Tang Yuan is a soft and chewy ball that has a variety of fillings which taste absolutely delicious. It is a favorite among families during the cold winter months or even special occasions. It’s incredibly easy to make and will definitely be a delight to you and your family. Learn how to make it now with this super easy recipe!
One of the most iconic foods you’ll find being served during Lunar New Years is one called a Tang Yuan or Tang Yuan (汤圆), or Yuan Xiao (元宵).
It’s a little white ball that is filled with a variety of different fillings.
And no matter what filling is inside, the Tang Yuan is always delicious to eat.
Growing up, eating Tang Yuan was something that my entire family and I loved to do. Now I know I mentioned this food being most commonly served during the Lunar New Years.
However in my household, we typically have it once a week or maybe once every two weeks. It all depends on what we are craving during any particular week.
Most of the time, my mother would sit me down next to her as a kid and forced me to help her make these Tang Yuan. Now don’t get me wrong, I love to eat Tang Yuan (Which is probably why I gained so many pounds), but making it was a different story.
See when I was younger, I always hated kneading dough. It was extremely tiring and I was a weak little kid. But the aftermath was something I looked forward to always.
My entire family sits around the dining table and just talks about any and all random things while eating the freshly made Tang Yuan. We laugh, we yell, we cry all around this delicious food.
Overall, Tang Yuan is a food that brings together the entire family.
What Is Tang Yuan?
What is a Tang Yuan / Sweet Rice Balls / 汤圆?
Well, this type of food can actually go by many different names.
In fact, some of the names you can find this being called includes things like Tang Yuan, Sweet Rice Balls, Sweet Dumplings, Glutinous Rice Balls, Glutinous Dumplings and more.
But it all means the same thing.
Basically it is referring to a small ball shaped dough that contains a variety of different fillings. The most common type of filling you can find is the black sesame paste filling. However some other fillings may include red bean paste, matcha and more.
Once cooked, the skin of the dough actually becomes quite soft and chewy while the inside filling has a paste like texture. All of which pairs together perfectly for a delicious bite.
Tang Yuan is traditionally eaten during the Lantern Festival times because the dessert’s other moniker, “yuan xiao,” translates to “first evening,” a reference to the first full moon after the new year, with the round shape of the dessert representing the celestial body.
The food is suppose to symbolize harmony and reunion.
Why This Recipe Works?
- Homemade Tang Yuan is incredibly simple to make. It’s really cheap to make which means you don’t have to shell out so much money buying it pre-made from stores.
- This Tang Yuan uses Black Sesame as the filling, which makes each and every bite so much more enjoyable.
- This recipe can be made in only an hour or less time. Plus, you’ll also be able to make a big portion which can satisfy you and your entire family.
- The end result is a soft and chewy ball that everyone will love.
Ingredients Needed To Make Tang Yuan
The ingredients you’ll need to make Tang Yuan / Sweet Rice Balls / 汤圆 are all incredibly easy to find.
Simply head on down to your local Asian supermarket and you should find all your ingredients needed.
Basically, you’ll need the following:
- Sesame Seeds – 80g Sesame Seeds
- Caster Sugar – 2 1/2 Tablespoons of Caster Sugar
- Melted Butter – 60g Melted Butter
- Sweet Rice Flour – 250g Sweet Rice Flower
- Boiling Water -149g of Boiling Water
- Room Temperature Water – 70g of Room Temperature Water
- Water – 1 1/2 Cup water
And that’s basically it!
How To Make Tang Yuan
Making Tang Yuan is a relatively simple thing to do.
Basically, the steps to make it are as followed:
Prepping The Filling
First thing you’ll need to do is to make the filling.
Grow a wok or a skillet and pour your sesame seeds into it. Turn the heat onto medium low and toast the sesame seeds for about 8 minutes or until fragrant.
Then grab a blender or food processor and combine your toasted sesame seeds with the caster sugar. Blend them together until they are as fine as powder.
Note: You have to blend the toasted sesame seeds completely down into a powder like texture, otherwise it won’t become a paste like substance later.
Then grab a large bowl and pour your blended sesame seeds with caster sugar into the bowl. Now add in your melted butter and stir things around until it becomes a nice paste like substance.
Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and then place it into the fridge where it’ll rest for about 30 minutes. This is so that the paste can harden up a little bit which makes it easier to use later.
Now to prep the dough.
Prepping The Dough
Grab a large mixing bowl, and pour in your sweet rice flour.
Then pour in your hot boiling water and start mixing it with the flour immediately. Once the flour has been mixed and starts to take shape, add in your room temperature water. Then mix it again until it becomes hard enough to mold into a dough.
Dust your work surface with some flour, and start kneading the dough. You want to knead it for a few minutes until it starts to become smooth.
Then roll it into a long log shape and cut it into three sections. You’re going to use one dough section at a time, so wrap the other two dough sections in some plastic wrap until they are needed.
Roll the dough section into a longer log shape and then cut it into about nine sections.
Take each section and roll it into a ball shaped dough with your hands.
Once you have done that, it’s time to repeat with your other dough sections until you have turned everything into ball shaped doughs.
Now is the time to start making the Tang Yuan.
Making The Tang Yuan
After 30 minutes have passed, take out the bowl of sesame seed paste.
By this time, it should have become hard enough to mold.
Using a spoon, scoop out a small portion and roll it into a ball. The ball should be a small size as it will need to fit into the dough shaped balls.
Then grab your dough shaped ball and use your thumb to make a dent into the middle of the dough.
