Monday, February 11, 2013

For CNY's sake, let's have tang yuan

One of my best memories as a kid as to be baking with my grandfather nearing the chinese new year period. As I mentioned yesterday, he has the best kueh bangkit and quite a good pineapple tart as well. But what I remember most would be rolling balls of tang yuan into perfect spheres. That was a treat we will always get around this time. We'd go to his house and roll the balls. The next morning, he'd come over with a big bowl of sweet, delicious tang yuan.

Tang yuan are really super simple to make. Only 2 ingredienst: glutinous rice flour. Before this, it was always so simple that I didn't even bother writing down a recipe. I'd simply empty a whole packet (500g) of glutinous rice flour and add water till it all just comes together as a smooth dough. But now that I'm blogging about it, I decided to measure out the water so that you all can have a reference point.

Of course, the only part I never really enjoyed was colouring the dough. By the end of the tang yuan making session, I look like a kid who just finished art class. But there's no way I can serve plain, white only tang yuan, is there? After all, it's chinese new year, it's festive and colourful =)

Even the sugar syrup for this is super simple. But this time, the sugar syrup I made is a little different.

As a kid, all things sweet appealed to me. So the tang yuan in sugar syrup was perfect then. But nowadays, I find the sharp sweetness a little too strong. Adding a few stalks of fragrant lemongrass to the syrup cuts through the sweetness and brings a refreshing touch to this traditional dessert.

Of course, if you want to keep it simple or traditional, go ahead and make a regular sugar syrup. Just boil the water and dissolve sugar in it to your taste.

There's no longer a need for the frozen tang yuan~

Lemongrass Tang Yuan
(makes a big punchbowl)
Tang Yuan
500g glutinous rice flour
400ml water

1. Mix together till well incorporated.

2. Roll into 1 inch balls.

3. Boil in water till they float up to the surface, about 2 minutes.

4. Remove from boiling water and soak in cold water immediately to stop the cooking process.

Lemongrass syrup
about 2 strips of pandan leaves
about 2 to 4 sticks of lemongrass
1.5 litres of water

1/4 cup of rock sugar

1. Combine pandan leaves, lemongrass and water in a pot. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, cover and cook for about 5 minutes.

2. Add rock sugar and boil till dissolve.

3. Drain tang yuan and pour syrup over.


  1. This looks so interesting & fun to make - pinning this to try out. Thanks for linking to the Craftastic Monday party at Sew Can Do!

  2. Hi Joey,

    I remember cooking tang yuen too with my grandma when I was little but not cooking them at Melbourne because my husband and I find them too much to eat for just 3 of us here... *sign*

    You added lemongrass into your syrup... this is new to me.

    Before I go, I have to say... Happy CNY!!! Wishing you best of everything for the year of snake.



    1. Happy Chinese New Year =) all the best to you too!

  3. Hey... sorry it's me, Zoe again. Just realised that you started Twittering. I'm now your latest Twitter follower :D



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