Handmade Kiritanpo and Damako Traditional Rice Dumplings from Akita Prefecture

Handmade Kiritanpo and Damako Traditional Rice Dumplings from Akita Prefecture

Both dumplings are surprisingly easy to make!
Please enjoy the flavors of Akita prefecture.

Ingredients: 3 to 4 servings

Regular Japanese rice or leftover cooked rice
2 rice cooker cups (360 ml) or as much as you have (if using leftover rice)
As needed
As needed


1. Rinse the rice and cook as usual. In our house we make the dumplings whenever we have a lot of leftover rice.
2. Put the cooked rice in a sturdy plastic bag, and pound it over the bag with your hands, until the rice grains are partly smushed.
3. Combine water and salt. The water should be a bit salty.
4. Moisten your hands with the salt water and form the dumplings. See step 5 for kiritanpo, and step 6 for damako.
5. To make kiritanpo: Form the rice around disposable chopsticks. Press and stretch the rice around the chopstick evenly. This may be a bit difficult.
6. To make damako: Roll golf ball sized balls of rice between your palms. You can coat them with katakuriko as I did here, or grill them.
7. Cook the kiritanpo in a frying pan until lightly browned on the surface. If they burn a bit, it's ok. When you eat them in a hot pot they will be very nutty and fragrant.
8. Finished! Here are some extra tips:
9. You can freeze these as well. Line on parchment paper, and store in a closed plastic container.
10. If you spread sweet miso paste on kiritanpo, you'll have an Akita specialty called Miso Kiritanpo.

Story Behind this Recipe

Our family finance minister, my mother-in-law, was away on a trip. My father-in-law wanted kiritanpo, so I rose to the challenge and made them myself.