Celebrate Family Togetherness with Tangyuan
Tāngyuán is a kind of Chinese dessert made from glutinous rice flour and is mixed with a small amount of water to form balls and is then cooked and served in boiling water spiced with old ginger and castor sugar. It typically comes in one plain white colour, but some families have chosen to add a little food colouring to make the dessert a little prettier.
Culturally for many families in China and also migrant families overseas, it is a meal eaten together. The round shape of the balls served in round bowls symbolises family togetherness. Tāngyuán translated means “Round Dumplings in Soup”.
I got this recipe from my mother-in-law, and this is how it works.
Recipe – serving for a family
1) Add 400g glutinous flour with 350ml water. Add the water slowly so that the dough mixture will not be too moist. If you accidentally added too much water, just simply balance it out with more glutinous flour.
2) Knead the mixture into dough. Then pinch a little and roll it in between your fingers. If the dough were to crack, it just means that it is too dry. If the dough ball does not hold its shape, then there is too much moisture in the pastry.
3) Divide into the dough into two (02) portions and with one portion, add a few droplets of food colouring – Cherry Red is good – and then knead the food colouring into the dough. The whole dough should now be pink in colour.
4) Put each portion of dough into a plastic bag and place them in the freezer for 30 minutes.
5) Remove from the freezer and begin to roll. (if however, after freezing the dough is too dry, just simply dap it with a little water.
6) Put the balls in boiling water, until they all start to float. Then off the fire and allow the dough balls to sit in the broth for about 5 minutes.
7) Scoop out the dough balls with a ladle and put them inside a bowl of cool tap water.
8) Prepare 300g castor sugar and put into the broth to boil a little, after which place slices of old ginger and pandan leaves into the soup and bring the soup to a boil.
9) Ladle the dough balls into the broth and allow them to sit in the fragrant mixture until the flavour has infused into the dough balls.
10) Allow the dessert to sit in the broth overnight, and when ready to eat, just heat up the soup and serve.