Friday, December 21, 2012

汤圆 Tangyuan


 Hey everyone! Today is the first day of winter. Happy Dongzhi Festival. During this day, the family comes together and eats tangyuan (汤圆). It symbolizes reunion. 

Well, exactly is tangyuan? It is balls of glutinous rice flour. There are sweet kinds with fillings (such as red bean paste and sesame paste) with sugar water and there are savory ones made with a broth or soup (like the one I made with my mom, pictured above). 

This is a traditional recipe from which my mom brought here from China. She started making it since she was a little girl living in the villages in China. There are no exact measurements for the recipe but the ingredients and directions I tell you do matter. Enjoy. 

Savory Tangyuan (汤圆)

  • 1 bag glutinous rice flour (1 lb)
  • water (to add to the flour unti it forms a dough)
  • chinese sausage, sliced
  • fish paste
  • pork, cut into pieces
  • cut up nappa cabbage
  • shrimp
  • daikon radish
  • chicken broth (homemade or canned)
  1.  Cut up and slice the radish. Cook it with the cabbage. 
  2. If you like fish cakes, pan fry the fish paste. If not, ignore this step. 
  3. Add water to a wok and then add chicken broth until it's 3/4 full. Boil it. 
  4. While you wait for it to boil, pour the bag of flour into a mixing bowl. Slowly mix in the water until a dough forms. The dough should be barely sticky. 
  5. Take a section of dough and roll back and forth into long rolls, then pinch off a marble-sized dough and roll it between hands to form a ball. Once the water/broth mixture starts boiling, add in the rolled dough balls. Add in the shrimp, pork and sausage. If you didn't make a fish cake, then drop ball sized pieces of fish paste into the boiling water/broth.
  6. Cover the wok until the balls expand. 
  7. Then, add in the radish and cabbage. 
  8. Enjoy. 

Now, here's the recipe for the sweet tangyuan.

 Sweet Tangyuan (汤圆)

  1.  Fill a small pot 3/4 full with water and bring to a boil. 
  2. While waiting for the water boil, make the dough from glutinous rice flour just like from the savory tangyuan recipe. 
  3. Once the water boils, add in the brown sugar pieces. Once the sugar melts, add in the glutinous rice balls. Cover and cook for 1 minute. 
  4. Turn off the heat. 
  5. Serve. 
I love this simple sweet tangyuan because of the sugar soup. It tastes so good.

My uncle also made a spinach dip recipe and gave me the recipe. I'm going to make it healthier by substituting some of the ingredients. I'll post the recipe once I make it. I have tons of other recipes I want to post too but it will take time. I want to make hamantaschen, coconut macaroons (dipped in chocolate), russian tea cakes (butter balls, mexican wedding cakes) and a lot more things.

I also baked vegan brownies to bring to work. My co-workers like them. One even asked for the recipe. I'm so happy. I gladly gave her the recipe. I made regular ones and vegan ones. Here's the picture of my brownies:

Can you tell which ones are vegan and which ones are regular?

At work, I also ate this dark chocolate square with peppermint bark. It was delicious!

Anyway, more about my day. I went grocery shopping a lot the past couple days because of the holidays. I bought shredded coconut (to make macaroons, which I hope to make soon), chocolate chips. cocoa powder, powdered sugar, almonds, Skippy All-Natural Creamy Peanutbutter (yummy!), apple sauce (for the vegan brownies I made) and some other things too.

I also bought these:

Greek Yogurt, Van's Lite Waffles, Vegetable Mix, Cut Leafy Spinach and Steamable Asian Vegetables. The Greek Yogurt, spinach and and vegetable mix are some of the ingredients I'm going to use to make the spinach dip my uncle made. I also bought some Clif Bars, of course. I'm addicted to Clif Bars. Now, my new favorite Clif Bar flavor is the coconut chocolate kind. It's not white chocolate macadamia anymore or the chocolate almond fudge.

By the way, I also ate some Slow Churned Cookies N Cream Ice Cream with 2 mini chocolate chips. It looks cute, right? It kind of looks like Mickey Mouse.

So, now, it's raining on the first day of winter, the supposed dooms day. I'll see you next time.

What's your favorite dip?
        I love hummus! I also like guacamole, salsa, and the spinach dip.

How do you eat your waffles? With ice cream? Chocolate? Syrup? Peanut Butter? Strawberries and whipped cream? Blueberries?

Do you celebrate the first day of winter? If so, how?

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