Shiba inu dango

shiba inu dango

Mitarashi dango is a popular Japanese treat, served on bamboo sticks, covered mainly with sticky soy sauce or sweet bean paste. It is a popular treat served at festivals, and also something you may have noticed among your Instagram emojis. Today I made the popular shiba inu dango, or at least I tried to get the shape right.

I already learned to make classic dango last year, but this time I decided to do things a bit differently. Typically, there are 3 to 5 small dumplings on each bamboo stick, and sometimes they come in different colors, mainly green, red and yellow.

The recipe is completely the same as the one for classic dango. The only difference is the shape, and it is really easy to make.

A piece of advice

Much like the other Japanese treats I made recently, this recipe is super simple. But as always, I have to mention a few things that could make it even easier for you. You won’t need a steamer for this one, but you will need some bamboo sticks and ice. And I also used chopsticks to mix everything, but if you don’t have any, that’s okay. You can just use a regular or a wooden spoon.

First of all, this dough may dry out pretty fast, but that is not a big deal. If you find it difficult to shape the dumplings, just wet your hands with some water. You can do the same to fix some cracks and lumps if there are any. And cover the dough you are not using with a plastic wrap or a kitchen towel so it doesn’t dry out.

Dango in green, white and pink color is also very popular. You can make this by dividing the flour into 3 bowls. Add a teaspoon of matcha powder to one, a teaspoon of red beet powder to the second one and leave the third one as it is. Then form the dango dumplings as you normally would, just divide the water into 3 equal parts.

This time I made the shiba shape. People usually use black sesame seeds for eyes and very thin pieces of seaweed (the sheets you would use for sushi) for mouth and butts. I couldn’t find any black sesame and didn’t feel like buying seaweed for this purpose only. So I just used some black food dye on a piece of dango dough and made these tiny elements. I don’t recommend you do that, it is much harder and when the dough dries out it will not be edible. I did it only for the aesthetics. 

When the dango has cooled down in iced water and while you’re making the sauce, leave the dumplings on a wet surface or a wet plate. This way the vegan shiba inu dango will not stick to the surface.

I used these measurements to make 3 skewers for myself, with 2 dumplings each (head and butt). However, if you need more, adjust the measurements.

Mix all the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan before putting it on the stove. Heat the sauce on medium heat while mixing constantly. If you mix the ingredients on a warm stove, some lumps will form, and you don’t want that to happen. As you heat the sauce it will become thicker. Remove from stove when you are satisfied with the texture. But don’t let it be too watery, you need it to stick to your shiba dumplings.

Shiba inu dango

Recipe by Margo DrobiCourse: Sweet, Sweet


  • 50 g of rice flour (Joshinko)

  • 50 g of glutinous rice flour (sweet rice flour)

  • 75 ml of warm water

  • 40 g of sugar

  • 3 bamboo sticks

  • For the sauce:
  • 75 ml of water

  • 1 tbsp of corn starch

  • 3 tbsp of soy sauce

  • 2 tbsp of sugar

  • For the decoration:
  • Black sesame seeds (for the eyes)

  • Thin strips of sushi seaweed (for the mouths and butts)

  • *Read explanation in the advice part of the post.


  • In a deep bowl mix together the rice flour, sugar and glutinous rice flour. Gradually add the warm water while mixing (using chopsticks). When everything is well combined and lumps start to form, start kneading the dough. Transfer it onto a flat surface and knead into a smooth and soft dough.
  • Divide it in 6 very small (for noses and tails) and 6 larger pieces (for 3 skewers). Set a tiny piece aside in order to make 6 eyebrows. Roll each piece into a ball, flatten them with your palm and shape the ears and butts using your hands. Brush the noses and tails with a little bit of water and gently press them on the right places, so that they stick.
  •  Cover them with a kitchen towel or a plastic wrapper. Bring a pot of water to boil. Put all of the dumplings in the pot and let them cook. Mix constantly with a pair of chopsticks so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. When the dumplings rise to the top, they are cooked.
  • Put some water and a few ice cubes in a large bowl. Put the dumplings in the water and let them cool down completely. After they have cooled, gently put two of them on each bamboo stick. Place them on a wet surface or plate so they don’t stick to it.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the sticky soy sauce. Put all of the ingredients in a small pot. Mix everything together. Stir slowly and constantly on medium heat. As the heat increases, the sauce will become thicker. When it is thick enough for your taste, remove from the heat.
  • Pour the sticky soy sauce on a serving plate, but leave some of it behind. Place the shiba inu dango on top of the sauce. Take a brush and smear the remaining sticky sauce on top of the shiba heads and butts, like in the pictures. Place the eyes, noses, butts and eyebrows on the right places.
  • Serve them while they are warm. These measurements make 3 skewers with 2 dumplings on each bamboo stick.

If you liked this recipe, make sure you check out my other recipes like:

– vegan mitarashi dango

– pumpkin sticky rice cakes

– savory rice cakes

Feel free to tell me what you think about this in the comments below, or send me the pictures of your own vegan shiba inu dango. If you did something differently, I would also like to hear that, I’d love to see the things you come up with. 

P.S. for more recipes like this and a bunch of other stuff, follow me on Instagram, @margo_drobi.

Also, I recently started a Patreon page, where you can subscribe and help me create more/better content. In return, you will get an exclusive piece of content (recipe) each month. My plan is to increase the amount of that content if I gain a few subscribers. If you are interested and you want to find out more, I will leave the link to my Patreon right – here.

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