Photo courtesy of Ogilvy
You’ve probably heard of jiaozi, or dumplings, the ubiquitous Chinese food that nearly every family eats during the week-long celebration of the Chinese New Year. Boiled, steamed, or pan-fried, the dumplings are easy to make ahead and can be frozen in large quantities to preserve the tradition of fun and relaxation that characterizes a New Year’s holiday spent at home with family.
Tangyuan are small, glutinous rice balls or dumplings that can be filled with sweet or savory fillings, or eaten unfilled. They are often served in a sweet syrup or broth, and are a traditional food served at festivals or during the Chinese New Year, or any time when family is celebrating together. They can also be eaten for breakfast.
In a large mixing bowl, combine rice flower with warm water.
Stir well with chopsticks until it forms a ball that does not stick to the sides of the bowl.
Roll out the dough into a tube about 1–2 inches in diameter.
Pinch off small pieces around ½-inch wide.
Sprinkle the balls with dry rice flour and roll them gently into round dumpling shapes.
Add dumplings to boiling water in a pot.
Cook until the dumplings float to the top. Pour in around 1 cup of rice wine (this can be done with cold water if you are making plain-flavored dumplings) and bring to a boil again.
Add several red dates to the boiling water.
Add sugar to the mixture according to how sweet you would like the broth to be, and turn off the heat.
The mixture should be served hot in a bowl, like a soup.