Homemade Palm Sugar Filled Tang Yuan for Winter Solstice

It's that time of the year again, and right before Christmas, we'll be celebrating the Winter Solstice festival on the 22nd of December. This is when the Chinese will make these glutinous rice balls, plain or wrapped with sweet treats and served in palm sugar syrup or brown sugar syrup, called Tang Yuan. (The sound of Tang Yuan is rather close to the sound of "reunion" in Chinese, which will mark the festival a day for homecoming)

Of course, this is 21st century; we can get almost everything kind of ready made food from the shop but very often we still prefer that homemade flavour, especially one that your grandmother used to make years ago. We'll usually have some at our parents' home but this year I've decided to have some made myself.

I had, growing up, helped my grandmother prepare this before so the method is actually learned by heart, and it is super easy.

1. Making the dough

All you'll need:
200g glutinous rice flour
Some water

All I did was:
Put the glutinous rice flour in a mixing bowl. Gradually add water in and start mixing it together slowly.

There isn't a specific amount of water needed, just as long as a firm dough is formed and has picked up every loose bit off the bowl.

I then wrapped it in cling film, placed in a tub and chilled it overnight.

2. Shaping the Tang Yuan

Break the dough into small chunks, about 1.5 cm thick, then roll each one into ball shape, if having them plain.

For Tang Yuan with filling, press each ball shape to flatten a little and make a dip in the middle, scoop a little of desired filling: adzuki bean paste, sweetened ground peanut, black sesame paste, or crushed palm sugar; then gently push inward all round to seal every possible opening. With very light pressure, roll each one back into a ball shape by hand.

Since I've still got some palm sugar left from making the Ondeh-Ondeh, this batch of Tang Yuan are filled with ground palm sugar.

If I'm making this much earlier and plan to freeze for future use, I will only freeze them now and not freezing the whole plain dough. I'd done so in the past (also with the experience from making Ondeh-Ondeh) and find that the thawed dough is really hard to handle especially when putting in the filling. For some reason the humidity will mess it up and make the dough super sticky, and finished balls puncture easily. But should that happens, I find that lightly rolling the balls in some glutinous rice flour helps.

Placing each finished Tang Yuan ball onto a baking tray or plate lined with cling film/baking parchment will make the process easier, so that they don't stuck to each other or onto the tray; plus I can freeze them on the tray before transferring them into air-tight box for freezer storage.

3. Cooking the Tang Yuan

Prepare the syrup/soup of desired flavour: ginger & cinnamon, pandan & ginger, sweetened soy milk, sweetened almond milk, etc.

Bring a pan of water to the boil, chuck the Tang Yuan into the water and boil till they start floating to the surface then they are done. There's no need to thaw frozen tang Yuan, just cook straight off from frozen.

Scoop them out and add to the prepared syrup or hot soya milk. Done.

As for me, I'm just done with the Tang Yuan and will leave the decision on the choice of accompanying syrup to tomorrow, as it might require some serious thinking over it 😀


Popular Posts