Chinese glutinous rice dumplings (Tang yuan)


The glutinous rice dumplings, also known as Tang Yuan, can be eaten at any time of the year. It is, however, more prominent during the Lantern Festival, which falls on the last day of Chinese New Year. It is basically glutinous rice balls (either with or without filling) served in sweet syrup. I like the ones without fillings. There are many variations to the syrup. In Malaysia, the syrup generally consists of water, palm sugar, and pandan leaf (screwpine leaves).


tang-yuan-cookedI have not made these dumplings before, so this was my first try. I found the recipe on rasamalaysia.

I currently work in China. Therefore, pandan leaves and palm sugar are not available here. So I made my syrup with ginger, brown sugar, and water.



Here is the recipe:


Ginger Syrup

1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water
2-3 pandan leaves or screwpine leaves, tie into a knot
One 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and slightly pounded with a cleaver

Glutinous Rice Dumplings

2 cups glutinous rice (sticky rice) flour
7 oz water
Red and Yellow food coloring


To prepare syrup, boil the water in a pot. Add the screwpine leaves and ginger and bring it to boil on medium heat until you smell and ginger and pandan leaves aroma. Add sugar and let it simmer for another 15 minutes. Add more or reduce the sugar, to taste. Set aside.

In a big bowl, mix glutinous flour with water and knead with hands to form a dough. The dough is done when it doesn’t stick to your hands anymore.

Divide the dough into 3 portions, with the plain dough the biggest portion. Add 2-3 drops of each food coloring to make the pink and yellow dough.

Pinch the dough into small balls and roll them in between your palms into round balls. Set aside on a flat surface lined with paper or a slightly damp cloth.

Boil another pot of water, drop the dumplings into the boiling water. As soon as they float, transfer them into the syrup water. Serve immediately.

Cook’s Note:

Adjust the water level to the flour. Add more water if the dough is too dry. Add more flour if it’s too wet.


Original site:

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