Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Black Sesame Glutinous Rice Balls aka Tong Yuen

Homemade glutinous rice balls are so simple to make, so delicious and "healthier" than the store bought ones which have all sorts of unnecessary ingredients. Five ingredients are all you need to make them from scratch!

In Chinese, glutinous rice balls are called "Tong Yuen," and they come in many different filling options. Most commonly, they are filled with black sesame, peanut (my favorite), and red bean. Tong Yuen are the kind of sweet treats my parents would "make" on special occasions. My parents never made Tong Yuen from scratch, but they would boil the store bought ones up in different types of sweet soups to enjoy. The most classic one is a sweet soup made by boiling together water, ginger and rock sugar. Occasionally, we would also be treated with a boozy version made with sweet fermented rice (酒釀). 

I can't think of a more comforting and warming dessert than Tong Yuen during this winter season.

Black Sesame Glutinous Rice Balls aka Tong Yuen
recipe adapted from V for Veggy
filling recipe makes enough for 3 dozens
rice ball dough recipe makes enough for a dozen

60g black sesame seeds, toasted
75g powdered sugar
85g unsalted butter, room temperature 
Rice Ball Dough:
1 cup white sticky (glutinous) rice flour
1/2 cup warm water

1. Toast black sesame seeds on a frying pan/skillet on medium low heat for about 10 minutes, stir often to evenly toast. Once toasted, leave aside to cool.
2. In a food processor, pulse toasted black sesame seeds until fine. Add sugar and pulse until well combined. Add butter and pulse again into a uniform paste.
3. Transfer to bowl and chill/ freeze for about 30 minutes until firm.
4. Once filling is chilled, portion into equal pieces about 4g each and roll into balls. Chill in refrigerator or freezer at this point.

5. Place glutinous rice flour in a bowl. Pour water in batches and mix/ knead until dough comes together into a play dough like consistency.
6. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces about 18g each and roll them into balls. *Keep the dough and dough balls covered with a damp paper towel while assembling.

7. Take each dough ball and flattened to a disc about 2 inches in diameter. Add the filling to the center, and close the dough over the filling. Roll the ball around in your hands until it’s smooth and round. Repeat until all the sesame balls are made.

8. Bring a pot of water to boil. Gently drop the tang yuan into the boiling water and cook until they float to the surface. Once they float for about 1 minute, remove with a slotted spoon and place into the prepared serving bowls. Serve immediately.

Taste: 4.5 stars out of 5
The buttery taste is a bit strong. I am going to try this with coconut oil next time and see how that affects the taste!
Texture: 5 stars out of 5
Perfect chewy bite with a runny filling. Yas yas and yas!

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