Food blogging is rewarding in many ways. Cooking for me is very relaxing and therapeutic, but more than that I love feeding people and looking at their happy faces while they taste my food. Having this blog is no easy thing, especially with crazy schedules at work but as much as cooking, I love clicking and updating recipes too! All of this means a lot more when I hear good, positive feedback about my recipes 🙂 Thank you to all you silent readers who motivate me to cook more! One more thing about food blogging is, you are bound to move out of your comfort zone. I have cooked with vegetables I have never used in my kitchen or tried cuisines that were once alien to me. In the end, I love this learning process.
Today’s recipe is Tang Yuan, a Chinese dessert made of Glutinous Rice Dumplings cooked in a Sweet Broth. Traditionally this dessert is a specialty during Chinese New Year or for any Chinese festival. I am no expert in Chinese traditions but having worked closely with my colleagues in China and Malaysia, I could immediately relate to the recipe when Lina set up this Chinese New Year Recipe Challenge. The name sounded fun so I ended up picking it up.
On the first glance, Tang Yuan was much closer to Paal Kozhukattai that we make at home and that got me intrigued about this dessert. I mostly followed the recipe from here but loved the idea behind using colored balls from here. Apparently, cooking different colored rice balls in a single pot of broth signifies togetherness. How wonderful is that?! 🙂
This recipe is very simple. Rice balls cooked in sweet syrup. Can it get any simpler than that? Traditionally glutinous (sticky) rice flour is used to make the dumplings which are cooked in sugar syrup mildly flavored with Pandan leaves. As I had trouble finding these ingredients, I used what I had in my pantry and I should say that it worked well. I used regular rice flour (the one I use to make Kozhukattai) and replaced Pandan leaves with fresh ginger. It was a delicious dessert, not too sweet but pleasant to have, served either warm or cold.
Here is the detailed recipe with step by step pictures –
1. In a thick bottomed pot, add ¼ cup of cane sugar and slightly crushed ginger.
2. To make sugar syrup, add 1 ¼ cups of water to the pot, mix it well.
3. Bring the sugar syrup to a boil on low flame and keep boiling for another 3-4 mins until nice aroma comes up.
4. Meanwhile, in a bowl add rice flour and add water little by little.
5. Mix it well and let the dough come together.
6. Knead it for 2-3 mins until the dough is smooth and pliable.
7. Separate it into three equal parts of dough.
8. Add yellow and red food colors to two balls of dough.
9. Make 1 cm sized balls out of the dough, making sure there are no cracks. Prepare equal sized rice balls with rest of the dough.
10. Gently drop the rice balls in the sugar syrup and bring it to a slow boil.
11. Slowly boil the sugar syrup for 7-8 mins with rice balls.
12. As the rice balls get cooked, they float over the top. Remove from heat.
13. Remove the ginger pieces and serve this dessert either warm or cold.
- Do use sticky rice flour or glutinous rice flour if available.
- I used cane sugar for making the syrup, but regular white sugar can be used.
- Adjust the amount of sugar depending on the sweet preference. This dessert is slightly on the lower side of sweetness.
- Food colors are optional.
- Some versions of this dessert have rice balls stuffed with black sesame or peanuts. I kept it very simple and loved it as it is.
Submitting this entry for Chinese New Year Challenge.