Contributor: Ho Siew Loon
How time flies and we will be ushering 2010 in about 2 weeks.
December has always been my favorite month with so many festivals like Christmas, New Year and Dong Zhi (冬至) festival. Dong Zhi or winter solstice has always been a very important event in the Chinese custom.
It is also known as Tang Check by the Peranakan which means the arrival of winter. It signifies the longest night in the year.
Tang Check is a very important day in the Chinese calender and some people celebrate it on a bigger scale than Chinese New Year.
On this day, the Chinese will make Tang Yuan (汤圆) or Kuih Ee to signifies the arrival of winter and by eating this we will be a year older.
In Chinese custom, this round shaped rice ball symbolizes togetherness and completeness of the family. This year Tang Check will be celebrated on 21 December…(get Tang Yuan recipe after the jump)
Tang Yuan is also known as glutinous rice balls. This dessert (check out other Nyonya desserts such as bubur cha cha and bee koh moy) is made during the Dong Zi festival and it comes in different colors like white, pink, green, yellow, blue and orange.
This little rices balls are then served with syrup but these days people are getting more creative and Tang Yuan comes with different types of filling like peanut, black sesame, red bean etc. There are savoury ones as well. However, the traditional ones are still my favorite.
Tang Yuan Recipe
Tang Yuan is also known as glutinous rice balls. This dessert is made during the Dong Zi festival and it comes in different colors like white, pink, green, yellow, blue and orange.
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1.5 cups water
- 2-3 pandan leaves/ screwpine leaves
- 2 cups glutinous rice, sticky rice flour
- 1 tablespoon fine sugar
- 7 oz water
- food coloring, 2-3 different colors
To prepare syrup, boil water in a pot. Add the screwpine pleaves and let it boil on medium fire for 5 minutes. Add sugar and let it boil for 5 minutes. Lower fire and let it simmer to another 15 miuntes. Sugar can be added to taste if you like. Set aside.
In a big bowl, mix glutinous flour with sugar.
Add water and knead to form a paste. Continue to knead until it form a soft dough and no longer sticks to your hands.
Divide into 3-4 portion and add 2-3 drops of food coloring to the each portion of dough.
Divide into small balls and lightly shape into balls using both palms.
Set aside a few hours or overnight as this will make the dough a bit harder and easier to handle.
Boil another pot of water, drop the dumplings into the boiling water. As soon as it floats to the transfer it to the syrup water.
You can add a few slices ginger to the syrup water if you like. Or you can replace the fine sugar with palm sugar or brown sugar using same method.