Grandma Miyoshi’s Dango jiru

Every time Lisa Nakamura makes dango jiru, she is transported back to her late grandmother’s kitchen in Kapoho, Hawaii. Dango refers to dumplings and most recipes call for dumplings made with mochi (sweet rice flour). Grandma Miyoshi’s version is extra special–and very Hawaiian; not only does it use all-purpose flour for noodles, it has spam in it! The soup is meant to be jam-packed (“I guess we pretty much ate it as it was cooking, so there never seemed to be the ‘crowding’ issue,” says Lisa), so add more water if you prefer.

Time: 1 hour
Makes: 4 to 6 servings

1 cup cold water
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 (12-oz) can Spam, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced into crescents
1 large head of mustard cabbage, trimmed and cut into thirds
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into thin coins (about 1 cup)
1 bunch mizuna
1 bunch watercress, stems trimmed and cut into half
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar

Chinese hot mustard paste for dipping (or mix mustard powder with water)
2 stalks green onions, chopped into ‘O’s for garnish

In a large bowl, combine water and 2 cups flour to form a dough as soft as your earlobe (yes, those are Lisa’s grandmother’s instructions). Add remaining flour 1 tablespoon at a time until dough no longer sticks to your hands as you mix it.

Take dough out of the bowl and knead it on a well-floured surface for about 5 minutes, or until texture is smooth. Set dough on a floured surface, cover it with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.

While dough is resting, make the soup.

In a large 6-quart pot, bring 6 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Add spam, onions and carrots and bring soup to a boil again. Simmer soup, covered, over medium-low heat for 30 minutes.

Throw in vegetables and cook until they are just tender, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add salt, soy sauce and sugar.

On a well-floured surface, roll out dough into a 12×12-inch square, and about 1/8-inch thick. Cut dough into strips about 1-inch wide. Pull gently on the noodle to thin it out. (If you prefer you can cut it in half too).

Raise heat to medium-high. Place each noodle into the bubbling soup, careful not to bunch it up. Repeat until all the dough has been used. Cook the noodles until “al dente,” bearing in mind that all-purpose flour will have a softer texture than regular pasta. About 6 to 8 minutes.

Ladle soup and noodles into big bowls and scatter green onions over. Serve steaming hot with Chinese mustard and extra soy sauce in dipping dishes.

See what one of my recipe testers says about this recipe at


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