Chinese will celebrate Winter Solstice (Dong Zhi) Festival tomorrow. It is a time when family members hold a reunion and gather round the kitchen table to make tang yuan (glutinous rice balls). These rice balls are sometimes plain, sometimes stuffed with black sesame paste, red bean paste, or peanut paste. The stuffed ones are always served in sweet ginger soup. The plain ones can be enjoyed in sweet soup (such as ginger, red bean, or black sesame) or savory soup. As far as I know, only Chinese families from the Southern regions serve the ones in savory soup. My grandparents are Cantonese, and we always have both the sweet and savory versions to celebrate the festival. ♥
To prepare for tang yuan, you will need some glutinous rice flour. Combine the flour with just enough water until the dough has a consistency of play dough. If you have never played with play dough before, don’t worry, you can always compare with your ear lobe. Once the dough has the proper texture, you can start rolling them into balls with your hand. Place the balls on a dampened towel cloth. If you are making a big batch, you will want to cover the balls with another dampened towel cloth since they do tend to dry up. Cooking tang yuan is very easy. Just boil water in a pot, then drop tang yuan into the boiling water and cook until they floats, usually around 5 minutes. Once they have floated for 1 minute, scoop them up and place in a bowl of cold water (this will keep them springy). If they are to be consumed immediately, just drop them into the soup.
- 1 free range chicken (Indonesian: ayam kampung), cut into 8 pieces
- 1 big daikon (Indonesian: lobak), about 700 to 800 gram, peeled and cut into match sticks
- 2 inch ginger (Indonesian: jahe), peeled and bruised
- 2 scallions (Indonesian: daun bawang)
- 1 tablespoon salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper, or to taste
- 100 gram glutinous flour (Indonesian: tepung ketan)
- 80 - 100 ml water
- 1 scallion (Indonesian: daun bawang), cut into thin slices
- 1 bunch of coriander (Indonesian: daun ketumbar), separate the leaves from the stems, thinly sliced the stems
- 4 tablespoon soy sauce (Indonesian: kecap asin)
- 2 to 4 green Thai chilies (Indonesian: cabe rawit hijau), seeded and thinly sliced
- Place all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour until chicken and daikon are cooked and tender.
- Turn off heat and divide into four serving bowls.
- Place glutinous rice flour in a mixing bowl. Pour water in batches and knead with your hands until the dough come together into a play dough like consistency. Divide the dough into 40 portions.
- Gently roll each portion into a round ball. You may want to cover the rice balls with a dampen towel to prevent them from drying.
- Bring a pot of water to boil. Gently drop the rice balls into the boiling water and cook until they float to the surface. Once they float for about 1 minute, remove with a slotted spoon and place 10 rice balls into each of the bowl of chicken soup. Serve immediately with the garnish and chili sauce.