Ever since I got married, we will return to my parents-in-law's house for dinner during each year's Winter Solstice Festival. My mother-in-law will of course prepare glutinous rice balls or 'tang yuan' in sweet ginger syrup. Sometimes it comes with filling, sometimes it doesn't, depending if she has the time to make it or not.
This year, since we relocated to Johor, it is not possible for us to make a trip back to PJ, so I decided to try to make my on my own, so at least we still keep this tradition in the household.
I searched recipes online, and doesn't look to difficult at all. Here is my first attempt at making simple 'tang yuen' without filling.
1 packet glutinous rice flour (糯米粉)
1 cup boiled water
1 packet brown sugar
3-4 pandan leaves
1 medium piece of ginger, smashed
To make 'tang yuan'
1. Sieve half packet of glutinous rice flour into mixing bowl.
2. Slowly add water, and knead the dough until the texture is soft yet does not stick into your hands.
If the dough becomes too dry, then add more water. If it is too wet and sticky, just add more flour. There is no specific flour-to-water ratio. It really depends on the texture, or should I put it as agak-agak. This is definitely Gordan Ramsey's nightmare LOL.
3. Segregate the dough into a few sections so we can add colouring to individual batch.
4. In a separate bowl, add a few drops of food colouring into a single batch of dough and knead it till colour is even spread out in the dough.
5. Pinch out small batches of coloured dough and roll it into small balls.
6. Repeat process for other colours.
7. If no plans to consume the 'tang yuan' immediately, then best to keep in air tight container and put into fridge after making it. My aunty did mention we can store uncooked 'tang yuan' in the fridge for up to 5 days.
(I should have taken a photo of the colourful glutanious rice balls we made but I forgotten, oops my bad!)
To make the sweet ginger syrup
1. Boil water in a pot
2. Add pandan leaves, brown sugar (according to own preference of sweetness), and smashed ginger
3. Let the water boil, and then simmer for another 10 minutes, or until you can smell and taste the ginger and pandan. If need to add sugar, you may do so at this time. Let sugar melt and simmer a little longer.
4. Set aside.
To cook 'tang yuan'
1. Bring a separate pot of water to boil.
2. Add the 'tang yuan' into the boiling water and cook till it completely floats on the surface.
3. Scoop up the cooked 'tang yuan' and transfer into a bowl of room temperature to cool.
To serve 'tang yuan'
1. Scoop the cooked 'tang yuan' into a bowl of the sweet ginger syrup
2. Best is to consumed it while hot.
Here is my first attempt, the 'tang yuan' rolled by both myself and DC. She wanted rainbow colours hence we have white, blue, pink, orange, yellow and dark purple. We may have rolled them a little too big but I am sure there is room for improvement next year!