Lantern Day is nearly upon us and there is a traditional sweet we all like to eat at this time; Tang Yuen (or Tangyuan) for Lantern Day 元宵節,湯圓. This sweet is mainly made of sticky rice flour but Joanne likes to mix in almost as much Tapioca flour to make it have a better “bite”. You can make Tang Yuen that are solid and also a variety that are filled. Today we make Tangyuan filled with peanut powder, coconut and sugar mixture. Also we make a solid variety which is just the flours mixed with mashed Yam. Both are boiled in a sweet sauce containing brown sugar, and in our case, dried dragon eye fruits. You could use dried lychees or dates or raisins instead.

Tang Yuen rice ball, filled with crushed peanut and coconut!

Tang Yuen rice ball, filled with crushed peanut and coconut!

The ingredients 食材 (for 2);

  • 1 Chinese bowl of sticky rice flour
  • 1 Chinese bowl of tapioca flour
  • a piece of yam (cook it and mash it, later it will mix with the dough)
  • half a bowl of sugar
  • some dried fruit – we used dried longyan (dragon eyes) Taiwanese traditional choice
  • quarter bowl of crushed roast peanuts and quarter bowl of dessicated coconut mixed with 1 tbsp sugar
  • a cup of cold water
  • quarter cup of hot water
Tang Yuen waiting to be cooked!

Tang Yuen waiting to be cooked!

The method 作法;

  1. put your flour in a mixing bowl and add the hot water, stirring it in with a spoon
  2. add the cold water bit by bit until the flour becomes a workable dough, not too dry or too wet
  3. just before you think there is enough water in then add 1 tsp of cooking oil and mix it in
  4. we are saving half the dough for tomorrow for a savoury soup and half today for these sweets
  5. with half of the dough make a long sausage of dough and cut it into even sized pieces, about 20
  6. roll the pieces into 20 balls, a bit of flour on the table might help
  7. with 10 of the balls, we are going to fill with peanut/coconut powder – flatten the ball like the shape of a mushroom cap. Spoon a little filling into this indentation, fold the sides in and roll it back into a ball (video: 4 minutes 20 seconds)
  8. with the other 10 balls we mix with mashed yam, this blends in the ball, doesn’t have to be inside it
  9. boil up a pan with 2 cups of water, the sugar and dried fruit
  10. add the Tang Yuen 湯圓 to the water
  11. when they float to the top that means they are cooked and ready
  12. serve hot in the sauce you boiled them up in, they are hot, be careful – Mark’s favourite are the peanut/coconut ones!


A big bowl of steaming hot Tang Yuen

A big bowl of steaming hot Tang Yuen

Joanne has recorded a Tang Yuen for Lantern Day 元宵節,湯圓 cooking video so you can see and follow the timings, techniques, and method step by step, as she prepares this Lantern Day Festival favourite. It is probably especially useful to watch the sticky rice ball being folded around the filling (4.20 in the video)

How to make Tang Yuen for Lantern Day 元宵節,湯圓, cooking video

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