Taro, Purple Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Glutinous Rice Balls 芋头紫薯金瓜汤圆

by Angie Liew
Taro, Purple Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Glutinous Rice Balls
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Taro, Purple Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Glutinous Rice Balls

Glutinous Rice Balls, Also Known As Tang Yuan 汤圆 or Kuih Ee

Glutinous rice balls in warm ginger syrup is a traditional Chinese sweet dessert enjoyed during the Dongzhi festival, also  known as Winter Solstice Festival. These sweet rice dumplings are also known as Tang Yuan (湯圓) in Mandarin or “Kuih Ee” in the Peranakan community and are usually made plain or with filling.

A Traditional Sweet Dessert Enjoyed During Dongzhi Winter Solstice Festival 

The round sweet glutinous rice balls symbolise family unity. Hence, making and eating these sweet glutinous rice balls together is a long practised tradition in the Chinese families when celebrating Dongzhi festival. What a perfect bowl to share with your family to celebrate wholeness and togetherness. Dongzhi Festival is certainly another celebration that brings the whole family together and celebrates a day of togetherness and love. So, let’s make Tang Yuan or sweet glutinous rice balls for this coming Winter Solstice Festival which is just around the corner!

Taro, Purple Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Glutinous Rice Balls

Taro, Purple Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Glutinous Rice Balls: All-Natural Colourful Tang Yuan

For this recipe of Taro, Purple Sweet Potato and Pumpkin glutinous rice balls, it is another version of the classic sweet rice dumpling, but with a fresh new twist as they are made from the colourful root vegetables: Taro, Purple Sweet Potato and Pumpkin. Taro, gives the sweet rice dumpling a creamy white colour and full of fragrance from the taro. The purple sweet potato gives the sweet glutinous rice balls a beautiful purplish-lavender colour and a natural sweet delicious flavour. Lastly, Tang Yuan with golden yellow pumpkin skin creates such a vibrant and mouth-watering sight, especially when goes together with purple sweet potatoes and creamy white Taro.

And the best part is, all these bright colourful sweet dumplings are made without any chemical colour additives, as they are all natural colours.

Taro, Purple Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Glutinous Rice Balls

Making This Sweet Dessert is Just So Easy

To make these beautiful sweet rice dumpling dessert, start by making the ginger syrup. Combine crushed ginger pieces, rock sugar, pandan leaves and water in a pan. Bring to a boil to dissolve the rock sugar. Then reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes to allow the ginger and pandan leaves to infuse their aroma into the soup.  Then remove the crushed ginger as well as pandan leaves and leave to cool. Then prepare to make the sweet glutinous rice balls.

Taro, Purple Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Glutinous Rice Balls

Making These Chewy Glutinous Rice Balls Tang Yuan is So Fun Too

To make these glutinous rice balls, start by making the glutinous rice dough. First steam the Taro, Purple Sweet Potato and Pumpkin cubes till soft and them mash into paste while still warm. Then proceed to make the Taro, Purple Sweet Potato and Pumpkin dough by adding glutinous rice flour, a little tapioca flour and water into each of the paste. Knead into a soft and non sticky dough for each paste. Divide the dough into little pieces and roll into small, beautiful round balls.

Next, bring a pot of water to boil. Gently drop in the glutinous rice balls and cook till they float. Remove and briefly immerse in some cold water. Then drain and transfer the Tang Yuan into the ginger syrup soup. And we’re done.

This soft and chewy colourful Tang Yuan can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature. To serve this sweet dessert, spoon the glutinous rice balls into a bowl and top with the pandan leaf and ginger infused syrup and Enjoy!

Taro, Purple Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Glutinous Rice Balls

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Taro, Purple Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Glutinous Rice Balls 芋头紫薯金瓜汤圆

Recipe by Huang Kitchen, Angie Liew
Taro, Purple Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Glutinous Rice Balls is such a delicious dessert. Chewy soft tang yuan in fragrant ginger pandan syrup. So colourful and the best part is: this is made of natural root vegetables and no artificial colourings.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time1 hr
Servings: 180 glutinous rice balls

Ingredients

Ginger Syrup:

  • 1 litre water
  • 75 grams ginger, skinned, cut into thick pieces and crushed
  • 50 grams rock sugar, or sugar
  • 2 pandan leaves, knotted

Taro Glutinous Rice Balls:

  • 150 grams taro, cut into cubes, steamed and mashed
  • 150 grams glutinous rice flour, sifted
  • 5 grams tapioca flour, 1 tbsp, sifted
  • 8 grams sugar, 1 tbsp
  • 200 ml water, warm to hot water

Purple Sweet Potato Glutinous Rice Balls:

  • 120 grams purple sweet potato, cut into cubes, steamed and mashed.
  • 120 grams glurinous rice flour, sifted
  • 5 grams tapioca flour, 1 tbsp, sifted
  • 8 grams sugar, 1 tbsp
  • 100 ml water, warm to hot water

