Today is 'Winter Solstice' festival or 'Dong Zhi' and making and eating Tang Yuan/Tong Yuen in Cantonese, or glutinous rice balls, which symbolises reunion is customary. In Chinese culture, by eating Tong Yuan, you welcome in the winter and become 1 year older. Also families would gather for a sumptous dinner, celebrating the arrival of winter and the lengthening of days.
According to Chinese custom, every year on 'Dong Zhi' people make these Tong Yuen as an offering to Buddha and/or their ancestors.
Traditionally, Tong Yuen are just plain colourful glutinous rice balls but nowadays they are readily available with peanut, red bean paste and black sesame fillings. Personally, I still prefer the authentic plain ones.
Glutinous rice flour mixed with water to form a dough, then separated into small portions, add food colouring, ready to be rolled into small balls.
Colourful tong yuen, in syrup made with rock sugar and screwpine leaves.
Happy 'Winter Solstice' .......'Dong Zhi'............
Recipe for Tong Yuen
16 oz glutinous rice flour
Water to mix
Rock sugar to taste
A knob of crushed ginger
Food colouring of your choice
Place the rice flour in a mixing bowl,
gradually add in water to mix.
There's no hard and fast rule of how much
water to add to the flour.
Just add enough water or flour
to make the dough to the right consistency,
pliable and the dough does not stick to the hands.
Knead for a while.
Then separate the dough into small portions
and add food colouring, but leave one portion white.
Pinch off pieces of dough and roll dough
between palms of both hands
to form round, tiny balls.
Boil a pot of water and once boiling,
drop in the rice balls and once they float,
they are cooked.
Meanwhile, get ready a big bowl of boiled water
and scoop up the cooked rice balls
into this big bowl of water.
In another pot, boil rock sugar, crushed ginger and
screwpine leaves to make the syrup.
Sweetness is according to personal preference.
Once the syrup is ready, scoop up the rice balls
into a bowl and ladle in the syrup