Tang Yuan is a popular sweet Chinese dessert, used to celebrate holidays but is served as a dessert now.
We have just celebrated our Winter Solstice about two weeks ago. And this black sesame rice dumpling is made for that special holiday. Besides, it is also served during Chinese Spring Festival period. Rice dumpling ball-Tang Yuan is loved by people for its round ball shape. Chinese people believe the round food symbolize completeness and family gathering.
Back to the old days, we soaked glutinous rice firstly and then ground them into rice milk and then filter the water out to make the rice dumplings. That process needs help and contribution of almost all family members. So we usually make a larger batch. I can still remember the process repeated by each year. Those sweet memories bring lots of happiness.
Now glutinous rice flour is easy to get from stores, which makes Tang Yuan an easy and quick dessert or breakfast. There are various filling for Chinese Tang Yuan but the most classic version is black sesame filling.
How to make the black sesame filling
To make the black sesame filling, we need black sesame powder or paste. You can try to search some in Asian stores or make your own toasted black sesame and then ground them into powders. Instruction: How to toast black sesame at home.
And then add sugar and melted lard or butter (how to render lard at home)The amount of sugar used in this recipe should be adjusted according how sweet you want the black sesame filling to be.
Mix well. If you are not skilled at sealing balls, shape the filling into balls firstly can make the assembling process easier.
Mix the dough with glutinous rice flour
Shape into a around ball
Cook them in boiling water until floating on the surface. I would suggest shaping the balls once again before cooking, which makes them perfectly round.
How to serve Tang Yuan
Tang Yuan usually is served warm with syrup, sugar or fermented glutinous rice. In some parts of China, people love to eat meat dumplings with a savory soup base. You need to scoop one up and gently take one bite. Then say hello to the lovely filling.
- 1 cup toasted black sesame
- 1 cup sugar or as needed
- ½ cup of lard or butter, melted
- 2 cups glutinous rice flour
- 1 cup warm water
- Toast black sesame in a pan or oven (detailed guide can be find here) and then ground them into powders. Smaller particles can be accepted for the filling. Or you might find them directly in store.
- In a bowl, mix black sesame powder with lard and sugar. Mix well.
- Mix the glutinous rice flour and water to make the dough. Keep kneading for couple of minutes until the smooth; shape the dough into a long log so that you can make similar pieces in the following step.
- Take one piece and shape it to a bowl carefully (tips at Note 1). Then scoop around ½ tablespoon to 1 tablespoon black sesame filling into the center. Seal the rice dumpling completely. See Note 2.
- Shape the balls as round as possible gently.
- Bring water to a boiling in a pot (the water should be at least 2 cm higher than the balls). Continue cooking for another 1-2 minutes after they float on surface.
- Scoop out with the soup and serve with sugar, or sweet osmanthus or syrup.
Note 2: If you are not skilled at sealing balls, try to shape the filling into balls too. This will make the process easier.
Note3: If you want the filling to have a liquid texture, increase lard in the filling.
If you love sticky rice balls, there are another unfilled version– sticky rice balls with crushed peanuts and brown sugar, another fruit version–Nuomichi and another mango smoothie version: small sticky rice balls over mango smoothie.