Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tang Yuan/Yuanzi

I do not recall any festivities for this day, the first 15th day of the first Moon.  The only thing i remembered was my grandma reminding me to 'cheong heong' - cantonese - light some joss sticks and give prayers as it was 'Sun sap mng'.  It's only now that i can surf the net and found that there is a festival for this day - Yuanxiao Festival and you can read about it Here.

I found out that by eating glutinous rice balls on this night when the moon gets full for the first time in this year, will grant your wish for happy ending and reunion.  I know the moon will be glowing in it's brightess tonight, so i made glutinous rice balls with orange sweet potatoes/yam to make them look bright.  The black sesame seeds filling represents the darkness of the sky complimenting the moon.


100 gm glutinous rice flour
25 gm rice flour
1 tsp sugar
65 gm orange sweet potatoes/yam - steamed and mashed while it is still hot
75 - 90 ml very hot boiling water

Black sesame seeds filling:

1/4 cup black sesame seeds powder
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 heap tbsp shortening

Ginger Syrup:

Ginger slices
2 pods cardamon
Dried osmanthus flowers
Sugar according to taste


In a medium size saucepan, put in water, ginger slices, cardamon and bring to the boil.  Reduce to heat and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.

To make the dough:

Mix the sugar in to the very hot boiling water and stir to dissolve.

Mix glutinous rice flour and rice flour together and pour in the very hot sugar mixture.  Stir with chopsticks until it is cool enough to work with your hands.  Knead  and add in the hot mashed potatoes/yam.  Knead until smooth and dough does not stick to your hand.  Leave covered.

To made the black sesame filling:

Cream sugar with shortening until well combined, then add in black sesame seed powder.  Mix well.  Divide filling into 20 portions and roll into balls. Leave in the fridge to chill for easier handling. 

If black sesame seed powder is not available then you would have to grind your own by rinsing black sesame seeds in clean water. Drain and toast in a clean, dry wok over medium-low heat until the seeds start to pop. Turn off the heat and dish out to cool. Grind the black sesame seeds in a coffee grinder until fine. Remove and combine with sugar and shortening.

To make the Tang Yuan:

Divide dough into 20 portions and leave them covered.

Take one portion and flattened.  Put a ball of filling and seal well.  Continue with the rest of the dough portions.

Put all the filled balls into the ginger water and turn the heat to medium.  Stir so that the balls will not stick together.  When balls float to the surface and they turn around by themselves, then the balls are ready.  Add in sugar according to your taste and the osmanthus flowers.  Cook until sugar is dissolved.

Serve hot.
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