Monday, December 30, 2013

The Story of Tang Yuan

Tang Yuan is the term given to the round glutinous rice balls rolled into their shapes with the dough and cooked in sweet ginger soup. Usually consumed during major Chinese festivals due to its symbolic meaning of reunion (round shape), this is specially significant in the Winter Solstice celebration.
Family members typically gather around the table after dinner to roll the dough and mould the dough into its round shape, placing them on a large tray before cooking or boiling them in a sweet ginger soup.
Pandan leaves could be added to lend that fragrant aroma to the soup when served (or even while it was cooking)

The rice balls could come in various colors; depending on the makers, and while artificial colors were used in the past; nowadays, the colors were derived from natural options such as fruits and vegetable colors (beetroot, dragonfruit, oranges, pandan juice, etc).

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Traditional tang yuan are without filling but creativity got ahead as times change and people decided they wanted to add a little more flavor to this rice balls; by filling them up with paste or even peanuts.
Common filling are lotus paste, red bean/mung bean paste, peanuts, black sesame paste, etc.

Even the soup could be innovated with the different types such as soy milk, fruit-themed, tea.

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What is your take/preference for the tang yuan?
Good old traditional and plain tastes - sweet ginger soup and rice balls with no filling
Or the variety of soups and fillings?

Perhaps there are times when the conventional version is just best, while there are times when we do let ourselves enjoy the creativity out there, as long as the good old dessert stays in style.
Whichever version it is, the most important thing is not in the dessert but rather the meaning of the dessert and the company with whom you are having it and THAT, my friends, make all the difference ~

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