‘Tang yuan’, or glutinous rice balls, is symbolic for family reunion and harmony, a common meal for ‘Yuan Xiao’ (元宵), or the lantern festival on the 15th day of the Luna new year.
My ‘tang yuan’ dumplings are naturally colored by raspberry coulis and filled with red bean paste. The syrup was infused with a cinnamon stick, cardamom, ginger and orange peel, with brown sugar for color and a dash of honey for extra flavor.
Step 1. Raspberry coulis
- 1 cup of frozen raspberry
- 1/2 cup of caster sugar
- 1 tbsp. water
- Place frozen raspberries in a sauce pan, add caster sugar and a small dash of water; bring it to boil; simmer briefly; use a potato mash, mash up the raspberries; extract the liquid with a fine sieve
- Reheat the coulis in a clean sauce pan, bring it to boil
- We will need about 1/2 cup of coulis, add a little water if required
Step 2. Tang yuan – glutinous rice dumplings
- 1 cup of glutinous rice flour
- 1/2 cup of raspberry coulis (a little more or less depending on the brand of the glutinous flour)
- sweet red bean paste
- In a mixing bowl, place glutinous rice flour; gradually add 1/2 cup of very hot raspberry coulis, at the same time stir the mixture with a pair of chopsticks towards one circular direction; you may need a little more or less liquid, depending on the flour; once the flour is pretty much mixed with the liquid; leave it aside to cool briefly until it is cool enough to handle.
- Bring the dough together by kneading with your hand
- Roll the dough out into a snake, cut into 12-16 pieces
- With the palm of your hand, press a piece of dough into a round disc; place some red bean paste in the middle, roll it up into a ball; with the palm your hand, roll it over a flat surface in a circular motion until the ball is round; repeat with the rest of the dough
Step 3. ginger and honey syrup, spiced
- 2 slices of ginger
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- 12 cloves
- 2 cardamom, broken up slightly
- 2 pieces of orange peels
- 1/4 cup of brown sugar
- a dash of honey (quantity as-you-please, I use 2 tbsp)
- 2 cups of water
- In a sauce pan, add all ingredients and bring to boil; then turn off the heat and let the syrup infuse slowly.
Step 4. brining it all together
- Bring the syrup to boil again; add honey, stir well
- in batches, add the dumplings to the hot syrup, bring to boil again and turn the heat down to low-medium; the dumplings are done once they are floating on top of the syrup; leave them to cook for further 2-3 more minutes otherwise the balls would be too doughy.
- Serve the dumplings warm, with some syrup.