冬至 (read as dōng zhì) is a festival celebrated by Chinese around the world. Traditionally, 冬至 is the family get together time for making and eating dumpling - 汤圆 (read as tang yuan). 汤圆 are glutinous rice balls, it can be plain or stuffed with various sweet fillings such as black sesame paste, ground peanuts and red bean paste.
When I was a child, we made 汤圆 only on 冬至. We had the spirit of getting together for making and eating 汤圆 then. Nowadays, this festival is very much commercialised in the sense that wide varieties of ready-made dumplings are available throughout the year and usually it will be heavy promotions when the festival is approaching. To me, this festival is just another excuse for eating dumpling. Perhaps I will have some fun in making them together with my little one in the future.
This year, I made some Japanese style dumplings (団子) on skewer instead of plain dumplings in ginger tea. Normally grilled 団子on skewer were served with caramel, mine were served with thick ginger syrup without grilling them. I added pink and green colours for the celebration of dumpling festival. I also prepared some longan and dates tea to goes with 団子.
I think this recipe is too late for this today's festival, so... use it next year perhaps? Or when you have a good excuse to eat dumplings. By the way, this recipe is similar to Chinese style mochi (糯米糍).
Ingredients (36 balls):
1 cup glutinous rice flour
2 tbsp tapioca flour
100ml hot water
Extra glutinous four for dusting
Food colouring (optional)
Butter for grilling
Caramel: Cook sugar with some water on low heat, stir constantly until the thick syrup turned into golden brown colour.
- In a large mixing bowl, bring together flours and make a well in the center.
- Pour hot water in the well, then use a spatula stir to mix. Let the mixture cool down for a few minutes.
- Lightly grease hands with oil, knead the dough until soft and smooth. Dust with glutinous rice flour if it is too sticky.
- Divide dough into three equal portions, if desired, add different colour to each portion and knead well.
- Divide and shape each portion of dough into 12 small balls, place them on a surface coated with glutinous rice flour.
- Bring a pot of water to boil, add pinch of salt then drop in dumplings. Once they are floated on the surface, drain the water.
- Put 3 to 4 dumplings on a skewer，set aside.
- Heat a non-stick pan on low heat, melt some butter and grill dumplings until both sides are brown lightly. Then, pour caramel over them.