Vegan Pumpkin Dumpling お月見だんご [Recipes, Fall 秋レシピ]

日本語のレシピは ビーガン情報サイト "Hachidory" で ご覧ください。

The summer has faded away and hello to the autumn.


The rice can be harvested soon.

The persimmon is still a bit too green.

The chestnut is ready to be taken.

The first thing that comes up to my mind when I feel the autumn air, is my fond memory of “Otsukimi”/ a moon viewing day.

When I was young, this traditional event was practiced in a family unit in Japan.

I used to love this elegant event.


On the day of Ostukimi, I and my sister went to the riverside to cut and collect some susuki, the silver grass, in the evening.

When we were back home, the tiny table was set at the engawa, the corridor facing east south side with all the windows fully opened.  

On the table, there were rice dumplings that my mother made, and pears and grapes gracefully decorated. 

We put the silver grass in the vase placed beside those foods.

The engawa was transformed into the very cozy area.

After dinner we moved there, and enjoyed moon viewing in a nostalgic mood.

It was said that a rabbit was pounding the glutinous rice on the moon, and I used to believe it and try to find the rabbit there.  

Somehow, I always found her there and felt good about it.

It was such a romantic moment !

But I remember that I was more looking forward to the next moment.

When the moon had enjoyed the food that we offered to her, it was our turn.

The dumplings and fruit were my favorites !


When I grew up, I moved to Singapore, and there I found the same day was celebrated in a different way.

It was called “Moon Cake Festival”.   Both events are originated from China, and it’s a celebration of a full moon of mid-autumn. 

I thought how interesting it was that once used to be the same event developed into different ways.

While I lived in Singapore, I more followed the Singapore custom.

When I came back to Japan after being away for over 20 years, I found “Ostukimi” was not celebrated here any more.

But I resumed this custom because of my fond memory.

Each year I decorate my room with “Ostukimi” items during this season and make rice dumplings on the actual date.

Deco 20180908 (1)_00001.jpg



Kabocha Otsukimidango (8)_00001_00013.jpg

I think you can guess which recipe I am sharing with you today.

Yes, it is the dumplings, but it is the pumpkin dumplings, not the rice dumplings.

It is so easy to make !

The only thing you need is to get the starchy dense pumpkin, not the wet type one like butternut squash.

Then anybody, even the small kids can make it !


Pumpkin Dumplings


Kabocha Otsukimidango (7)_00012.jpg



300g Pumpkin

1/4 tsp salt

Some sweet red bean paste for topping - refer to "Anko" recipe



1.       Cut the pumpkin into small pieces like below and rub the salt.



2.       Steam till turns soft. 

You can check if it is soft or not using the bamboo stick.

3.       Separate the peel and the flesh, and mash the latter using the masher or the fork.

Kabocha dango process (4)_00006.jpg


Do not discard the peel, we can make one dish out of this later.

4.       Form the balls using your hands.

Kabocha dango process (10)_00010.jpg

5.       Place them on the plate and serve with sweet red bean paste.

Kabocha Otsukimidango (14)_00014.jpg




 l  This is the pumpkin that I used for dumplings.

Kabocha dango process (8)_00009.jpg
Kabocha dango process (7)_00009.jpg



l  You can purchase the ready made sweet red bean paste, but handmade is always healthier, and tastes better.  Refer to Anko recipe 


l  If you are going to pile the dumpling up for decoration, divide the pumpkin dough into 16 equal pieces before forming.  I usually weigh the whole dough with the scale and calculate how many grams should one-piece weigh.  The number of dumplings for each layer is 9-4-2-1.

-Deco 20180908 (2)_00001_00001_02.jpg


l  You can have one additional dish from the pumpkin peel.  Just mix the sliced peel with soy mayonnaise.

Kabocha kawa salad (2)_00011.jpg



l  You can make rice version dumplings by mixing and kneading the 60g rice flour, 20 glutinous rice flour, 60g pumpkin paste and 50g water, and cooking the balls in the boiling water.  You should be able to find the several recipes in the YouTube.




Otsukimi” is August 15 of lunar calendar.

 It is September 23 in the current calendar this year.


Don’t forget to look up the moon which should almost full size on this day !


Happy cooking and happy Otsukimi !

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