Wednesday, December 22, 2010

December 22, 2010: Winter Solstice Tong Yuan

Yuan (or Tong Yuan which is similar to Mochi) is a glutinous rice flour "dumpling" soup we ate during the Winter Solstice.

I remember asking my dad why we ate this soup. His answer was "Yuan represented snowballs that occurred during the Winter."

As I grew older, I asked myself, "They lived along the coast in Guangdong, China. It snowed in the Tropics???"

Wikipedia's explanation is the round dumplings represent togetherness and family unity.

Togetherness and family unity. Isn't that's why we all gather around the dinner table?

I digress. Back to the soup...
The soft, chewy dumplings are served in a rich savory broth.

Basic Recipe
1 lb Glutinous Rice Flour
1/4 lb Tapioca Pearls (Soaked overnight, at a minimum, and drained)
1/2 t Salt
Water to form a soft dough (about 1 cup, but add water slowly as you knead).

The key to making the little round dumplings is to keep them small, about 1/2 inch in diameter. Too large... you end up with a large bland, chewy mochi ball.

Also, the tapioca pearls help reduce the chewiness. (A family secret... lol!)

The YouTube Video...

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