Monday 6 April 2015

Tang Yuan 湯圓 Black Sesame Maple Syrup Dumplings

Tang Yuan, warm glutinous rice balls with sweet black sesame paste centre which are quite my favourite Chinese dessert. Tang Yuan are served traditionally during the lantern festival, winter solstice and Chinese weddings but can be found all year around at dim sum restaurants in Hong Kong.
The centre of the dumplings resembles hot oozing lava, which if your not careful can scold your mouth!  I have tried a few different versions of Tang Yuan such as sweet pumpkin and red bean paste but the black sesame is by far my favourite. I wanted to make my own version of black sesame Tang Yuan and being a Canadian I decided I should probably include some maple syrup in my recipe. To make this recipe I altered the recipe that was on my Greendotdot organic black sesame seeds. These dumpling are quite simple to make but require a bit of time to make; however, once they are made you can freeze them then just pop them in some boiling water for five minutes whenever you are craving Tang Yuan!

Cooking time: 5 minutes
Preparation Time: 1 hour 
Makes: 16 Tang Yuan 

Sesame paste ingredients:
120g black sesame seeds
2 Tablespoons butter (or coconut oil)
3 Tablespoon maple syrup

1. Rinse sesame seeds
2. Roast sesame seeds in a frying pan at low heat for 20 minutes until they break up into little pieces when squashed between fingers. Make sure to stir seeds in pan frequently so they do not burn.
3. Process seeds in a food processor until a
gritty powder forms.
4. Add Maple syrup and butter and process a little more until a large ball forms.
5. Place paste in bowl and cool in freezer for about 20 minutes.
6. Remove from freezer and scoop out little balls about 1.5 teaspoon size. I made about 16 balls. Return to freezer.

Dough ingredients: 
2 cups glutinous rice flour (I used Kangaroo Brand)
3/4-1 cup boiling water

1. Make well in centre of flour, pour 3/4 of a cup of boiling water in centre of flour.
2. Mix in hot water with fork until the dough is cool enough to handle.
3. Kneed until a dough forms (add extra water if needed), cover and let rest for 15minutes.
4. Divide dough evenly into 16 pieces.
5. Flatten dough with fingers, place sesame in the centre of the dough and pinch sides together then roll around in hand to form a ball. Repeat. If the sesame warms up, pop it back in the freezer as it is much easier to wrap around the dough when the sesame is hard.
6. Bring a pot of water to boil and add dumplings to cook for about five minutes until the dumplings start to float. Ensure dumplings do not touch each other or the sides of the pot.
7. Enjoy

Serving suggestions:
Floating in green tea sweetened with maple syrup or as a standalone nibble coated in ground almonds or sesame seeds.

Extra Ingredients:
Chinese tea
Maple Syrup
Ground almond
Ground white sesames
coated with ground almond
black sesame paste balls, dough, and wrapped sesame paste balls

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