Kibidango : Momotaro’s Sweet Millet Dumplings from Okayama
Have you ever read the famous Japanese fairy tale titled “Momotaro (桃太郎)”? which, as you may know, is referred to as “Peach Boy” (Amazon.com) in English-speaking countries.
In the story, the peach boy, Momotaro gives a food called “Kibi-Dango (きびだんご)” to a talking dog, monkey, and green pheasant and befriends them.
Contents : Kibidango
What is Kibidango (きびだんご) ?
Image : Goo Blog Takeo 1213
Actually, Kibidango is a traditional Japanese rice dumpling famous as a specialty of Okayama Prefecture, where the small, soft, sweet rice dumpling is one of the most popular souvenirs.
Kibidango is a rice dumpling consisting of millet powder and “Gyuhi (求肥)”. Gyuhi is one of the essential ingredients for making “Wagashi (和菓子)” traditional Japanese confections.
The food, Gyuhi is made by kneading a mixture of glutinous rice flour, sugar, and starch syrup.
Therefore, Kibidango is a Gyuhi in itself, even though millet powder is sometimes mixed with the Gyuhi as the confection name “Kibi Dango” is translated as “Millet Dumpling”.
As a matter of fact, some Japanese confectionery makers produce the rice dumpling Kibidango with millet powder, but others don’t use millet.
Kibidango has a gentle, refined sweetness and is very soft in texture, which are somewhat similar to those of soft gummy candies.
The Origin of Kibidango
It is said that the Okayama’s specialty rice dumpling Kibidango originated in the confectionery company located in the city of Okayama “Koeido (廣榮堂)”, which created the original Kibidango about 160 years ago.
Now in Okayama, there are 2 companies named Koeido producing Kibidango, because the originator of Kibidango “Koeido (廣榮堂)” was devided into the 2 companies “Koeido-Honten (廣榮堂本店)” and “Koeido-Takeda (廣榮堂武田)”.
Another Kibidango in Hokkaido
Image : hokkaidolikers.com
Actually, there is one more famous Kibidando in Japan, which is completely different from that of Okayama.
The Kibidango “Nihonichi Kibidango (日本一きびだんご)” is a kind of Dagashi candy and is sold mainly in Hokkaido.
The Hokkaido’s Kibidango is a Mochi-like candy made with glutinous rice, sugar, malt syrup, sweet red bean paste and so on, which is covered with a wafer sheet.