Sunday, December 17, 2006

Tang Yuan 汤圆 significant and receipe for sharing

Hi Hi,
this tang yuan 汤圆 receipe is for sharing with you and your family...

Wat's tat??
Tang yuan 汤圆 are round balls made from glutinous rice flour mixed with a small amount of water. It is then cooked and served in boiling water or sweet soup. Sometimes they have different feelings inside such as black sesame paste, lotus seed paste, red bean paste, chopped peanuts and sugar...

Tangyuan that has been filled with sweet or savory fillings are collectively known as yuan xiao (元宵; pinyin: yuán xiāo). or is locally known as "Ya Mu Ling".

How to cook??
There are different ways of cooking, in Guangdong and Taiwan, a sweeten soup is used; it can be either a soup made of sweetened red beans (Hongdou), or ginger and rock sugar.

when do we eat 汤圆?
It is commonly associated with the Chinese New Year, Latern Festival and Dong Zhi. But of cos, if you like, you can always eat Tang Yuan all year round (ready-made tang yuan are available at all major supermarkets)

Wat's Dong Zhi??
Dong Zhi is the thanksgiving of the Chinese calendar. "Dong Zhi" literally means "arrival of winter". Coinciding with the winter solstice, it is an occasion for the family to get together to celebrate the good year they have had. It occurs 6 weeks before Chinese New Year and would normally fall between 21st Dec and 23rd Dec. And Tang Yuan is indispensible during this festival.

The origin of Dong Zhi...
Winter solstice signifies the beginning of winter. The sun is at the Tropic of Capricorn and this results in the longest night of the year for those living in the northern hemisphere. The festival began as a farmer's festival to celebrate year-end harvest.

The significant 汤圆:
"Yuan" (literally meaning "round") signifies "yuan man" (complete) and Tang Yuan means "tuan yuan" (family reunion). Eating Tang Yuan is symbolic of family unity and family prosperity. For good luck, families prefer to have some pink tang yuan to mix with the white ones.

okay, after so much here comes the receipe... (makes about 500+ small rice balls) this is quick and easy method of cooking @ SILRA or for many many people

2 packets of Glutinous Rice flour (can consider Erawan Brand= 3 Xiang Pie=3 Elephant Brand)
-> 1 for white and 1 for pink
Red coloring (in powder form)

Filling: (ur choice, we use red bean)
Ready Made red bean paste (can be bought at baking shop)
Small amount of cooking oil / groundnut oil (for handling the paste)

Dried Tangerine Peel (optional, this brings out a slight bitter taste) or
Ye Tang (optional, this will create the soup with coconut smell)
Ginger (Clean and mashed, no need to remove skin thus need to ensure it is wash clean)
Pandan leaves (clean and knot to knot)
Black Sugar
Rock Sugar or white sugar (for sweetness - thus ur preference)
Water (2 pots - 1 for soup and 1 for cooking tang yuan)
1 pot of Cold water

1) Dough: Mix flour with water to form into firm but not sticky dough. Leave it cover with damp towel for half hour.
2) Mix the red coloring powder with small amount of water. Repeat Step 1 and pour in the red color mixture with water. Continue to mix till the color of dough is even (by now it will turn into pink color). Let it stand for half hour.
3) in the meantime, oiled your hands with oil to handle the red bean paste (to prevent paste from sticking your hands). Pinch / cut the paste into small pieces to roll into balls shape. (optional to shape into balls)
4) After the dough is rest for half hour, you may:-
a) pinch from there and roll into balls or
b) divide into 4 portions, each roll into long shape and divide into smaller pieces to form into balls shape
5) to add the filling, from either 4(a) or 4(b), flat the small portion of dough and add the pre-cut red bean paste. Cover the red-bean paste and roll into ball shape. Place it onto a floured plate.
6) Soup base: Add all soup base ingredients except sugar. Bring to a boil. (By this time, you will be able to smell the ginger and tangerine peel smell) Then add sugar to your tasting.
7) Bring a pot of water to boil, add the tang yuan. Also, place a pot of cold water next to you. The tang yuan will float when it is cooked. Remove the tang yuan with strainer and quickly place it into the cold water. This process is to stop the cooking of tangyuan.
8) Now you may place the cooked tang yuan (in even no.) into serving bowls and add soup to serve. (if you are cooking at home, you can put the cooked tang yuan into soup (for more flavor) and remove from fire quickly when boil if not the tangyuan will "break")
Sit back and enjoy your tang yuan.

Note: the above is the quick and easy method of homemade tangyuan..for my home cooking, we will normally prepare and cook the plain tang yuan the night before dong zhi. After cooking, we will "marinate" the plain tang yuan with lots of sugar and place in the fridge. This is done to make the tang yuan sweeter (thus it will not be so plain to eat, you may wish to separate out if any of your family member is diabetic).
When comes the next day morning, we will cook the soup (with no sugar or less) and add the sweeten tang yuan inside. Dish out and serve together with chopped peanuts & sugar (this is to coat the outside layer of plain tangyuan; oso to "cheat children to eat")

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