Tang yuan (Chinese rice balls in syrup)

    55 min

    A sweet made on a festival called ‘Tang Chek’.  This day actually falls on Winter Solstice. Tank Chek is quite an important festival in the Chinese calendar. Most traditional Chinese businesses will be closed for the day. Tank Chek also signifies the coming of Chinese New Year. As kids were told that we would be a year older after eating these. So you can imagine that we would all have our share. The roundness of the balls signifies the roundness of the coming year, ie, a smooth year.


    Leicestershire, England, UK
    44 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • For the dough
    • 150g glutinous rice flour
    • 150ml water
    • food colouring
    • For the syrup
    • 200g granulated sugar
    • 500ml water
    • 1 pandan leaf, torn lengthways and knotted

    Prep:40min  ›  Cook:15min  ›  Ready in:55min 

    1. Prepare the dough: Mix the rice flour and water till a smooth, pliable dough forms. Divide into three portions.
    2. Leave one portion uncoloured ie, white. Add a few drops of the pink (or red) food colouring to one portion and mix well. Repeat with the third portion, using green food colouring.
    3. Take one portion of the dough. Roll it and pinch small pieces to make the balls. Roll a piece between your palms to get a smooth round ball. Place on a plate. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Set aside.
    4. Prepare the syrup: Put the sugar, water and pandan leaf in a pot. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes, remove the pandan leaf. Set aside.
    5. To cook the balls: Bring a pot of water to the boil. Tip in the white balls and let it boil. Once the balls float to the top, remove with a strainer and add to the syrup.
    6. Repeat the process for the rest of the balls. Dish out and serve.


    Pandan leaf is the leaf of the screwpine plant commonly used as a flavouring in cooking in Asia.

    See it on my blog


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