Tang Yuan, the Dessert that Brings Families Together

Tang Yuan, the Dessert that Brings Families Together - NOOCI

Lunar New Year brings various forms of desserts to signify luck and fortune. The ever-popular Tang Yuan (glutinous rice flour balls) is always on top of the list. Not only is it sweet and nutty, if you like mochi this is THE dessert to have! Tang Yuan signifies unity as a family coming together in a circle. It’s commonly eaten all-year around, but particularly often served during holidays such as Lunar New Year or Mid-Autumn Festival.

Tang Yuan is also commonly had with a sweet ginger soup, but also occasionally other ingredients such as Osmanthus is also added for a touch of floral notes. Fragrant, sweet, and chock full of benefits. There’s no doubt that we all know that ginger contains anti-inflammatory, aids digestion, and dispels cold. The black sesame seeds used for the paste is sweet, with neutral properties, associated with aiding the kidney, liver functions, and moistens the intestines. Add a touch of Osmanthus to cleanse the liver, reduce inflammation, and support the lungs. This nourishing trifecta of ingredients bring together a dessert that boosts every aspect of your body especially after a heavy meal. Try it out yourself at home by making a big batch and sharing with your friends and family!


Black sesame glutinous balls in ginger and Osmanthus soup

Serving 20 balls


Black Sesame filling

  • Black sesame seeds 80g
  • White sugar 2 tablespoons
  • Butter 30g

Glutinous rice ball

  • Glutinous rice flour 130g
  • Boiling water 3 tablespoons
  • Room temperature water 4 tablespoons

 Ginger Soup (for a serving of 4. This can be doubled if you are serving for more)

  • Water 5 cups
  • Peeled ginger, minced or bashed 100g
  • Rock sugar 75g (or more to taste)
  • Osmanthus ½ tsp (or more for garnish)

Tip: Most Asian groceries carry pre-made frozen packaged versions if you’re not up for making your own.


Black sesame paste filling
  • Toast black sesame seeds in a frying pan over low heat.
  • In a food processor, grind cooled black sesame seeds and sugar until it turns into a paste texture.
  • Add butter and mix to combine, then keep refrigerated until the mixture is firm enough to handle.
  • Divide into 20 portions. Shape each piece into a ball. Put them back in the fridge while preparing the dough.

Glutinous rice ball dough

  • In a mixing bowl, pour hot water into glutinous rice flour while stirring with a spatula.
  • Add room temperature water little by little.
  • Knead with your hand until a smooth, soft dough forms.
  • Divide and roll into 20 balls.

Assemble the Tang Yuan

  • Flatten a piece of dough into a round wrapper with your fingers.
  • Place a ball of filling in the middle. Gently push the wrapper upwards to seal completely, and roll it until round and smooth.

Ginger soup

  • Fill pot with water and put in ginger. Bring to a boil on medium heat. Let it boil until water has reduced by 1 cup.
  • Add rock sugar and Osmanthus and boil until sugar has dissolved.

Cooking Tang Yuan

  • Fill a pot with boiling water. Once it reaches a rolling boil gently put in Tang Yuan.
  • Stir to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  • Boil for until all the balls start to float to the surface then cook for another minute after.

For storing Tang Yuan

  • Tang Yuan’s can be stored in the freezer, spaced out on tray on parchment paper.
  • Once full frozen, they can be placed in a Tupperware.
  • When you're about to cook, no need to defrost. It can be immediately placed in a boiling pot of water.

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