Sunday, February 24, 2013

年宵節吃"年宵"(湯圓)Glutinous Rice Balls

Today is the fifteenth day (and the last day) of Chinese New Year celebrations.  This day is called 'Nian Xiao' or Chap Goh Meh in Malaysia.  It's also called Lantern Festival where in China and Japan, thousands of Lanterns are lighted and it's a colourful night!

Chinese New Year is extremely quiet in Germany.  Having no China Town here (the whole of Germany), there is just no CNY atmosphere at all.

But still, we celebrated CNY at our own home.  Having our family dinner during the 除夕 (CNY eve), cooking Chinese food, giving the kids 紅包 (red package), making Yee Sang and wearing something red, etc.   I wanted to make an "open house", meaning inviting friends over for food, food, food and food for this CNY, but I had a flu and was sick for a week.  So I had to skip that this year and hopefully I will have one next year.

During Nian Xiao, the traditional food to eat is 湯圓, which is also 年宵, glutinous rice balls.  Eating Tang Yuan on this day means 團團圓圓, that the family will always be able to get together during these type of special occasions.  My daughter had helped me a few times now with making tang yuan. And she's pretty good at it. :-)

The tang yuan recipe that I want to share today is red bean paste tang yuan in coconut milk syrup with sago and the aroma of pandan leave and ginger.

for tang yuan
200g glutinous rice flour, with 100g in each bowl
170ml water, with 85ml in each glass
100g red bean paste
Food colourings

for the syrup
1 can coconut cream 400ml
600ml water
1 pandan leave, tied
Two slices ginger
5 tbsp sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup sago, soaked in water

makes 32 balls

1.  If you don't want to use food colours, then you don't need to separate the flour and water.
2.  Add the colour you desire into the water and mix well. I used purple and yellow. Mix the yellow colour water with 100g of flour well until they are a smooth dough and do not stick on your hands.  Repeat the same with the purple colour water and the remaining 100g flour.
3.  Divide each colour dough into 24 equal pieces and roll them into a ball shape.  Using your fingers, flatten the ball and place some red bean paste in the middle.

4.  Fold the edge to seal the dough. Using both palms, roll the dough into a ball shape gently.  The red bean paste should be completely wrapped by the dough.  Do not put too much fillings though as the ball may burst while boiling.
5.  In a pot boil the 600ml water with pandan leave and ginger for about 5 minutes.  Pour in the drained sago.  When the sago is almost cooked through, add in sugar and salt.  Then add in the coconut cream.
6.  In another pot, add in enough water to boil the balls.  Drop the balls into the hot boiling water.  They are done when they float to the top.  Transfer them to the coconut syrup and serve the tang yuan with coconut syrup hot or warm.