Tang Yuan: Better Together

Tang Yuan is commonly enjoyed during holidays such as the Lantern Festival (Yuan Xiao 元宵) and Winter Solstice (Dong Zhi 冬至). In Northern China, Yuan Xiao also means “First Evening”, being the first full moon after Chinese New Year. The dessert is meant to be eaten with family, with time the round shapes of the TangYuan and bowls which they are served became to symbolizes togetherness. Afterall, food is better when made and enjoyed together (one of the many powers food has is to bring people together)!

Nuts and pulses were commonly used in sweets as fillings. Red bean paste, sesame, peanuts are all but a few fillings commonly used in traditional treats. Picture a rich, aromatic black-sesame filling oozing out of a sticky-rice dumpling. Nothing gets better than a warm hot bowl of sweet soup fragranted by osmanthus flowers or ginger and these delicate and rich treats! Best wishes to a prosperous year of more time spent with good food whilst surrounded by those you love most.

Black Sesame Tang Yuan

MAKES: 16 Dumplings

EQUIPMENT: Large Mixing Bowl, Measuring Spoon, Measuring Cup, Flat Surface


  • 2/3 cup Powdered Black Sesame
    (To make your own, lightly toast black sesame seeds over medium fire, immediately remove and let cool when they begin to smell aromatic. Grind the black sesame in a food processor until fine) 
  • 1/3 cup Icing Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Coconut Oil, Melted
  • 2 cup Glutinous Rice Flour
  • 1/4 cup Hot Water
  • 3/4 cup Cold Water

Soup Options to Serve With

  • Ginger Syrup made with Rock Sugar
  • Molasses decorated with Osmanthus Flower
  • Fermented Glutinous Rice Wine


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine powdered blac sesame, icing sugar and coconut oil. Stir well to form a thick paste. Place into fridge for 1 hour until slightly hardened.
    Tip: To make shaping easier later, you can shape the black sesame filling after removing from the refrigerator and return to fridge while working on the dough. This hardens the filling, making it easier to shape. 
  2. In a separate large mixing bowl, place sticky rice flour and add hot water in the centre. Wait 10 minutes and add cold water. Mix until a dough is smooth and no longer sticks to your hands.
  3. Roll the dough into a long log about 2 inches in diameter and divide into 16 even peices for shaping.
    Tip: cover with a tea towel to prevent the dough from drying out while you work 
  4. To shape the TangYuan, flatten the dough in your palm and scoop about 1/2 tablespoon of black sesame filling into the centre. Seal the ball by pushing the dough around the filling. Gently shape the Tangyuan into balls as round as possible by rolling the ball between two palms. Set aside.
  5. To serve: Bring water to a boil in the pot, place stuffed balls into water and cook until they float onto the surface.
  6. Scoop out with the soup and serve with ginger syrup, osmanthus flower or fermented rice wine. 

Nutritional Facts

Per Serving (3 TangYuan)

Calories:  369 kcal
Fat: 10.8 g
Carbohydrates: 61.5  g
Fiber: 2.1 g
(Net Carbohydrate: 59.4 g)
Protein: 5.1 g

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