Good Eats · Healthy eating

Good Eats – Glutinous Rice Balls (Tang Yuan)

Winter Solstice is one of my favorite festivals. In fact, I love winter solstice more than I love Chinese New Year, which is very odd for an Asian. Winter solstice is also known as Dong Zhi festival, it is usually around December 22nd.

Traditionally, winter solstice is when all the family members will get together to make food, eating and spending time with each other. It had been a while since I last celebrated winter solstice with my family (more than 8 years to be exact). Glutinous rice balls – Tang Yuan symbolized reunion.

This dish symbolized reunion but I make this dish when I am homesick too. It reminds me of the time of my childhood. We were all so young but whenever my mom decided to make this, we would all drag ourselves out of bed no matter how early it is, we would help my mom roll the glutinous rice dough into these small little balls. Mom will then cook them up and served them as breakfast. Those were some great times.

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Ingredients:

Ginger syrup

  • 2 cups of water
  • 6-10 slices of ginger slice (about  inch thick)
  • 1/3 cup of brown sugar

Glutinous rice balls

  • 2 1/2 cups of Glutinous rice flour
  • 1 cup of water

Peanut coating

  • 2 cups of toasted peanut with skin removed
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar

Instructions:

  1. Add in ginger slices and 2 cups of water in a medium pot and bring it to a boil. Once it’s boiling reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Turn off the stove after 20 minutes and let it cool before serving.
  2. Combine the toasted peanut and brown sugar in a food processor or a blender and pulse them. I just pulsed it a couple times to make sure they are well combined, if you over pulsed them it will become a paste. Set the ground peanut aside for later use.
  3. Place the rice flour in a large bowl, slowly add in warm water while stirring to form the dough. Knead the dough by hand after the dough has formed, you are all done when the dough doesn’t stick your hands. Make sure your dough is not too wet, or else it would not hold its shape. The consistency of the dough should be similar to play dough. You could also make the dough ahead of time, place the dough in a zip-lock bag and refrigerate it overnight.
  4. Bring a pot of water to boil for boiling the glutinous rice balls.
  5. Roll the dough into little spherical shape ball in between your palm. The size of the glutinous rice doesn’t really matter as long as they are consistent they will cook evenly.
  6. Drop the rice balls into the pot of boiling water to cook them. Make sure you do not over crowded the pot so that all the rice balls can cook evenly.
  7. As soon as the rice balls are floating in the pot of boiling water, transfer them into a bowl of cold water for about 2 minutes. The purpose of this step is to make sure they stop cooking so that they can maintain the springy texture.
  8. Transfer the cooked rice balls into the cool ginger syrup, and it’s ready to serve

I like to serve the glutinous rice balls with syrup, and the ground peanut in another bowl. Sometimes I do like to add in the ground peanuts into the syrup too. This dish is pretty versatile, you can eat it however you want to. I hope you guys enjoy the dish that I love from my childhood as much as I love making this for you guys.

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