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Tang Yuan

We made Tang Yuan last week on Valentine’s Day.

Apparently, this year was a special year that the Chinese Valentine’s Day and the Feb 14th Valentine’s Day happened to be the same physical day.

It was customary to make Tang Yuan during the Chinese Valentine’s Day, and so we did.

They were super easy to make – literally just flour and water for the wrapping and fillings of choice.

However, glutinous rice flour was a must-have otherwise texture would be completely compromised.


INGREDIENTS (makes about 25 dumplings)

1 cup glutinous rice flour

2/3 cup warm water

black sesame filling*


fresh ginger

brown sugar



Mix flour and warm water together.


Goal is to get a moist dough.


Dependent on humidity and ingredient, water amount may need to be adjusted.

Once the moist dough is formed, smack the dough repeatedly into the bottom of the bowl or pan for about a minute^

Divide up the black sesame paste into small cubes.


Divide dough into smaller rounds, about 3/4 inch diameter.


Add black sesame filling onto the center of the small dough.

Wrap the dough to cover the filling and roll them into balls.


Bring water to boil.

Add Tang Yuan into the pot; once boiled, add a cup of cold water.

Repeat this one more time (boil and add cold water).

The Tang Yuan are ready after being boiled 3 times.


On the side, we cooked brown sugar water with fresh sliced ginger as the optional sweet soup.

Serve Tang Yuan in soup or water and enjoy!

*I happened to have the block of black sesame paste.

Often times, there were frozen black sesame filling available in Chinese stores already in small round ball shapes.

My friend also found a toothpaste-like tube of black sesame paste at the Chinese store.

Ground peanuts and sugar also made a delicious filling if black sesame was not available nor preferred.

^This action helps to increase the chewiness of the resulting dumpling.

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