May 31, 2022

Up Auntie's Dango

Part 4 of AACP's Comfort Food Series

By Susan Tanioka

When my family visited relatives in Papa’aloa, Hawaii, Up Auntie* or her daughter, Mitsue, made this for breakfast.

Cooking was done on a kerosene stove using a large cast iron pan. A big gob of Crisco was melted in the pan to keep the dango from sticking. They made one large dango. When sufficiently cooked, they’d hang it on a nail next to the stove to cool. The dango was cut in a pie shape so everyone got some crispy crust. I make my dango smaller because it’s easier to flip and for health reasons, I use vegetable oil. I have cooling racks so I don’t have to hang my dango on a nail.

Auntie never measured, just dumped ingredients in a bowl. I prevailed upon Mitsue to show me how to make dango so she eyeballed amounts and I measured them to come up with this recipe. She did this with other cousins so all of our recipes are similar, but not exactly the same. My sister sometimes adds applesauce or mashed bananas to the batter.

*Up Auntie lived on a hill and her sister, Down Auntie, lived farther down the hill. Up Auntie was married to Up Uncle, and Down Auntie lived with, well, you get the picture. We never knew their names until we were much older.




3 cups flour

1 cup sugar

6 tsp. baking powder

Pinch of salt


Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl.

Add enough water to make a thick pancake batter.

Oil a frying pan on medium heat. Use a spoon to drop batter onto pan like pancakes.

The batter will spread a little. When bubbles appear around the edges, turn and brown the other side. When done, place on a wire rack.

Makes around 16 small pancakes.