Soy sauce dumpling (醤油だんご)

Soy sauce dumpling
This is a rice dumpling covered with kudzu sauce seasoned with soy sauce and sugar. It is also called "mitarashi dango."

It is a dumpling basted mainly with soy sauce. It is described below in detail.

A soy sauce dumpling is made with a steamed dumpling lightly covered with soy sauce. Unlike mitarashi dango, sweet kudzu starch sauce is not used. It is characterized in the saltiness of soy sauce itself, and this seasoning brings out the sweetness of the dumpling.


A soy sauce dumpling originated as offerings to a shrine or a household Shinto altar, i.e., offerings to the gods, and it is said that five dumplings on a skewer expresses a man's whole body. Since dumplings for offerings to gods were only steamed, they became dried and hard when served after the prayer. Therefore, it seems that the dumplings were eaten after roasted and dipped into raw soy sauce.

The "mitarashi dango" that were sold in front of Shimogamo-jinja Shrine gate were originally soy sauce dumplings as described above. However, in 1922, the Kamo Mitarashi Tea House was opened in front of Shimogamo-jinja Shrine gate, and they sold dumplings covered with sweet sauce made with brown sugar and soy sauce. This dumpling became quite popular. Since then, the name of "mitarashi dango" and its recipe using a sweet kudzu starch sauce, spread nationwide.

Although "soy sauce dumpling" may mean "mitarashi dango" nowadays, here, "soy sauce dumpling" are made in accordance with the old recipe before the appearance of "mitarashi dango." However, since "soy sauce dumplings" that have remained in various districts are merchandised nowadays, there are variety of recipes that have changed from the old recipe, such as, dipping hot steamed dumplings into raw soy sauce, roasting and dipping dumplings into soy sauce, and something similar to Isobe rice cake.

Steamed dumpling covered with soy sauce.

Steamed dumpling that is roasted and covered with soy sauce.

Steamed dumpling that is dipped into soy sauce and then roasted.

When a dumpling is roasted, it may be prepared like Isobe rice cake; it may be sprinkled with seaweed seasonings, wrapped with dried seaweed, or dipped into soy sauce seasoned with wasabi.

Soy sauce dumplings of various districts

Central district of Morioka City, Iwate Prefecture
Skewered dumpling: about five small rounded dumplings are on a bamboo stick and lightly covered with raw soy sauce. The old recipe of soy sauce dumpling is probably used.

Yamagata City, Yamagata Prefecture
Dumplings are prepared and seasoned like Isobe rice cake. They are sold with seaweed seasonings sprinkled on or covered with wasabi soysauce.

From the Tama district, Tokyo to southern Saitama Prefecture
Its characteristic is that soy sauce is put on when dumplings are roasted. Dumplings are sold with or without dried seaweed wrapped around, and those with dried seaweed are also called Isobe dumplings.

Hida district, Gifu Prefecture
After roasting a dumpling lightly, soy sauce is put on, and it is roasted again. See "midarashi dango" for reference (notice the pronunciation and the notation).

[Original Japanese]