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Basic Dough - Tong Yuen (Tangyuan)

Tong yuen can be colored and filled with a savory or sweet or served plain. Made of sweet glutinous rice it is wonderfully chewy and when served with soup is a perfect to warm up your insides on a winter day. Seriously, give it a try!

Like sesame balls these are perfect for serving during festivals. The sticky sweet glutinous rice flour was believed to be an offering to the Kitchen god with the goal of sticking his mouth shut so that he could not talk badly of the human family in front of the Jade Emperor. Who needs badmouthing in any realm?

Tong Yuen/Tangyuan

This is the basic recipe for just the dough. See the mix and match section for a variety of savory and sweet fillings. Serve plain in sweet or savory soup for a warm winter treat.

Ingredients (makes 12 balls)

Tong Yuen

1 cup glutinous rice flour

1/2 cup very warm water (about 130°F)


Make the dough. Mix rice flour and warm water with a spatula until all the flour has been incorporated. Knead briefly with your hands to form a ball. Dough should not be sticky. If too wet, add a little more rice flour and knead together. If you are coloring the dough, divide the dough now and add a few drops of natural or artificial food coloring to each. Knead until color is evenly distributed. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or place in a zip top bag or airtight container and let rest allowing all the flour to hydrate.

Make the soup of your choice. Lower heat so that mixture is just simmering.

Roll the dough into a log abut 1" in diameter. Cut into 12 pieces (16 g each) and roll each piece into a ball. Gently drop the balls into the simmering soup. Tong yuen are ready when they float.

Chris' tip: look under Mix and Match for recipes for fillings to try!

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