Saturday, December 22, 2012

Glutinous Rice Balls 湯圓 in sweet ginger syrup

Becoming a mom this year got me thinking of the value of rituals and traditions, and I would love to create some for our family. Winter solstice festival fell on the 22nd of December this year, so glutinous rice balls are the 1st Chinese tradition I'm starting us with! This brilliant recipe was passed on to me from my mom and aunties. Using a variety of sweet potatoes gives it lovely colour, much healthier than the usual food colouring.

250g of glutinous rice flour (divide into 3 parts)
1 cup purple sweet potato, diced.
1 cup red sweet potato, diced.
1 cup white sweet potato, diced.
2 stalks pandan leaves (screwpine)
3 T white rock sugar
4 cup water
3 thin slices of thumb size ginger

1. Steam sweet potatoes in separate bowls until soft, then mashed finely or puree.
2. Mix glutinous rice flour into separate puree bowls until 'play doh' consistency.
3. Shape the 'play doh' into little balls (1-2 cm in diameter)
4. To prepare the ginger syrup, boil pandan leaves and ginger in water for 10 minutes. Lower heat and add sugar.
5. Put the glutinous rice balls into the bubbling ginger syrup. When the balls float to the surface of the water, you're done.
1. If you could not reach the 'play dough' texture, try mixing in more glutinous rice flour if the dough is too wet, or mixing in some water if the dough seem dry. You'll get it in the end by process of trial and error, keep trying.
2. Use an ice cream scoop to divide your dough into equal parts, shape into thin rolls, cut rolls into 1-2 cm sections then shape into little balls.
3. You can also use steamed pumpkin, or any other fruits to get a variety of colours (beetroot?!).

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