Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sweet potato tang yuan (Rice glutinous balls) with sesame seed filling

It's winter solstice this Sunday. Mom and dad-in-laws are away for vacation, leaving behind me, hubby, bro-in-law and aunty. I guess there's no big meals for us then, since there's only four of us eating. But aunty has also invited another cousin-family over, ah.. not too bad. Our aunty was a chef, she never disappoints us when comes to reunion meals. I gladly volunteered to prepare the tang yuan for this Sunday's dinner, as there's only 8 of us and it's manageable for me. If it's the usual 30pax dinner, I am not sure if I would volunteer. Not that I don't want to, I am only afraid that I am not capable of preparing big dishes for a crowd.
I wanted to prepare purple color balls (glutinous rice balls, aka tang yuan) using purple sweet potatoes, but the purple ones are nowhere to be found when I went to the market this morning. So I just made do with the orange ones, Surprisingly, these orange ones taste really sweet and soft (sometimes I get the ones that aren't sweet). After realizing that they taste good, I made extra batches so that I can freeze them for this Sunday's dinner. Today's version was supposed to be a practice.
I started by making the filling. Looking at the photos, you would have thought it's peanut, nah.. it's not. I have plenty of white sesame seeds available, so I made a delicious and creamy one with white sesame seeds. Here's the recipe for the filling.
Roasted white sesame seeds filling, this recipe can fill about 100 or more tang yuan.  
  • 220g white sesame seeds, toasted in the oven
  • 100g molasses
  • 80g butter/ oil 
1. Toast white sesame seeds in the oven until fragrant. Becareful, not to burn them.
2. In a blender, blitz the white sesame seeds with molasses until they turn into paste.
3. In a plastic bag, mix with melted butter. Chill in fridge. After about an hour, shape them into small balls.
For the tang yuan, here's the recipe, this recipe makes about 60-80 tang yuan
  • 220g sweet potato, peeled and steamed  
  • 120g glutinous rice flour
  • 40g potato flour (this is added to give the glutinous rice balls the QQ texture)
  • 1tbsp molasses
  • water, about 4-6tbsp added while kneading the dough
Mix cooked sweet potato, glutinous rice flour, potato rice flour with sufficient water to form a smooth, non-sticky dough. Note: Add water little by little while kneading the dough. If the dough is too dry, it crumbles. The water used may differ due to the sweet potato used.
To make the tang yuan, take a small amount of dough (about the size of our thumb), roll into a ball, then press to form a small disc that is big enough to cover 1 sesame filling. Place 1 sesame ball in the centre of the dough, seal and roll into a ball.
To cook the tang yuan, bring a pan of water to boil, drop the tang yuan into them, let simmer until the tang yuan floats for at least 1min.
Recipe of tang yuan adapted from here.
Recipe for sesame filling adapted from here.


  1. Hi Jennifer,

    Your sweet potato Tang Yuan looks yummy! Did baby has a try of these TangYuan?


    1. Hi dear, thanks a lot! It does taste good, homemade tang yuan homemade filling. Are you making tang yuan for the winter solstice too? I'm looking forward to see yours. Your kitchen creations amaze me all the time! :)


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