- Main lore areas
- Main ingredients used
sweet potatoes, wheat flour, sweet bean paste
- History/origin/related events
Ikinari dango" is a simple local snack made by wrapping sliced sweet potatoes in flour dough and steaming them. Because of the volcanic ash in Otsu, the largest producer of sweet potatoes in the prefecture, and other areas around the foot of Mt. Aso, farmers in the Kikuchi Plain and Kumamoto Plain used to make these dumplings as a snack to eat during the fall farming season when sweet potatoes are harvested. The word "ikinari" in "ikinari dango" means "easy, quick, or immediately" in the Kumamoto dialect, and the origin of the name is said to be that the dumplings can be made quickly and easily, and can be served immediately even when there are sudden visitors.
The dough for the skin is made of wheat flour and dango flour (and salt), but in the days when rice was precious, it was made of wheat flour only. A few decades ago, azuki bean paste was added to the filling, and it has become a mainstream item because of its popularity with the sweetness of the azuki bean paste and the saltiness of the dough, which goes well with the crunchy sweet potatoes. Recently, the dough has been mixed with mugwort and brown sugar, sprinkled with soybean flour, and filled with purple sweet potatoes, chestnuts, walnuts, and other ingredients, with variations gradually increasing. Although originally a warm snack to be eaten freshly made, cold ikinari dumplings made from frozen dumplings and eaten half-frozen have also made their appearance.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
Originally, sweet potatoes were made and eaten at home when they were in season, but they are now sold at specialty stores, Japanese confectionery stores, and street stalls, where they are eaten on a daily basis. The traditional, not-too-sweet and gentle flavor is popular for tea cakes and children's snacks.
- How to eat
As a snack, eat it while it is freshly made and hot. Souvenirs are frozen and can be heated in a microwave or steamer.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
(Overview of the people who have passed down the tradition, preservation groups, use of SNS, and modern efforts such as commercialization, etc.)
Kumamoto's souvenirs are well known throughout the country, and there are many specialty stores. It is often prepared at local cooking classes, and many people make it at home. It is also served as a dessert in school lunches.