Tiger rice balls

This glutinous rice balls dessert (tang yuan) is a family favorite.  I like it too because it is so easy to make and if you have kids or elderly parents, it is a fun "craft" to get them involved in.  In preparation for Lunar New Year, I've decided to mix "tradition" with "comtemporary"!

A dish made of rice balls (tang yuan) is usually served during lunar new year.  The texture is soft, somewhat sticky and chewy. The glutinous rice balls are usually made as plain white balls, filled with a filling such as black sesame, red bean or peanut paste or in my household, just colored for panache.  They are usually served in a bowl of a lightly sweetened clear liquid, but I prefer a lightly sweetened milk mixture for enhanced nutrition.  Although I make this glutinous rice balls dessert (tang yuan) throughout the year,  Chinese New Year celebration is not  complete without it!

"Tang yuan" literally translates to "soup ball". However, the homophone pronounciation of "tang yuan"  also means togetherness and the gathering of families so that is why it has become a symbolic dish during the lunar new year.

Tips for making glutinous rice balls dessert (tang yuan)

Rolling the rice balls is probably the most time consuming part of this recipe, but rest assured, there are ways to speed up the process.  Experts in making tang yuan can roll multiple balls between their palms.  For me, my girls and recently my elderly parents, LOVE making this!  How did I get my girls to LOVE making this?  I made this into a craft. With vials of food coloring, I told them to make their best, most colorful creation!  

Glutinous Rice Flour.

When making these glutinous rice balls, make sure you pick up the correct rice flour. GLUTINOUS rice flour will lend itself to the soft, chewy balls.  DO NOT USE THE REGULAR RICE FLOUR.

glutinous rice flour

Glutinous rice flour.

Rice to water ratio.

Although I have a specific recipe below, I believe it's important to learn the "science" behind cooking which frees one from constantly needing a recipe.  For the glutinous rice balls, the amount of liquid volume needed is about 80% of the weight of the glutinous rice flour. For example, 100g of glutinous rice flour will require about 80 ml of a liquid. However, always have extra glutinous rice flour on hand in case you need to add just a little more glutinous rice flour in for a better, workable consistency.

Water temperature.

As I've been working with dumpling doughs, I've realized that many recipes require adding boiling water.  The addition of boiling water increases the speed at which the flour absorbs the liquid which results in a smoother, more pliable dough that is silkier and easier to work with.  This process is called gelatinization.  Microwave or boil half the total amount of liquid while keeping the other half at room temperature.  First stir in all the boiling liquid  until fully incorporated, followed by the room temperature liquid.  Adding room temperature liquid to the mixture, reduces the temperature of the dough, making it easier to knead my hand. The mixture will appear dry and crumbly.  Do not be tempted to add any more water  until you have kneaded the dough using your hands.  If additional liquid is required, add a very little at a time.

Dry and crumbly dough prior to hand kneading.

Dry and crumbly glutinous rice ball dough prior to hand kneading.

Making colored glutinous rice balls (tang yuan).

Glutinous rice balls can be colored completely naturally or with food coloring.

Vegetable juicies such as carrot, spinach, beet can be used as natural food coloring.  Otherwise, vials of food coloring are a quick and more flexible way of making colored balls.

Orange glutinous rice balls made with carrot juice.

Orange glutinous rice balls made with carrot juice and food coloring.

Glutinous rice balls with food coloring.

Glutinous rice balls embellished with food coloring.

If you would like to have solid colored balls, I suggest mixing the food coloring into the water and then adding the colored water into the glutinous rice flour.  Otherwise, you can add the food coloring directly onto the dough balls creating a more marbled effect.  

Let me know how yours turned out in the comment section!

tiger rice ball 2

GLUTINOUS RICE BALLS DESSERT (SWEET TANG YUAN)

Michelle Sam
Translucent, soft and chewy glutinour rice balls that are immersed in sweetened milk mixture See the tips to make this an easy recipe.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 24 balls
Calories 42 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

Black rice ball dough

Orange rice ball dough

Instructions
 

Black sesame dough

  • Half the amount of black sesame drink and put it into 2 separate containers.
  • Add the glutinous rice into a bowl and make a well in the center.
  • Heat / microwave one of the bowls of black sesame drink until bubbling, this should only take a few seconds.
  • Pour the hot black sesame drink into the glutinous rice flour and mix with chopsticks or spoon.
  • Add the room temperature black sesame drink and mix.
  • Stir mixture until all the the liquid is absorbed.
  • Using your hands, knead the dough for 2-3 minutes until well combined. Allow it to rest for about 10 minutes.

Orange dough

  • Half the amount of carrot juice and put it into 2 separate containers.
  • Add the glutinous rice rice into a bowl and make a well in the center.
  • Heat / microwave one of the bowls of black sesame drink until bubbling, this should only take a few seconds.
  • Pour the hot carrot juice into the glutinous rice flour and mix with chopsticks or spoon.
  • Add the room temperature carrot juice and mix.
  • Stir mixture until all the the liquid is absorbed.
  • Using your hands, knead the dough for 2-3 minutes until well combined. Allow it to rest for about 10 minutes.

Making the stiped pattern

  • Roll or flattern each piece into a flat piece.
  • Place one piece on top of the other.
  • Roll dough into a swiss roll and continue into a long snake.
  • Cut dough into 24 pieces
  • With both your palms, roll dough into balls.

Cooking the balls

  • Boil water in a saucepan.
  • Add balls to the pot while stirring the water to prevent the balls from sticking to the bottom.
  • When the balls float to the top, cook for an additional minute.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove balls from water and add it to your sweetened mixture.

Video

Notes

The nutritional value is for 1 glutinous rice ball.

Nutrition

Serving: 24gCalories: 42kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 3mgPotassium: 23mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 956IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 2mgIron: 1mgNet Carbohydrates: 9g
Keyword crystal dumplings, dumplings
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was or if you have any questions or suggestions!
I want to see!Follow @Sammywongskitchen on Instagram or Facebook, snap a photo and tag it #sammywongskitchen
{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Need meal ideas?

EASY, HEALTHY, DELICIOUS!

SILKY CANTONESE STEAMED EGG
BROWN STICKY RICE WITH CHICKEN IN BAMBOO LEAVES (ZONGZI 粽子)
EASY “CASIAN” (CAJUN ASIAN) SHRIMP
CAPRESE INSPIRED TOMATO SALAD
CHINESE STEAMED PORK WITH SAUSAGE

DON'T MISS A RECIPE