Pumpkin Glutinous Rice Balls:

  • 150 grams pumpkin, cut into cubes, steamed and mashed
  • 150 grams glutinous rice flour, sifted
  • 5 grams tapioca flour, 1 tbsp, sifted
  • 8 grams sugar, 1 tbsp
  • 90 ml water, warm to hot water

    Instructions

    Cooking Ginger Syrup:

    • Ingredients for Syrup
      First, prepare all ingredients needed to make syrup.
    • Peel and prepare ginger.
      First peel the skin of ginger and then cut into thick slices. Crush a little and set aside on a plate.
    • Put water, sugar, crushed ginger and pandan leaves into a pot. Bring to a boil.
    • Cover and simmer 15 minutes.
      Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes to allow the ginger juice to infuse into the syrup.
    • Remove the pandan leaf and ginger. strain the syrup and allow syrup to cool.

    Preparing Glutinous Rice Balls:

    • Prepare ingredients needed to make the taro, purple sweet potato and pumpkin glutinous rice balls dough.
    • Cut taro, purple sweet potatoes and pumpkin into cubes.
    • Steam till soft.
      Then place in a prepared steamer.
    • Steam for 30 minutes, until soft. Then remove the steamed taro, sweet potato and pumpkin cubes from the steamer one at a time. Leave the balance to keep warm in the steamer.
    • Make taro glutinous rice balls
      To make taro glutinous rice balls: Put the steamed taro into a large mixing bowl. Add in sugar and mash into a paste. Then sieve in glutinous rice flour and tapioca flour. Mix together with a spatula. Gradually add in enough water and knead into a non sticky soft dough.
    • Make taro glutinous rice balls.
      Cut the taro dough into few pieces. Cover the dough and in batches, divide and roll the dough into small balls. Sprinkle with some glutinous rice flour to prevent the balls sticking together. Set aside and work on the purple sweet potato glutinous rice balls.
    • Make purple sweet potato glutinous rice balls.
      To make purple sweet potato glutinous rice balls: Remove steamed purple sweet potato from steamer and place in a big mixing bowl. Add in sugar and mash into a paste. Sieve in glutinous rice flour and tapioca flour. Mix and add in water gradually and knead till a smooth and soft, non sticky dough is formed.
    • Make purple sweet potato glutinous rice balls.
      Cut the purple dough into pieces. Cover and divide the dough into small pieces and roll into small balls. Sprinkle some glutinous rice flour over the rice balls to prevent sticking together. When done, continue to make the pumpkin glutinous rice balls.
    • Make pumpkin glutinous rice dough
      To make pumpkin glutinous rice balls: Remove steamed pumpkin from steamer and place in a large mixing bowl. Add in sugar and mash into a fine paste. Sieve in glutinous rice flour and tapioca flour. Mix with spatula and then slowly add in warm water and knead into a smooth and soft dough. The dough should not be sticky to the hand.
    • Make pumpkin glutinous rice balls.
      Cut the yellow pumpkin dough into few pieces, cover and roll into small balls. Sprinkle with some glutinous rice flour to prevent the balls sticking together. Then we are ready to cook the glutinous rice balls.

    Cooking Glutinous Rice Balls:

    • Cook glutinous rice balls.
      First bring a wok or saucepan of water to a rolling boil. Gently drop the rolled glutinous rice balls into the boiling water. Stir occasionally to prevent the glutinous rice balls sticking together. Cook until they float to the surface.
    • Once all the rice balls have risen to the surface, allow to cook for another 1 minute.
    • Remove cooked glutinous rice balls
      Then, remove the cooked rice balls with a perforated ladle.
    • Drop into ice water until fully cooled.
      Drop the cooked rice balls immediately into a bowl of cool boiled water for about a minute or until fully cooled.
    • Soak cooked glutinous rice ball in ginger syrup.
      Remove and drain thoroughly the cooked rice balls from the icy water. Soak them in the ginger syrup prepared earlier. And we're done!
    • Taro, Purple Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Glutinous Rice Balls
      When ready to serve, spoon the soft and chewy glutinous rice balls into serving bowls. Top with the warm ginger syrup and enjoy!

Enjoy!

Notes

  • If you find the dough too wet to work with, add more glutinous flour bit by bit. On the other hand, if the dough is too dry, add more water little by little. In any case, you want your dough to be smooth and not sticky. 
  • Use warm to hot water as it makes the dough very easy to work with and pliable and less likely to crack when you roll them into balls.
  • As pumpkin has a high water content, you do not need to add as much water as for taro and purple sweet potatoes when kneading with glutinous rice flour.
  • These glutinous rice balls can be made in big batches ahead of time. Freeze the rice balls and they can be kept up to 3 months. So, you can just remove from freezer and cooked whenever you want to enjoy a bowl of this sweet dessert.

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