Thursday, December 20, 2012

Happy Dongzhi Festival! 冬至快乐!

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Tomorrow we, Chinese will celebrate Dongzhi (
冬至). Traditionally we will make and eat tangyuan (汤圆) which symbolize one year older :D Tangyuan are balls made of glutinuous rice flour.  The flour balls may be plain or stuffed. They are cooked in a sweet soup or savoury broth with both the ball and the soup/broth served in one bowl. I remember I used to help my mum shaping the balls a night before Dongzhi and keep in fridge. The next morning I used to be woke up by the smell of the tangyuan dessert :) I knew my mum's tangyuan is ready. And I used to be the first one having the hot sweet tangyuan. What a sweet childhood memory...

Now I become mum and I am the one make those tangyuan. Based on last year respond my kids don't like tangyuan at all. So this year I prepare modern version of tangyuan. Thanks to
小小米桶 ideas for his unique tangyuan recipes.
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This year my tangyuan is stuffed with chocolate served in milk. You read it right...tangyuan with chocolate filling in milk. Why milk? The filling itself is quite sweet. Therefore it is just right serving with milk. Anyway chocolate and milk are perfect companion right? I personally like this tangyuan. And this year I manage to get my elder son (at least one of them) to like my tangyuan :D
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In order to get bright coloured balls I used pumpkin, purple sweet potatoes and homemade pandan paste. Besides I also take extra effort make '粄娘' while making the dough. It is a method of adding a bit cooked dough inside dough. This is not only eased the process of wrapping but also produce nice chewy texture.

At first I'm thinking of use chocolate chips as filling. Until I read here for better option. I know extra work to prepare those filling. Since I can make ahead I’m alright. I'm glad I make the filling from scratch with added orange zest. It is really worth the effort :)

Inspired by 小小米桶
~ Chocolate filling
70g semi-sweet chocolate
10g whipping cream(or milk)
Zest of a orange
1. Put chocolate and cream into heatproof bowl. Place the bowl on slow boiling water. Monitor closely. It is ready when there is sign of chocolate start melting. Remove from heat and stir till smooth. Add in zest and mix till combine. Set aside to cool. It is ready once not sticky to touch and firm enough to pipe into shape.
2. Transfer the chocolate mixture into plastic bag (or piping bag).  Make a cut at the edge and pipe out on lined baking pan. Shape into tiny balls. Keep in fridge till set.
* I prepare a day before. With this portion I had pipe out about 30 pieces small chocolate filling.
~ Glutinous balls
~Purple balls
50g glutinous rice flour
50g purple sweet potato (cooked and mashed; warm or hot, NOT cold)
Some water

~Orange balls
50g glutinous rice flour
50g pumpkin (cooked and mashed; warm or hot, NOT cold)
Some water
~Geeen balls
70g glutinous rice flour
1 tablespoon pandan paste
*Blend few pandan leaves with water. Cover and keep in fridge for 1-2 days. The residue at bottom is the concentrated pandan juice.
Some water
~Each coloured dough yields about 10 pieces
1. Put flour in mixing bowl. Add in mashed sweet potato/ pumpkin/ pandan paste into flour and mix till crumbly.

2. Now making '粄娘’ (cooked dough). Gather small dough (about 10g; add tiny bit water). Flatten into disc. Put inside hot boiling water and cook till float onto surface.

3. Take out the cooked dough. Drain and add into crumbly flour mixture. Knead till form dough. Adjust quantity of water accordingly.

4. Divide dough into 10g portion. Each portion wrap with chocolate filling. Repeat till all dough finish.


* Can make a day ahead. Keep in container with lid in fridge. Do line base and top of container with kitchen towel to avoid condensation which will cause wet dough. 

5. Bring a pot of water to rapid boil. Gently drop glutinous rice balls inside. Cook the balls till float onto surface. Drain and serve with milk. Enjoy!

Wishing all Happy Dongzhi Festival!



  1. Happy Dongzhi Vivian,

    Loooove the color combination. Definitely will try this, thanks for sharing.

  2. Beautifully done! and so colorful! I love the flavors combinations too! Happy WInter Solstice to you!

  3. Viv,
    Creative tang yuan!
    Happy Dongzhi to you and your family !

  4. Happy Tang yuan festival..thanks for your recipe, I gonna make this now

  5. Your tangyuan looks delicious! I love the sweet kind. However, my mom always makes the savory kind every year. She makes plain glutinous rice balls and adds it to a broth, with fish paste, melon, and chinese sausage.

    Happy Dongzhi festival to you and your family.


  6. Happy Dongzhi to u and family!Nice and heathy tangyuan with no artificial color added, Good.

  7. Love all the colours of your tang yuan. Happy Dongzhi festival to you and your family too!!

  8. Happy Dongzhi festival! I once made chocolate tang yuan for my younger brother because he isn't a huge fan of tang yuan - it's such a great idea!! He said it was very nice, and ate them all up =) haha.


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