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Tong Yuen Sweet Dumplings

A childhood favourite, these delicious dessert dumplings always hit the spot

Some topics spark debate – the proper way to make a cup of tea, whether Kim Kardashian has bum implants…

… and here is another to add to the list. Chinese desserts: do any good ones exist?

Well of course they do! Okay, so Chinese desserts are no French patisserie, but then confit duck is no comparison to the juicy crispiness of Peking duck (in our opinion). You win some and you lose some!

So let’s start with one of our favourite easy-peasy Chinese desserts, tong yuen.

These sweet dumplings have a pillow soft casing made from glutinous rice flour. Much like Japanese mochi, a tong yuen’s casing has a springy bite that lets you sink your teeth satisfyingly into the dumpling without it being so chewy that it sticks to your front teeth. You could say it’s the perfect amount of chewy!

And tong yuen are also a bit like Lindt balls, because just like Lindt balls, the best part of a tong yuen is the filling ^_^

As we say in the video, some traditional yummy fillings for tong yuen are: sweet red bean paste, black sesame paste and lotus paste.

But sometimes we like to mix it up too! Why not try filling tong yuen with a generous blob of Nutella, or how about the delightful salty/sweet combo of peanut butter with crunchy sugar crystals? You could even pop in a soy flavoured soft caramel! (Recipe coming soon).

Although tong yuen are incredibly simple to make, Amy still hasn’t *quite* gotten the hang of it yet. If you want to see her giving it a go and failing quite hilariously, check out The Ditzy Showreel video from 3.54 onwards.

To help you craft beautiful tong yuen, follow the photo tutorial below.

Give it a go and let us know how you get on!

Tong yuen assembly (1-12 from top left to bottom right)

1. Find a free hand.

2. Take a ping ping ball-sized piece of dough and flatten it in your palm to form a patty shape.

3 &4. Using your thumbs, apply pressure in the centre until you end up with a bowl shape. Aim for the edges of the bowl to be a bit thinner than the base.

5. Place a marble sized amount of filling in the bottom of the your pre-formed bowl.

6 & 7. Bring the edges in to the centre, forming a triangle shape as you do so.

8 & 9. Squeeze to seal the edges while making a rough ball shape, making sure that you can’t see any of the filling anymore.

10. Roll the filled dough in the palms of your hands until you get a smooth ball shape. Be patient, and 

11. Once you feel it getting firmer in your hands, you can roll faster but do this gently!

12. You should end up with a smooth, dimple-free sphere of soon-to-be yumminess.

Serves
Makes 12-20 dumplings
Ingredients

For the dough
125g glutinous rice flour
100ml water
Food colouring or pandan essence (optional)

For the filling
Sweet red bean paste

For the sweet broth
1 cup (250ml) coconut milk
3 cup (750ml) water
Sugar, to taste

Some topics spark debate – the proper way to make a cup of tea, whether Kim Kardashian has bum implants…

… and here is another to add to the list. Chinese desserts: do any good ones exist?

Well of course they do! Okay, so Chinese desserts are no French patisserie, but then confit duck is no comparison to the juicy crispiness of Peking duck (in our opinion). You win some and you lose some!

So let’s start with one of our favourite easy-peasy Chinese desserts, tong yuen.

These sweet dumplings have a pillow soft casing made from glutinous rice flour. Much like Japanese mochi, a tong yuen’s casing has a springy bite that lets you sink your teeth satisfyingly into the dumpling without it being so chewy that it sticks to your front teeth. You could say it’s the perfect amount of chewy!

And tong yuen are also a bit like Lindt balls, because just like Lindt balls, the best part of a tong yuen is the filling ^_^

As we say in the video, some traditional yummy fillings for tong yuen are: sweet red bean paste, black sesame paste and lotus paste.

But sometimes we like to mix it up too! Why not try filling tong yuen with a generous blob of Nutella, or how about the delightful salty/sweet combo of peanut butter with crunchy sugar crystals? You could even pop in a soy flavoured soft caramel! (Recipe coming soon).

Although tong yuen are incredibly simple to make, Amy still hasn’t *quite* gotten the hang of it yet. If you want to see her giving it a go and failing quite hilariously, check out The Ditzy Showreel video from 3.54 onwards.

To help you craft beautiful tong yuen, follow the photo tutorial below.

Give it a go and let us know how you get on!

Tong yuen assembly (1-12 from top left to bottom right)

1. Find a free hand.

2. Take a ping ping ball-sized piece of dough and flatten it in your palm to form a patty shape.

3 &4. Using your thumbs, apply pressure in the centre until you end up with a bowl shape. Aim for the edges of the bowl to be a bit thinner than the base.

5. Place a marble sized amount of filling in the bottom of the your pre-formed bowl.

6 & 7. Bring the edges in to the centre, forming a triangle shape as you do so.

8 & 9. Squeeze to seal the edges while making a rough ball shape, making sure that you can’t see any of the filling anymore.

10. Roll the filled dough in the palms of your hands until you get a smooth ball shape. Be patient, and 

11. Once you feel it getting firmer in your hands, you can roll faster but do this gently!

12. You should end up with a smooth, dimple-free sphere of soon-to-be yumminess.

GET THE METHOD →

If you are making coloured tong yuen, add 4-5 drops of food colouring to the water at the beginning, as it’s much harder to work it into the dough later on (unless you are going for a marbled effect, of course!)
Add water to glutinous rice flour and mix until it comes together. Get your hands in there to finish it off, squeezing until the dough feels firm and smooth. No need to…knead.
Assemble each tong yuen as shown in the video, or as described in the photo tutorial.
Prepare the broth by adding the coconut milk and water to a saucepan. Add sugar to taste (about 2 tbsp). Bring to a simmer.
Gently slide the tong yuen into the broth. Use a wooden spoon to loosen the tong yuen at the beginning, just to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the saucepan. Cook your tong yuen in batches if you’ve only got a wee saucepan – it’s best to aim for a single layer of tong yuen without them touching each other. The tong yuen are ready to go when they float to the top.
Serve piping hot with a chinese soup spoon – the best way to enjoy the yummy broth and tong yuen at the same time.
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