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Tang Yuan 汤圆

Tang Yuan (汤圆 in Chinese) is one of my favorite Chinese dessert dishes. With tomorrow being Chinese New Year 2018, it’s probably a good time to share some a recipe of this traditional Chinese dish.

Tang yuan is mainly made of glutinous rice flour and can be with our without filling. I like tang yuan with black sesame paste filling – the most common type.

We normally eat tangyuan on the day of Lantern Festival. Some families also eat it during Spring Festival because tang yuan symbolizes “family reunion”.

Tang yuan is soft, sweet and delicious. Instead of buying tang yuan from grocery stores, isn’t it more meaningful to make it yourself?

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

  • 60 g roasted black sesame seeds
  • 15 g chopped walnuts
  • 35-40 g sugar
  • 40 g butter / lard
  • 150 g glutinous rice flour
  • 120 g warm water


Traditional black sesame paste filling uses lard, but butter also works.


  1. Finely grind black sesame seeds, sugar and walnuts in a food processor/blender.
  2. Transfer ground black sesame seeds to a bowl, add melted butter and mix well. Refrigerate the paste until it’s solid.
  3. Black sesame paste is much easier to handle after being refrigerated. Divide it into 10 equal portions and roll into small balls. Keep in the refrigerator for later use.
  4. Slowly add warm water to glutinous rice flour, stir with chopsticks. Start to knead the dough with hands once large chunks form.
  5. Knead until a soft, non-stick, cohesive dough forms.
  6. Divide dough into 10 equal portions. Cover with a wet cloth so that the dough won’t be too dry to work with.
  7. Take one piece of dough and shape into a small bowl. Place black sesame paste in the middle, close and roll into a round ball.
  8. To cook tangyuan, bring a pot of water to boil, gently add tang yuan and cook until tang yuan floats to the surface. Serve immediately.

How to serve tang yuan

Method 1: simply serve with tang yuan boiling water. Garnish with dried edible flowers and goji berries if desire.

Method 2:

Serve drained tang yuan with roasted ground soybean paste and honey.

Method 2 is not conventional, but more interesting.

Happy New Year!

Other Chinese dessert recipe:

Chinese Dessert | Brown sugar sticky rice balls

Taiwanese Taro Balls

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