The shortest day of the year – the winter solstice – is called Dōng Zhì (冬至) in Mandarin. Dong Zhi means winter arrival. It marks the end of harvest and symbolizes family reunions. It is celebrated between Dec 21 and 23.
During Dōng Zhi, families will get together and eat tāng yuan , a sweet soup made of glutinous rice balls. It is also the day when everyone becomes one year older.
Tangyuan are multicoloured glutinous rice balls that would be served at the reunion table.
The rice balls, made from rolled glutinous rice dough, were prepared in several colours and came in different sizes.
Some had peanuts, some had red bean paste or black sesame fillings.
This year around I have two wonderful little helpers to help me. They love doing it and I love having them helping me. The result was awesome. Their tiny hands can make beautiful small balls that I can’t.
1 inch of ginger, smashed
Brown or white sugar(your preference)
Pine screw leaf(pandan leaf)
In a large mixing bowl, add glutinous rice flour and sugar.
Gradually add water and knead the dough until soft, smooth, easily kneadable yet not sticky to the fingers (too wet), nor crumbling (too dry). The amount of flour and water is very forgiving and adaptable – If the dough is too dry, add a bit more water. If the dough is too wet, add a bit more flour.
Divide the dough depending on the number of different colours you intend to have. Add food colouring, one drop at a time, to each portion and knead until the colour is well distributed. Note: I am using red dye for pink, pumpkin purée for yellow and I mix red and yellow for orange.
Shape the dough to even-sized balls.
Tip: Anytime the dough feels dry, dip your fingers in water before shaping .
Bring a pot of water (enough water to submerge the dumplings completely) to boil. Add the tang yuan into the boiling water and cook until they float to the surface. Transfer them immediately to a bowl of room temperature water to cool down. This prevents the tang yuan from sticking to one another or discolour the soup.
Add ingredients for sweet soup in a pot. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer until the sugar is fully melted. Add the tang yuen into the pot.To serve, ladle the tang yuen to a serving bowl and enjoy!!!