Tang Yuan

Growing up, my mother would periodically crave something sweet on a Saturday evening after dinner. This is where tang yuan came in. What’s that you ask? It’s a Chinese dessert consisting of sticky little white balls swimming in a sweet soup of water, sugar, and ginger.

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The outer coating is made of glutinous rice flour and it can be stuffed with an assortment of fillings. Here is one with a sweet peanut filling.

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Other traditional types can include red bean, black sesame seeds, etc. Tang yuan were traditionally served on special occasions, like weddings and during festivals, but these days you can eat them anytime of the year. They can be purchased at a local Asian grocery store in the frozen section or be eaten fresh at restaurants. Apparently there is a reason behind it though. The round shape is symbolic of “togetherness” or “unity” and as cheesy as it sounds, that’s what we did. We ate it as a family because a pack tended to come in dozens, so we would split it amongst everyone. 🙂

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