Tang yuan are a dessert popular throughout China. In the north, they add the filling to the dough and make tiny balls called yuanxiao. In the south, it is made like a dumpling, stuffed as big as possible and served in a broth.
The kind of broth depends on what is in the filling. If it is savory, maybe a daikon radish and fish cake broth. Or it could be a sweet soup called tong sui, which is literally “sugar water”. For this recipe, we will make a sweet peanut filling and serve in hot water. This will keep the tang yuan warm until the moment you bite in.
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Tang Yuan Info
Another thing I tried was serving in a bowl of green tea. Now that Instagram exists, there’s all kinds of colorful tang yuan sold in China. Sweet sesame seeds, osmanthus flowers, chocolate, fruit preserves, even rock sugar candy. If you think of anything, it’s probably been done in China.
So I encourage you to think of your own twists to put on this classic dish. Other kinds of tong sui soup include: red bean, black sesame, ginger, and fermented glutinous rice.
Making the Tang Yuan Filling
This filling is really easy to make. All you gotta do is crush some nuts (not deez), and slice a couple spring onions. Add brown sugar and five spice powder Also, melt butter and peanut butter in a pot and combine it all. The trying part is making the wrappers for the tang yuan.
Making The Wrappers
This dough is going to be really sticky. Try not to add any extra flour or water until you have worked it with your hands for a while. If it makes a cohesive ball, it’s ready. I recommend putting a couple damp paper towels on your counter. For some reason the dough doesn’t stick to this.
Now, cut the dough into 2 sections. Roll each of them into a snake. Cut them into about 1 inch sections. If you watch the video below, you will see that’s where I messed up the first time. If the wrappers are too small, you can’t fit enough filling inside.
Flatten a section in your hand, and add about 1 tbsp of tang yuan filling. Try to stretch the dough towards the top and pinch it together. This might be a little difficult, but I’m sure you will figure it out.
Other Cooking Methods
Deep frying filed tang yuan is an emerging trend in China. I bet it tastes fantastic! Also, you can serve it with ginger syrup. Or I don’t know, try maple syrup, why not.
Other countries have foods similar to tang yuan as well! One is bua loi from Thailand, made with pumpkin and coconut milk. If you were thinking of something more savory, try my pork dumplings recipe instead.
- ¼ cup salted peanuts chopped
- ⅛ cup brown sugar
- 2 spring onions sliced
- ⅛ tsp Chinese five spice powder
- ⅛ cup peanut butter
- 4 tbsp salted butter
- 2 cups glutinous rice flour
- 1 cup warm water
- Add the peanuts to a bowl with the brown sugar, spring onion, and Chinese five spice.
- Heat up a small pot on low heat. Melt the butter, then add the peanut butter.
- Add the rest of the filling to the pot. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until mixture has homogenized. Stir constantly.
- Pour the glutinous rice flour into a mixing bowl. Add water and mix vigorously.
- Work the dough with your hands until it becomes one nice blob.
- Put down a couple damp paper towels on your counter, the dough won't stick to this.
- Cut the dough in half. Roll each half into a snake.
- Cut the snake into small rectangles, about an inch wide.
Make The Tang Yuan
- Flatten a rectangle in your hand, into a disc. Add about a tbsp of filling. Pinch the dough towards the top to close. Repeat until out of dough or filling.
- Boil a pot of water on medium heat. Add the tang yuan. Boil until they rise to the top, about 7 minutes.
- Serve in a bowl of hot water or green tea. Enjoy!