth up onto the lid, away from the stove. Steam for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool.

Fire up your grill.

For the sauce, heat up 2/3 c water, 1/2 c sugar, and 3 T soy sauce.  When it boils, add this: 1.5 T cornstarch mixed with 2 T water. Stir it up & it is ready!

Now, this is our daughter's favorite part:

Thread the rice balls onto skewers. If you've remembered to soak the bamboo skewers in advance, bonus. We like three per skewer because of a famous Japanese kid's song, dango san kyodai (lyrics and link in a bit). Grill the rice balls, brushing with the sauce, for 5-10 minutes, until you get really nice char marks and they puff up a bit. Eat while still hot! Oishii!! (delicious!)

A Meal, with Song:

We sing along in Japanese, but here are the precious lyrics of dango san kyodai (the three brothers dango).

Sticky rice paste balls
Three of them in a row
Dipped in a soy based sauce
The three brothers Dango

The top one is the oldest brother, "Chonan"
The lowest one is the youngest, "Sannan"
In between is the middle brother, "Jinan"
The three brothers Dango

"Chonan" is anxious for his younger brothers.
"Sannan" feels anxious for "Chonan"
"I'm the best!" says "Jinan"
The three brothers Dango

"When we are re-born next time
We want to be on the same skewer again.
We want to be "koshi-an-dango" (with a bean
paste sauce instead of a soy based sauce)"

One day the brothers quarrel
about "yakiro" (the grill mark that
each has) and they moved apart
But soon they reconciled

Today they nap in the cupboard.
Carelessly they oversleep
Morning comes and they
Are hard and dry.

In spring there is blossom viewing
In autumn there is moon-viewing
But dango can be had all year round.
The three brothers Dango.

dango dango dango dango
dango san kyodai
dango san kyodai
dango san kyodai


and, here's the video! Eat, Sing, and Enjoy!





Note: this article was originally published in 2008, and updated in 2020. STILL DELICIOUS!


Comments (2)

  • AndreaMeyers

    15 years 7 months ago

    ...because this snack sounds great to me! Have you seen the You Tube videos? There are a couple dango-san kyodai parodies that are quite funny. Thanks for sharing the recipe, I must try it!

    Teaching Abroad Editor

  • Dr. Jessie Voigts

    15 years 7 months ago

    before i shared them with lillie!! what a hoot - thanks!


    Jessie Voigts

    Publisher, wanderingeducators.com

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