Recipe 26: Tang Yuan (汤圆)

I feel like every other holiday in China involves eating tang yuan for good luck. They are most popular during the Lantern Festival (last day of Spring Festival), and the Winter Solstice holiday (Dong Zhi). These sweet treats taste a little like peanut butter, and can be hollow or filled with sugar or sweet bean paste. I’ve never seen colorful ones in person, but when I was researching I found that it is very common, so I thought I’d try it out.

The Recipe (Makes about 10-15 depending on the size)

Difficulty: Easy; Tastiness: Tastes good

What you need:

  • 1 cup glutinous rice flour
  • 1/2 cup water for making dough
  • 1/2 tbsp of super fine sugar
  •  food coloring
  • rock or palm sugar in small pieces (size depends on the size of the dough balls)
  • sweet bean paste (substitute for rock/palm sugar)

What to do:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, add flour and sugar. Gradually add water and knead the dough until soft and smooth. It should be wet enough that it doesn’t crumble, but dry enough so that it isn’t sticky.
  2. Divide the dough depending on the number of different colors you want to make.
  3. Add the food coloring and knead until the color spreads out.
  4. Break off a little piece of the dough and flatten it like a pancake (should be about silver-dollar-sized).
  5. Place the sugar in the center and roll the dough into a ball.
  6. Bring a pot of water (enough water to cover the dumplings completely) to boil. Add the tang yuan into the boiling water and cook until they float to the surface. If you use rock sugar, keep them boiling for about 15-20 more minutes, as it can take longer to melt than palm sugar.
  7. When they are finished boiling, transfer them immediately to a bowl of room temperature water until cooled or ready to serve, otherwise they will all stick together.
  8. Enjoy!
Best when eaten warm!

Best when eaten warm!

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