Glutinous Rice Balls (Tang Yuan)
During Lunar New Year, many families consume tang yuan, or glutinous rice balls, to symbolize reunion and togetherness. They are considered a “good luck” food to bring in a peaceful and happy new year. We made a sweet version with black sesame seed and peanut fillings, but they can also be customized with your favorite fillings, such as chocolate or red bean. They are traditionally boiled, but can also be deep fried for more indulgence! Happy Lunar New Year!
1 hr 45 min
1 hr 45 min
1 hr 45 min
1 hr 45 min
for 20 balls
- ¼ cup black sesame seeds (35 g)
- ¼ cup unsalted peanuts (30 g)
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
Brown Sugar Ginger Syrup
- 2 cups water (480 mL)
- ½ cup brown sugar (100 g)
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 1 ¼ cups glutinous rice flour (155 g), ¼ cup boiling water (60 ml) ¼ cup room temperature water (60 ml)
- pink food coloring
- Calories 82
- Fat 3g
- Carbs 11g
- Fiber 0g
- Sugar 5g
- Protein 1g
Estimated values based on one serving size.
- Make the fillings: Add the sesame seeds to a small nonstick pan. Cook over low heat, stirring often, until they start to smell nutty, 3–4 minutes.
- Transfer the sesame seeds to a small food processor with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Process until the seeds break down into a thick, cohesive paste. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and process until smooth. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until hardened, at least 1 hour or up to 4 days.
- Clean the bowl of the food processor, then repeat the toasting and blending process with the peanuts, remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, and remaining tablespoon of butter. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until hardened, at least 1 hour or up to 4 days.
- Divide the sesame paste into 10 equal portions, about 1½ teaspoons each. Repeat with the peanut paste. Freeze until ready to use.
- Make the brown sugar ginger syrup: Add the water, brown sugar, and ginger to a small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved, 3–5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until ready to serve. (Alternatively, if you prefer to serve the tang yuan in hot syrup, cover to keep warm until ready to serve.)
- Make the dough: Add the glutinous rice flour to a large bowl. Slowly pour in the boiling water and whisk until combined. Slowly pour in the room temperature water and stir with a rubber spatula until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and knead with your hands until smooth and soft, 2–3 minutes.
- Divide the dough in 2 portions. Set one portion aside and cover with a damp paper towel, then return the other portion to the bowl used to make the dough. Add a couple of drops of pink food coloring and knead with your hands (wear latex gloves to avoid dyeing your hands pink) until the color is evenly distributed.
- Roll each color of dough into 10 equal balls, about 1 tablespoon each. Place on a tray and cover with a damp paper towel to keep from drying out as you roll.
- Working one at a time, flatten each dough ball into a 2-inch circle. Press your thumb into the center to make a divot, then add one of the chilled filling balls to the divot and pull the dough around to encase. Roll a few times to create a smooth, uniform round. Repeat with the remaining dough and fillings, covering the filled tang yuan with a damp paper towel as you finish.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. If serving cold, prepare an ice bath in a medium bowl and set nearby. Add about 6 tang yuan and immediately stir to prevent sticking. Cook until they start to float, about 3 minutes, then cook for 1 minute more. Use a slotted spoon to remove from the water and transfer to the ice bath, if applicable. Transfer to a serving bowl. Repeat with the remaining tang yuan.
- Pour the chilled brown sugar ginger syrup over the tang yuan and serve immediately.
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