This Kabocha Dango is an easy Japanese pumpkin dessert with only 2 ingredients. Mix mashed kabocha and starch and pan-fry. That's it! It's chewy, starchy, and so tasty!
Kabocha (Japanese pumpkin/Japanese squash) is one of our staple vegetables. We cook it for the main dish, side dish, soup, salad, and also dessert.
In this recipe, I will show you how to make a super easy kabocha dessert.
You will need just 2 ingredients, kabocha and potato starch. It's a simple recipe that even small kids can make it!
- This recipe is for you if:
- You love kabocha (pumpkin/squash)
- You want to know how to cook kabocha
- You are looking for an easy kabocha recipe
Let me walk you through the ingredients and how to make it with step by step instructions.
Let's get started!
About this recipe
- Japanese kabocha (pumpkin/squash) recipe
- A delicious, chewy, and easy to make
- It will come with a glaze recipe
- Other variations of kabocha dango
What is Kabocha Dango?
First of all, let me explain what dango means in case you are not familiar with this word.
Dango is a Japanese dessert in the shape of small balls on a skewer. It is made from rice flour, so it's chewy like mochi (rice cake).
Kabocha dango doesn't use rice flour nor skewer, but it has a similar chewy texture, so we call it dango.
You can also make dango with starchy vegetables such as potatoes or sweet potatoes.
By the way, kabocha dango is Hokkaido's (northern island of Japan) local food. I'm from there, so this is my childhood snack!
Here are the ingredients (amounts are in the recipe card below).
- Potato starch
Only two ingredients!
So this means that the result depends on the taste of the kabocha itself.
Kabocha's harvest time is summer, but fall is the best season after going through drying and aging, and the taste becomes richer and sweeter.
It might contain more water and be less sweet when it's not in season.
So it would be better to taste the cooked kabocha first, then tweak the amount of potato starch, or you might want to add some sweetness to the taste.
By the way, if you are unsure how to cut and pick a kabocha, check out this recipe, "How to cut a Kabocha squash."
All right, you have all the ingredients now? Let't make it! Please watch how to make in this video also!
- Steam kabocha: Put a steamer in a pot and add water. Cut the kabocha into small pieces, put them in the pan, cover it, and heat it over medium heat. (You can boil it or microwave it)
- Steam kabocha: When it's boiling, lower the heat and steam for about 10 minutes. When it's done, check if it's cooked through with a skewer.
- Make a dough: Transfer the kabocha (include skin) to a bowl, add potato starch, and mash to make a dough. You can eat the skin, but if you don't like it, you can remove it.
- Make a round shape: Grab a piece of dough, roll it, and press it with your palm to form a shape. If the dough is loose, add more potato starch.
- Pan-fry: Heat a frying pan over medium heat, pour some oil, place the kabocha dango and cook for 2 minutes.
- Pan-fry: Turn it over and cook for another 2 minutes.
Here you go! Enjoy these yummy dango while hot!
Serve with dango glaze (see below) to add more flavor if you like!
Mitarashi Dango Glaze
Mitarashi dango is a popular dango skewered onto sticks and sweet and savory glaze on the top.
If you want something sweet on kabocha dango, please try this "Mitarashi dango glaze"!
Ingredients are sugar, soy sauce, mirin, potato starch, and water (Amounts are in the recipe card below).
- Add sugar, soy sauce, and mirin in a pot over medium heat, bring it to a boil,
- Mix water and potato starch in a small bowl
- Add it to the pot, and cook until thickened
Pour it over kabocha dango, or dip it. This is fun!
It will last up to 5 days in the fridge and one month in the freezer.
Freeze them before cooking, and pan-fry them without thawing when eating.
It's delicious as it is, but if you add one more step, it will be so special!
- Mitarashi dango glazes: Pour mitarashi dango glaze over (see above).
- Anko (red bean paste): Stuff a small ball of anko in and pan fry.
- Oshiruko (red bean soup)：Put pan fried kabocha dango in a oshiruko.
- Sesame seed：Coat sesame seeds on kabocha dango and pan fry.
- Cheese: Stuff a small piece of cheese in and pan fry.
Kabocha Dango Soup
Besides dessert, kabocha dango is also delicious in soup, such as Japanese miso soup, clear soup, tomato soup, and cream stew.
Please put them in a soup a few minutes before the soup is cooked. It's a perfect side dish for cold days.
Thanks For Stopping By
This is the most simple and easy kabocha recipe that I repeatedly make, especially in the fall.
Our kids love it so much, so even if I make a bunch, it will be gone quickly! I hope you will love it too!
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog♡ If you’ve tried this recipe(or any other recipe on the blog), please give it a star rating below!
Also feel free to leave comments if you have any questions. I love hearing from you!
Chef JA Cooks is a Japanese food blog that shares simple and healthy Japanese home cooking recipes, including vegan and vegetarian. From traditional Japanese recipes to modern recipes with step-by-step instructions.
