Black Sesame Glutinous Rice Ball (Tang Yuan - 黑芝麻汤圆)
Black sesame glutinous rice balls (tang yuan - 黑芝麻汤圆), is a classic dessert eaten during Lunar New Year, the Lantern Festival, and winter solstices. The wrapper on the outside is chewy like mochi, and the black sesame filling is gooey, nutty, with just the right amount of sweetness.
1teaspoonube flavoring(optional if you want to color the whole dough purple)
For the black sesame filling:Combine the ingredients for the black sesame filling and mix until the entire mixture is a cohesive paste.
Transfer the black sesame filling into a quart size resealable storage bag. Try to keep the filling flat and evenly spread out in the bottom half of the bag. Freeze the filling for about 30 minutes, or until it feels firmer and can hold its shape.
Scrape the bag with a straight edge to keep the black sesame filling as compacted but equally leveled as possible. Cut open the bag and remove the block of sesame paste. Portion the filling into 18 pieces, then roll each one into balls. Freeze until needed.*For small tang yuans, divide into 36 portions*
To make the glutinous rice dough:Bring a small pot of water to a boil. This can also be the water used later to cook the tang yuan.
Meanwhile, mix together the glutinous rice flour and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the warm water and knead the the dough until it comes together. *It will look really crumbly and dry at first, but do not add any more water. Keep kneading. After kneading, if it's still kind of dry and does not hold together, added a couple teaspoons of water at a time and knead until the dough can hold together.*
Pinch off about 1½ inch ball of dough and flatten it. Add it to the pot of boiling water and give it a stir. Cook the dough for an additional minute after it floats to the surface then add the cooked dough to the rest of the dough.*Always keep the dough covered when not handling it to prevent drying.*
Let the cool for a minute then knead it into the rest of the dough until well combined. The finished dough should be very elastic and slightly tacky. If the dough sticks to your hands, wash your hands and lightly dust your hands with some glutinous rice flour.*If you're making the ube version, add the ube extract after the cooked dough has been combined and the dough is elastic. I recommend a pair of disposable gloves because the extract will most likely stain your hands. 1 teaspoon amount of extract is the for entire dough.*
To assemble glutinous rice balls:Prepare a sheet pan or a plate lined with plastic wrap and bring the pot of water back to a boil while assembling the rice balls.
Equally divide the dough into 18 equal pieces and roll each one into a ball. Working with one piece at a time, make an indentation in the middle of the dough. Pinch the sides to about ⅛ inch thick.*For small tang yuan, divide the dough into 36 pieces.*
Place a ball black sesame filling in the dough and wrap the dough around the filling. Pinch the edges of the dough to seal. Roll the rice ball in your palm to round it out. Place the finished tang yuan on the prepared sheet pan and repeat with remaining dough and filling.*Refer to the post for step by step photo reference of how to fill and shape these glutinous rice balls.*
To cook the glutinous rice balls:Add the glutinous rice balls into the pot of boiling water and gently stir immediately. This will prevent the rice balls from sticking.
Cook the glutinous rice balls until they float to the surface then for another 30 seconds to a minute.
Serve the glutinous rice balls with either plain hot water, hot water sweetened with some sugar, or sweetened ginger soup.
*Please refer to the post above for step by step photo references, tips, FAQs and more!*This recipe has been edit to make give the rice balls more filling and to make the black sesame fillings extra gooey.
To make your own sesame powder, blend roasted black sesame seeds with granulated sugar until fine.
An alternative to portioning with a resealable plastic bag, chill the sesame paste filling in a bowl until it can hold its shape and equally portion with a spoon, then shape into balls.
Glutinous rice balls are served in many different soup variations.
Plain hot water
Sweetened hot water - sweeten hot water with granulated sugar to your preference
Sweetened ginger soup - boil thinly sliced ginger with water for about 5 minutes and sweetened with your choice of sweetener to your preference.