Chi Chi Dango

I”ve lived in California for 7 years now.  Even though it has become a good second home to me (despite allergies), I miss Hawaii sometimes.  I miss my three F”s: family, friends, and FOOD!!  I”ve been trying to cook like my mom, but it rarely turns out the same.  I”ve also been trying to cook and bake other things that brings back wonderful memories for me.

Chi chi dango is a popular treat in Hawaii.  It”s like mochi, but there”s no filling.  It”s just plain, soft, chewy, sweetness!  I remember the first time I had it.  I was in kindergarten and my teacher made it to celebrate Girl”s Day (Hinamatsuri in Japanese).  It was pink and white.  I always looked forward to Girl”s Day when I was little because either my teacher or one of my classmates parents would bring in chi chi dango to share.  Even my parents (Mr. and Mrs. Chinese-food-only) learned how to make it!

I decided to make it for the first time this New Year”s and brought it over to the Watanabe New Year Celebration-Eat-All-Day-Fest.  I had no idea that it was pretty easy to make.  When Halley started to make plans for this birthday party, I told him I wanted to make his cake.  He didn”t want cake, but one of the things he requested was chi chi dango.

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Chi chi dango is usually cut into rectangles.  This is a 3 layer one I made for New Years.

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I got creative this time and used a mini round cookie cutter.

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Whee!!

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The only downside about using a cookie cutter was that I ended up with odd pieces, like these star looking things.  I put them in a different container because I thought they weren”t as pretty, but they got eaten anyway.  Halley probably ate most of them.  I caught him shoving like 5 in his mouth and probably would”ve put more in if I didn”t tell him to stop.

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I also got pieces that looked like weird animals and bridges.

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A doggie and an elephant …?

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My round cookie cutter set comes in different sizes so I made myself a donut. Tee hee hee!

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Halley mentioned mochi ice cream, but I failed miserably when I tried to make it.  So here was my alternative.  Chi chi dango with ice cream on top!  I”m calling this my cheater mochi ice cream.

I didn”t think about taking pictures or posting a tutorial until I was half way through cutting these.  Fail.  So I apologize for my lack of pictures and their quality.  I was too lazy to pull out a better camera.  I”ll do better next time.  BUT!  I can give you the recipe to one of my favorite Hawaii treats!

Ingredients:
1 box (1 pound) Mochiko flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 can (12 ounces) coconut milk
1 3/4 cups water
1 teaspoon vanilla
Food coloring (I only had pink chi chi dango when I was little, but didn”t think Halley would like pink so I used blue)
Potato starch (for dusting)
Ice Cream (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9″ x 13″ pan.  In a bowl, mix mochiko flour, sugar, and baking powder.  In a separate bowl, whisk coconut milk, water, and vanilla.  Slowly add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until it”s smooth and there are no lumps.
Scoop out 3 cups of the batter into another bowl.  Add 2-3 drops of food coloring.  Pour colored mixture into the pan and cover tightly with foil.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove foil (be careful because its steamy) and pour white batter over the colored layer.  Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove foil and allow the chi chi dango to cool overnight.  Dust your cutting area with potato starch and flip the pan over to take out the chi chi dango.  Depending on your online casinos oven and pan, the chi chi dango might have some crispy edges.  I cut them off because some people don”t like them.  It”s actually my favorite part so I set them aside for myself hehehe! Use a plastic knife to cut the chi chi dango because they stick to regular kitchen knives.  Cut the chi chi dango into rectangles or use a cookie cutter if you want a different shape.  Coat each piece in potato starch.
I pre-scooped my ice cream so people didn”t have to wait long for dessert.  It”s chocolate chip ice cream in the picture, but I also used green tea ice cream.  Just line a container with wax paper and use a small cookie scoop to scoop the ice cream and put them in the freezer for a few hours.
Store leftover chi chi dango in an air tight container.  They”re good for about 2 days.

I LOVE to cook and bake, and very particular about the tools I use.  In case you”re looking into buying cookie scoops or cookie cutters, these are the ones I recommend.  I”m just happy that I”m not only using these for cookies now.
Ateco Cookie Cutter Set – I bought the round ones after using the square ones for one of my Christmas cookies.  I like that they come in their own container so they can be neatly put away.  They”re also nice and sharp.  Maybe I”ll buy the animal shaped ones so I can stop making my own. 😛  I”m keeping my eyes peeled for a cherry blossom shaped one.  That would be so pretty, don”t cha think?
OXO Good Grips Cookie Scoop – I have all three sizes and used the small one for the ice cream.  I like these because like the name says, it has a good grip.  OXO is known for their ergonomic friendly products and these fit comfortably in my hands.  I”ve used some other scoopers before and they get stuck or they”re hard to squeeze, but these ones are are easy to use and has a nice release.  Also, the OCD in me likes to have everything the same size.

I had a lot of fun making one of my favorite childhood treats, especially since I thought of a different way to cut them.  I hope you will try making these, or let me make them for you!  Aloha!

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