Have you ever link eating Tang Yuan (a bouncy chewy glutinous rice balls dessert) to Japanese Zen 禅？I do. ^^
Tang Yuan is a bouncy chewy glutinous rice balls traditionally eaten during Yuan Xiao 元宵 and Chinese Winter Solstice Festival 冬至. It has the meaning of reunion. It is usually cook in a pot of boiling water, serve with sweet soup. My late grandma loves to cook the Tang Yuan without any filling in it. The last time I made my own Tang Yuan was in December 2013.
Recently we have a friend served us her homemade Tang Yuan, it was served with Sweet Osmanthus soup. I'm not sure was it because of the sweet osmanthus or may be the utensils we used, I associated eating the Tang Yuan with Japanese Zen. The soup is clean and pure and the osmanthus is so pretty, the chewy glutinous rice ball go well with the warm sweet osmanthus, yes, the sweetness of the soup is just right, not over dose by sugar. This dessert is very comforting!
Today I can't resist the desire to eat that Zen's style Tang Yuan again. First time for me to make the Tang Yuan with filling, I search the Internet and come across China Sichuan Food's Tang Yuan, I modified the water contents in the recipe and used cook dough method to make the bouncy chewy Tang Yuan. If you prefer the filling to be more liquefied you have to add more butter in the filling, the black sesame filling will burst in one bite. ^o^ I have certain expectation on the filing, I don't like it to be too runny, when we finished eating the Tang Yuan I want my sweet osmanthus soup to be clear and not fill with bits of black sesame filling.
To get a successful bouncy rice balls, is important to gradually add water into flour as much as it can absorb, knead properly, the dough should be wet, smooth and not sticky. After cooking the glutinous rice balls in boiling water, make sure you scoop out the glutinous rice balls and let it sit in a bowl of room temperature water before serving. Freeze the Tang Yuan dough balls if you are not going to consume it immediately.
Recipe by Awayofmind Bakery House
yield: 47 pieces
Black Sesame Filling:
250g toasted black sesame powder
180g fine sugar
200g butter, melted (add more so the black sesame and sugar mixture can form a rough dough)
Glutinous Rice Balls:
500g glutinous rice flour
2 tbsp sugar
~470ml water (200ml hot water, 270ml room temperature water gradually add)
Sweet Osmanthus syrup
1. Prepare the filling: Mix the filling ingredients together, mixed well. Divide into the portion you desire and chill in the fridge before use.
2. Prepare the tang yuan: in a mixing bowl, add half of the glutinous rice flour (250g) and sugar. Add in 200ml of hot water, use a chopstick to stir it together, then use the hands to knead the dough until it comes together. Add the remaining flour (250g), gradually add the room temperature water, continue to knead the dough. You will notice the flour will absorb all the water, knead the dough until it is smooth. The dough should feel wet and smooth with hands.
3. Boil water in a medium size soup pot, prepare a bowl of drinking water (room temperature) place beside.
4. Roll the dough into log and divide it into smaller balls. Roll it between palm to make it round, make an indention on the ball, fill it with a small ball of black sesame paste. Wrap up the edge of the dough and seal, roll it between palm again to make round ball. Repeat until all dough is used.
5. Drop the balls into the boiling water pot in (3), when the Tang Yuan float on the surface, it means it is cooked, keep it in the boiling water for another 1/2 mins. Scoop the Tang Yuan out from the boiling water and place it in the bowl of drinking water. Let it be there until serving.
6. Serving: Scoop out three pieces of Tang Yuan to a serving bowl, place 80ml warm water in the bowl with a teaspoon of sweet osmanthus syrup.