More Kabocha (Japanese Pupkin) Recipes You Might Like
- How to cook Kabocha Squash
- Kabocha Tempura
- Pumpkin Miso Soup
- Veggie-loaded Kabocha Soup
- Kabocha Salad With Egg
- Vegan Pumpkin Muffins
Kabocha Dango (Japanese Pumpkin Dessert)Print Pin SAVE SAVED!
- ¼ Kabocha, Japanese pumpkin (250g)
- 2 tablespoon Potato starch
- 1 tablespoon Oil for cooking
- Steam kabocha: Cut kabocha into small pieces and steam them in a pot for about 10mins
- Make a dough: Transfer the kabocha to a bowl, add potato starch, and mash to make a dough.
- Make a round shape: Grab a piece of dough, roll it, and press it with your palm to form a shape.
- Pan-fry: Heat a frying pan over medium heat, pour some oil, place the kabocha dango and pan fry for 2 minutes for each side
- Mitarashi glaze: Add sugar, soy sauce, and mirin to a pot over medium heat, bring it to a boil, add a mixture of water and potato starch, and cook until thickened
- Equipment: A frying pan 22cm (8.6 inches), a pot for steaming kabocha
- Storage: It will last for three days in the fridge and one month in the freezer.
- Portion: This will make 15 pieces dango 5 cm (2 inches) round in shape.
- You can also boil or microwave kabocha instead of steaming.
- When cooking in a frying pan, if you press kabocha a little with a spatula, the entire surface will be cooked well and make them more fragrant and delicious.
- You can eat the kabocha skin, but you can remove it if you don't like it.
I have written a children's vegetable cookbook and have never heard of pumpkin Dango. Can you tell me where the name comes from and if this dish is served with anything else? I definitely will try it! I ailso have a children's cooking column in Grandparents Day Magazine-4waystoyummy. Thank you very much!
Thanks for your comment! Children's vegetable cookbook sounds great! Pumpkin dango(sweet dumpling) is local food from hokkaido(north island of japan) where is main produce area of pumpkin. It's perfect snack for kids and our children love it. We usually eat as it is but sometime i cook it in miso soup or red been soup which is good too. Hope you like it!
You so much for this recipe! Does the steamed kabocha need to be cooled before adding starch? Thank you!
Hi Luka, thanks for your comment! No need to cool it down. It's easier to add potato starch while kabocha is hot. I hope you enjoy the recipe!
I tried to make this recipe tonight but messed it up! The dough ended up really stretchy and mochi-like. I think I oversteamed the pumpkin so it was too wet and added too much potato starch. Very annoying as in the recipe they look delicious!
Hi Bron, Thanks for trying kabocha dango recipe! I'm sorry it didn't come out good...I understand cos that happens to me many times too. This recipe is pretty simple so taste and texture is pretty depend on kabocha itself. Some kabocha contains more water and it's so wet when it's cooked. In that case, please add potato starch gradually. So I suggest try to pick a starchy kabocha when you go to a store. If the seeds are full and stringy pulp is tightly packed(if you buy cut kabocha), it is a sign that it's aged good and starchy and sweet. I hope you will have a good result next time!
Flavor is great and the sauce is a wonderful recipe to have as well! So simple and so delicious. _/\_
Same happened to me, with an aged kabocha that was olive green and orange with dry pulp. My mistake though was to use a pressure cooker instead of a steamer. Maybe letting the squash sit in the water, plus the pressure, added too much moisture.
My solution was to spread it on an oiled baking sheet, 350°F oven for 20 minutes to dry out before then frying it in squares. Still a bit mochi-like inside, but better!
Hi Ricky! Thank you for trying the recipe and sharing your solution! That is a great idea 😉
Hi. I would like to make this, but I don't have Mirin. Is that required for the sauce? Is there something non-alcoholic as a substitute? Thank you.
Hi Chava, thanks for your question! Mirin adds sweetness so you can add more sugar (1/2-1 Tbsp) instead or you can just omit it. I hope you will like the recipe!
Can I use corn starch instead of potato starch?
Yes, you can!
Hi! This is my first time seeing this interesting recipe, and would love to try it! However, I cannot eat starches. Do you think the potato starch can be replaced with something like coconut flour or a nut flour as a binder to hold the patties together? Without the starch, the texture will probably not be chewy and be more like a flat pancake?
Hi Sharon, Thanks for your comment! I haven't tried but regular flour should work ok (less chewy though) so coconut flour or nut flour might be ok too. I hope it helps!
this is such a great idea for kabocha squash! The simple ingredient list and easy preparation was great. The taste is so yummy. I took your suggestion to add cheese and I think I like it better that way (is there anything cheese doesn't improve?). Thank you for the out-of-the-box use for kabocha!
Hi Julie, Glad to hear you enjoyed it! Thanks for trying the kabocha dango recipe!!