Tang Yuan /Tang Check is always served during the Reunion Dinner before ushering the Lunar Chinese New Year. It is one of the most symbolic sweet desserts during this celebration. The glutinous rice ball signifies “Togetherness and completeness of the Family” or “Stick together tightly as a family”.
In my culture, Peranakan, it is “Tang Check” and it means the arrival of winter and it signifies the longest night of the year. Well, it also signifies the same as the Chinese. Tang Yuan/Tang Check is made up of glutinous rice flour and water into soft and smooth rice dough. It is flavor with any food colors of your choice. If you are creative, you can fill the rice ball with chopped peanuts, red bean paste or coconut, sesame paste and more.
Every year I will made this dumpling filled with all the sort of stuffing but this year 2015, I am going to leave them plain and with a couple of food coloring. I am sure my family will not complain too much because both members are not dessert lovers anyway.
300g glutinous rice flour, sifted
225ml boiling water
Food coloring, any color of your choice, if you are using it for auspicious day, Red color is a must
Ginger and Pandan Broth:
1 thumb-size fresh ginger, peeled and light crushed
100g raw sugar/granulated sugar/rock sugar (I prefer raw sugar)
2.25 liter water
3 tablespoons canola/vegetable/corn oil
10-12 pandan leaves, washed and knotted
Heat a heavy saucepan with water, ginger, knotted pandan leaves and raw sugar/granulated sugar/rock sugar over medium-high heat. Cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-22 minutes. At this time adjust the sweetness of the broth before straining.
In a large mixing bowl with sifted glutinous rice flour, add boiling water and use a wood spoon or spatula to stir mixture until look alike crumbly dough. Add the canola/vegetable/corn oil and knead the dough with your damp hands and bring the dough together. Cover with a damp dish towel and set aside to rest for 20-25 minutes.
Divide the dough into 2-3 even portions of your choice. Add a few drops of different food coloring into each portion and knead to mix in the color.
Dust some flour in your hands and pinch a small portion of dough and roll into a mini balls. Repeat the same procedure with the remaining colored dough. Place the rice balls onto a cookie tray/sheet and side aside to air dry for 2-3 hours as to harden slightly for easy handling.
Meanwhile, heat a large soup pot with water over medium heat and bring to a boil. Drop gently the glutinous rice balls into the boiling water and make sure not over-crowded the pot. Cook until the rice balls float to the top of the water. Transfer the cooked rice balls with a Chinese sieve (optional) to the ginger and pandan broth. Serve hot or warm in bowl.