Glutinous Rice Balls (Tang Yuan) for Lantern Festival

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So, Lantern Festival is coming up on February 14th (coincide with Valentine’s day this year), and I wanted to make a special treat which people eat on this day, and that is glutinous rice balls, also known as Tang Yuan.

OMG, I USED TO BE SO OBSESSED WITH THIS! What am I saying? I still am!

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My favourite part ever was biting into those deliciously sweet sesame paste in the middle. I remember how I used to just want more and more, even though it’s probably not good to have *TOO* many at once. But anyway, I wanted to create a slightly healthier version of the recipe, and still have it taste the same.

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For this recipe, it’s best to make the filling first, then dough, as dough may dry out and if it does, the balls won’t stick as well. Also, the osmanthus flowers aren’t necessary, but does give it an extra boost of flavour and looks so pretty. You may be able to find it in the tea section in your local Asian grocery store IF you are lucky.

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Note: Makes 7 glutinous rice balls and serves two.

The reason why you’re not seeing all of it is because… I actually accidentally broke one so I just cooked it separately so it wouldn’t mess up the rest.

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Glutinous Rice Balls (Tang Yuan) for Lantern Festival

Filling
1/3 cup black sesame seed powder (or ground roasted black sesame seeds)
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon extra light olive oil (or grapeseed oil/canola oil)
A small pinch Himalayan/sea salt

Dough
1 cup & 2 tablespoons glutinous rice flour
1/2 teaspoon pure powdered stevia (optional)
1/2 cup water

Cooking
3 cups water
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
1-2 teaspoons dried osmanthus flowers (optional)

Prepare the Filling: Combine the black sesame seed powder (you can get those in the Asian grocery stores, or put a packet of black sesame seeds in the blender, then measure out 1/3 cup of grounded black sesame seed powder), maple syrup, cornstarch, olive oil (don’t use extra virgin as it has a strong taste) and salt in a small bowl.

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Stir until everything is well combined, then set aside.

Prepare the Dough: In a large bowl, combine the glutinous rice flour, stevia (optional) and water. Have a tiny little container of water in case you need more.

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Stir the flour until it forms clumps, then use your hands to knead it until it becomes a smooth lump of dough.

While you’re not using the dough, always cover it so water doesn’t escape.

Grab a piece of dough and roll it into a circle, then flatten it, be sure that the layer isn’t too thin.

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Fold the edges upwards to make it look like a little bowl shape, then scoop a small spoonful of filling inside.

If you find that the dough is still a little dry, just add a few drops of water.

Grab the top and press them together, then use the palm of both your hands to roll the dough into a smooth, round circle. Do it gently, otherwise it may break.

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Repeat until all the dough and filling is used up.

Cooking: Add 3 cups of water and a teaspoon of pure maple syrup in a small saucepan and turn the heat on high to bring to a boil.

After about 3 minutes when the water is starting to bubble at the bottom but not boiled yet, add the glutinous rice balls one by one, slowly, and do not clump them together.

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Use a wooden spoon to keep turning them around while it cooks for about 7 minutes. By that time, the balls should be floating on top. Add a teaspoon or two of dried osmanthus flower if desired (to add flavour and looks), then let it cook for a final minute, and turn the heat off.

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Glutinous Rice Balls (Tang Yuan) for Lantern Festival
Serves: 2
 

Ingredients
Filling
  • ⅓ cup black sesame seed powder (or ground roasted black sesame seeds)
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon extra light olive oil (or grapeseed oil/canola oil)
  • A small pinch Himalayan/sea salt
Dough
  • 1 cup & 2 tablespoons glutinous rice flour
  • ½ teaspoon pure powdered stevia (optional)
  • ½ cup water
Cooking
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • 1-2 teaspoons dried osmanthus flowers (optional)

Instructions
  1. Prepare the Filling: Combine the black sesame seed powder (you can get those in the Asian grocery stores, or put a packet of black sesame seeds in the blender, then measure out ⅓ cup of grounded black sesame seed powder), maple syrup, cornstarch, olive oil (don’t use extra virgin as it has a strong taste) and salt in a small bowl.
  2. Stir until everything is well combined, then set aside.
  3. Prepare the Dough: In a large bowl, combine the glutinous rice flour, stevia (optional) and water. Have a tiny little container of water in case you need more.
  4. Stir the flour until it forms clumps, then use your hands to knead it until it becomes a smooth lump of dough.
  5. While you’re not using the dough, always cover it so water doesn’t escape.
  6. Grab a piece of dough and roll it into a circle, then flatten it, be sure that the layer isn’t too thin.
  7. Fold the edges upwards to make it look like a little bowl shape, then scoop a small spoonful of filling inside.
  8. If you find that the dough is still a little dry, just add a few drops of water.
  9. Grab the top and press them together, then use the palm of both your hands to roll the dough into a smooth, round circle. Do it gently, otherwise it may break.
  10. Repeat until all the dough and filling is used up.
  11. Cooking: Add 3 cups of water and a teaspoon of pure maple syrup in a small saucepan and turn the heat on high to bring to a boil.
  12. After about 3 minutes when the water is starting to bubble at the bottom but not boiled yet, add the glutinous rice balls one by one, slowly, and do not clump them together.
  13. Use a wooden spoon to keep turning them around while it cooks for about 7 minutes. By that time, the balls should be floating on top. Add a teaspoon or two of dried osmanthus flower if desired (to add flavour and looks), then let it cook for a final minute, and turn the heat off.


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6 comments

  1. Stephanie

    omg looks so good!!! I’m a korean and I love anything made with glutinous rice – especially rice cakes, balls, mochi or wtvr!!! The problem is it’s rather hard to find the flour :’(

  2. Michaela

    oh yum! I’m half Chinese and black sesame and red bean desserts are my absolute fave! Thanks for this beautiful recipe :) I’ll have to invite my Chinese mom over for some

  3. Ria

    Thanks for sharing this recipe! It’s also great how you make it sound so easy to make. I’ve been wondering how to make this in a long time; it’s my favorite. :)

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