This SUPER EASY Tang Yuan recipe is made with glutinous rice flour(which is actually gluten-free), and it only takes 10 minutes from start to finish! Tang Yuan can be served as a dessert or even savory. The texture is soft, a bit sticky, a bit chewy- a texture Taiwanese simply can’t get enough of!
With Donzhi(冬至), winter solstice approaching, it’s Tang Yuan time again! I’ve written about how to make Tang Yuan from absolute scratch (Sticky Rice) last year so I decided to share an easier version this year- using glutinous rice flour!
This version is a lot simpler and faster, I tried making it from rice last year just because I wanted to know how it’s traditionally done- also knowing that I can do it makes me feel good! I learned a lot doing it.
Styles of Tang Yuan
Stuffed or non-stuffed. Sweet or Savory.
Our favorite stuffed-style Tang Yuan is filled with black sesame seeds- Black Sesame Tang Yuan, and a simple brown sugar ginger broth for the non-stuffed little balls.
There’s also a savory Hakka-style tang yuan that’s loved by many, serves as a meal and will fix and cold gloomy day.
Glutinous Rice Flour
NOTE: Not every rice flour works. Look for “Glutinous rice flour“, 糯米粉(nuo4 mi3 fen3) aka sticky rice flour. Though the title says “glutinous”, this rice flour is actually gluten-free. ALL RICE in its natural form is gluten-free. It’s called “glutinous rice” because of the stickiness when cooked.
Great news is- since there’s no gluten, you can’t over work the dough! Tang yuan is a great dish to have kids involved! It can be any shape, or any color one desires- there has been some CRAZY tang yuan art all over the internet! Since Dongzhi(winter solstice) is usually around Christmas, I’ve done little snowman, Christmas tree, Santa hats, stars and anything I could think of! I love food that I can play with.
- 1 C Glutinous Rice Flour
- 1/2 C Room Temperature Water
- Mix the glutinous rice flour and water together and knead until it becomes a soft ball of dough. A texture similar to playdough. It should be soft, not too sticky also not too dry that it crumbles. Add a little water if it’s too dry, a bit more rice flour if it’s too wet/sticky.
- Divide the dough into as many color as you’d like and add your coloring to the dough! Knead and make sure the color is well-incorporated.
- Shape them into 1/2 inch or smaller rounds, or get creative and make some shapes! Cover the dough and finished tang yuan with a towel or keep them in a container with a lid to keep them from drying out as you’re working.
Cooking the Tang Yuan
- Bring a pot of water to boil, add tang yuan to the pot and boil until all the tang yuan floats to the top- that means they’re ready!
Tang Yuan with Brown Sugar Ginger Broth
- Make a brown sugar ginger broth(6C water, 6TBsp Brown sugar, 1″ thinly sliced ginger) and bring it to a boil then add the tang yuan to cook till they float.