The Chinese Winter Solstice festival is coming soon. Every year around this time or just a few days before Christmas. This year falls on 22 of December. Chinese around the world will be busy preparing "Tang Yuan" or glutinous rice balls to welcome this festival.
The Winter Solstice is also popular known as Dongzhi Festival. Traditionally, the Dongzhi Festival is also a time for the family to get together. One activity that they never missed during these get-together is making and eating Tang Yuan which symbolize reunion. Tang Yuan is made of glutinous flour and sometimes are brightly colored. The glutinous rice balls may be plain or stuffed.
As I used to make the balls in plain and served with sweet syrup, I would like to do something different this year. Yes, I am making stuffed Tang Yuan with the combination of minced pork and shrimp meat and served with pork ribs soup. We are very happy with the result. I had added in some tapioca flour in my Tang Yuan dough and it makes them more bouncing when you eat them together with meat fillings. The pork rib soup blended in so well with Tang Yuan. It may take a while to prepare, but it's worthwhile.
The Tang Yuan dough
300g glutinous rice flour
50g tapioca flour
Water (about 1 1/2 cup) to mix
200g minced pork (preferably with some fats)
100g shrimp meat, cut into small pieces
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp chopped spring onions
600g pork ribs, clean and dry
2 slices of ginger
200g oyster mushrooms, peeled into halves
8 cups of water
Salt and pepper to taste
Spring onions, chopped
The above can yield 20 rice balls
1. Bring the 8 cups of water to boil in pot. Once boiling, add in the pork ribs and slice ginger. Let it boil for 10 minutes on high heat and turn to low heat and let it simmer for about an hour. Add in the oyster mushroom in the last 10 minutes.
2. In a big bowl, mix all the filling ingredients except the spring onion until well combined with your hand. Add in chopped spring onion, mix them well and set aside.
3. In a mixing bowl, combine glutinous and tapioca flour. Add in the water bit by bit and start to knead them with your hand until your desired texture of dough or not sticky anymore. You may use a little of hot water to help to form a better dough.
4. Divide dough into small, equal portions and roll into balls.
5. Flatten the ball shape dough on your palm and place the fillings using a teaspoon, compress the edge carefully and roll back into ball shapes. Repeat the same on the rest of the flour balls.
6. Bring a separate pot of water to boil. Once boiled, add in a little cooking oil. This is to avoid the rice balls stick to each other.
7. Place in the stuffed rice balls into the boiling water (do not put all in one go), please use middle heat. Boil the rice balls until cooked or floated. Dish out and drained. Place them in a serving bowl, dish out pork rib soup on top, garnish with chopped spring onions and coriander and serve immediately.