Then place your ball shaped sesame paste into the hole of the dough.
Using your fingers, slowly bring up the sides of the dough so that it can slowly cover the sesame filling.
Once you bring the dough high enough, push the dough together and seal the filling inside the dough. It may look very ugly at this point, but do not worry.
Using your hands, roll the dough around until it is a nice perfect ball.
Congrats! You have just made a Tang Yuan.
Now simply repeat with the rest of the ingredients until you have made all of them into delicious Tang Yuan.
Cooking The Tang Yuan
Now it’s time to cook the Tang Yuan.
Grab a large pot and fill it with water, then bring it to a boil.
Once the water is boiling, start putting in your freshly made Tang Yuan in batches. Try not to put all at the same time as they’ll stick together. Probably around ten at a time should be fine.
Then slowly stir it around carefully not to break the Tang Yuan.
The water should have cooled a bit after you have put in the Tang Yuan. So wait for it to start boiling again.
Once it’s boiling again, pour in 1/2 cup of water to cool it back down. Repeat this step two more times and your Tang Yuan will have finished cooking.
Scoop out some Tang Yuan into a bowl along with some of the Tang Yuan water, and serve immediately!
How To Store/Keep Tang Yuan For Later Use
Tang Yuan / Sweet Rice Balls / 汤圆 is a very versatile food to use.
Typically, they should be used immediately right after being made. However, if you made too much and want to store some for the future, then you can certainly do so as well.
Simply put them in an air-tight container or wrap it with some plastic wrap and store it in the freezer. They should stay good for up to 3 months.
Or, if you have already cooked them, then simply place the remaining cooked Tang Yuan into a bowl and wrap it with some plastic wrap or a cover. Then put it in the fridge where it should stay good for around 1 day.
FAQS About This Recipe
Yes! There are a variety of different fillings you can use. For instance, some of the most common includes red bean paste, matcha, peanut and more.
This is because you did not blend the sesame seeds fine enough. They should typically be blended until they have a dust like consistency.
When placing the filling into the dough, try not to thin out the sides of the dough too much. It should be thick enough to hold the filling while also being not easy to break.
Tips For The Tastiest Tan Yuan
- Blend the toasted sesame seeds with the caster sugar until it becomes as fine as possible. The finer they become, the smoother the paste will be.
- Try to experiment with different fillings such as red bean paste or matcha or even peanuts, they will all taste amazing.
Tang Yuan Recipe (Sweet Rice Balls With Black Sesame Filling 汤圆)
- 80 Gram Sesame Seeds
- 2 1/2 Tablespoon Caster Sugar
- 250 Gram Sweet Rice Flour
- 60 Gram Butter Melt The Butter
- 140 Gram Boiling Water
- 70 Gram Room Temperature Water
- 1 1/2 Cup Water
Making The Filling
- First you want to toast your sesame seeds. So grab a wok or skillet and turn the heat up to medium low. Then toast your sesame seeds for around 8 minutes or until they become fragrant.
- Grab a blender or a food processor and pour in your toasted sesame seeds and caster sugar. Then blend it all together until the sesame seeds have become fine like powder.
- Pour out the contents from the blender or food processor into a small bowl. Then add in the melted butter and stir things around until it becomes a paste like substance. Then cover it with some plastic wrap and then store it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
Making The Dough
- Grab a large mixing bowl and add in the sweet rice flour. Then pour in the hot boiling water and stir things around immediately. Once clumps start to form, add in the room temperature water. Then continue to stir things around. Now you should be have a dough like texture.
- Using your hands, form the contents of the bowl into a dough. Then dust your work surface with some flour and start kneading the dough. Your goal here is to try to get the dough into looking as smooth as possible.
- Roll the dough into a log shape and then cut it into 3 equal sections. Take one of the sections and roll it into a long log shape dough. Then cut it into 9 equal sections.Take each dough section and roll it into a ball then set it aside. Repeat this step with all of the remaining dough until you have made them all into balls.
Making The Tang Yuan
- By now, 30 minutes should have passed. So take out the bowl of sesame paste filling and bring it to your work station. Using a spoon, scoop out a little portion of the sesame paste filling and roll it into a ball shape. It should be small enough to go inside your dough shaped balls.
- Then grab your dough ball you made earlier and use your thumb to make an indent or hole in the middle of the dough. Take your filling and put it inside the hole, and then use your fingers to slowly cover up the filling with the sides of the dough.Roll the ball between your hands until it is a perfect ball shape. Then set it aside.Congrats, you have officially made a Tang Yuan.Continue doing this for all of the dough and filling until you have made all of your Tang Yuan.
Cooking Your Tang Yuan
- Grab a large pot and fill it with water. Then bring it to a boil.Once the water is boiling, add in your freshly made Tang Yuan. But do it in batches, preferably around 10 at a time so that they don't stick together. Using a spatula, stir things around slowly and carefully so that you don't break the Tang Yuan.
- By adding in the Tang Yuan to the boiling water, the water will start to cool down. So you'll need to wait till it's boiling again. Then once it is boiling, add in 1/2 cup of water so that the boiling water can cool down.Repeat this step 2 more times for a total of 3 times.
- Once you have brought your Tang Yuan to a boil 3 times, they are finished cooking.Grab a bowl and scoop some Tang Yuan with the water into the bowl.Serve immediately.
Did you try making my Tang Yuan / Sweet Rice Balls / 汤圆? If so, how were they? I would love to hear all about it down in the comment section below or you can connect with my on Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram.
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