Sweet Rice Balls

汤圆tāng yuán


1 cup glutinous rice flour

1/4 cup boiling water

1/4 cup cold water

2 tsp olive oil

1/4 cup water

(optional) 1 pear or clementine

1 cup black sesame or red bean paste

Prepare Filling Paste

  1. You can use either black sesame paste (recipe link) or red bean paste (recipe link). We have recipes for both, so choose your own adventure 😊. Note that black sesame paste can easily be made in ~30 minutes, but red bean paste takes at least a few hours.

  2. Leave the paste in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

  3. Pat the paste to a slab about 1/2 inch thick and dice the slab - 1 cup of paste should give you about 18-20 dices of about ~15 grams each.

  4. Roll the dices into small balls or simply keep them as dices

  5. Place the balls/dices on a plate and leave them in the refrigerator for another 30 minutes.

Prepare the Rice Flour Skins

  1. Mix the glutinous rice flour, boiling water, and olive oil in a mixing bowl.

  2. Add the cold water gradually as you mix. You want the ingredients to easily come together into a soft dough that isn't sticky.

  3. Cover the bowl and let sit for 15 minutes.

Make the Tāng Yuán

  1. Split the dough in half as it'll be easier to work with this way.

  2. Roll one half into a long rope, and then cut into 9-10 pieces. Each piece should be about the same 15-20 grams.

  3. Roll one piece of the dough into a small ball, and then use your thumb to flatten it into a circle.

  4. Take one of the filling balls/dices (I usually leave the plate in the refrigerator and grab one at a time so they don't lose their shape), and place it in the center of the dough.

  5. Wrap the filling ball, making sure to close the seams tightly, and then roll in your hands to get a nice sphere.

  6. Repeat Steps 3-5 with the rest of the dough pieces.

  7. Repeat Steps 2-6 with the other half of the dough.

  8. If you want to eat some of these later, you can now freeze them.

Boil the Tāng Yuán

  1. Boil a pot of about 3-4 inches of water, enough to completely submerge your tāng yuán.

  2. Once the water is boiling, reduce the temperature to medium, and add tāng yuán - make sure you don't add too many - they should comfortably fit in one layer in your pot.

  3. Gently stir using a wooden spoon so they don't stick to the pot.

  4. When the water boils, add 1/3 cup of water.

  5. When the water boils a second time, add another 1/3 cup of water.

  6. When the water boils a third time, add another 1/3 cup of water.

  7. When the water boils and/or the tāng yuán float to the top, turn off the stove. (If you like the tangy taste of fermented sweet rice, add several spoons of that and turn off the stove once the pot boils again)

  8. Scoop out the tāng yuán and some of the water into a bowl.

  9. If you want to add some fruit, peel and chop up a pear or clementine and add to the bowl.

  10. Serve and enjoy!