Red Bean Tang Yuan in Red Bean & Black Glutinous Rice Soup 紅豆湯圓與紫米紅豆湯

Growing up in Taiwan, I naturally ate a lot of tang yuan (glutenous rice balls or sticky rice balls). Traditionally, we eat them on both the Winter Solstice Festival (Dong Zhi) and the Lantern Festival (Yuan Xiao). There are two kinds of tang yuan: smaller balls without filling and lager ones with filling. At home, my mom would either make it herself or buy them freshly made from the farmers market. After moving to New York alone, I would buy the frozen packages in Asian markets. Of course it wasn't ideal, but it was good enough to fulfill my craving and my homesickness during the holidays, until one day, I saw my roommate making some homemade tang yuan, and it made me very curious. She was always a good homemaker and she loved making everything herself. I, on the other hand, wasn't such a good cook at the time, and thought that it would be good to learn how to make them from her.


In New York, with a large community of Asians, you can easily find ready-made glutinous rice dough, which enabled us to skip a big step. All we had to do was to portion the dough and either roll it into small tang yuan, or stuff it with our favourite fillings. Thanks to my roommate who taught me how to made tang yuan! It was really fun and I loved being able to feel the dough and roll the balls in my hands. After coming to Quebec, I realized that I could no longer find ready-made glutinous rice dough here, but luckily, I was able to get the glutinous rice flour. I told myself a long time ago that I would never go back to buying frozen tang yuan. They're usually too sweet and the texture is not as delicate and chewy as it should be, so since then, I've been making my own homemade tang yuan from scratch.

Traditionally, the red bean filling for tang yuan is made with cooked red beans and sugar, but you know me, I'm always looking for ways to make things taste better and healthier, so here I incorporated the red beans with fresh dates and a touch of maple syrup. There's absolutely no sugar in the filling! Another twist I did with the red bean soup - I added some black glutinous rice to enrich the soup even more. I love black glutinous rice for its rich, dark black colour and its nutty, fragrant aroma and taste! Not only does it make the red bean soup taste even better, but it also adds a nice little gooey texture to it. In addition to the black glutinous rice, I also added some ginger to create a subtle hint of ginger. it's a little bit of labor, but you can make these tang yuan ahead of the time and freeze them. Believe me, you won't want to go back to those frozen ones after tasting these!

Red Bean Tang Yuan in Red Bean & Black Glutinous Rice Soup (8-10 servings)

For the Red Bean and Black Glutinous Rice Soup:

1 C     black glutinous rice

2/3 C  dry red beans

one 1 1/2" piece kombu *I add the kombu here because it makes the beans more digestable : )

8        thin slices of ginger

3/4 C   raw sugar or coconut sugar

*C = cup

1. Rinse and soak both the rice and beans in two separate containers with water covering at least one inch above. Let them sit for at least 8 hrs.

2. Drain and rinse both again. Place the red beans in a 4 qt pot with 6 cups of water and kombu.

3. Bring it to a boil, then simmer for 1 minute. Add the black glutinous rice. Stir and cover. Turn off the heat and let it sit for 30 minutes. *I do this to save energy, but you can simply cook them until soft, and skip to step 5.

4. After 30 minutes, bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 40-45 minutes until both the rice and beans are fully cooked. 20 minutes into the cooking, discard the kombu and add the ginger slices. *Stir several times and check the consistency of the soup during cooking. If it's too thick, add more water. In the end, it should be slightly thick and gooey but not too thick.

5. When finished cooking, discard the ginger slices, and add the sugar. *Feel free to adjust the amount of sugar to your liking.

*The soup and the Sugar-Free Red Bean Paste can be made in advance. They both can either be kept in the fridge for 4-5 days or can be frozen for 6 weeks.

For the Red Bean Tang Yuan:

180 g glutinous rice flour (糯米粉)

140 g water

1 recipe of Sugar-Free Red Bean Paste

1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. While the water is heating, mix the rice flour and water in a large bowl with your hand. Add the water little by little. You may not need all the water, or you may need to add a little bit more water, depending on the brand of glutenous rice flour you use.

2. Take a small piece (about 40 g) of the dough and press it into a round disc shape. Put it in the hot boiling water and cook it for about 2-3 minutes. drain and add it to the rest of the dough. *This step makes the dough chewier. 

3. Knead the cooked and raw dough together until they're well incorporated and not sticky to the touch. If necessary, dust with a little more flour. Wrap it with a piece of plastic wrap and set it aside.

4. Take out the red bean filling from the fridge and shape it into 15 g round balls.

5. Unwrap the dough and shape it into a long roll, then cut it into small pieces (each should be about 15 g). *Cover the dough pieces while working or they'll become dry.

6. Take a piece of the dough, and press it into a round shape. Place one red bean ball in the center, then gather the dough to wrap the filling. Seal and shape the ball with both hands until it's smooth. Repeat until you've used up the rest of the dough. *If you feel the dough is getting too dry, no worry, just work it with a little bit water.

*You can freeze the uncooked tang yuan. The best way to do it is to freeze them on a plate that's lined with plastic wrap for 30 minutes or until a little firm (be leave spaces between them or they'll stick), then transfer them to a sealed bag. It can be kept in the freezer for 3 months.

To cook and Assemble the Tang Yuan:

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. In a separate pot, reheat the black glutinous rice and red bean soup that was already made.

2. When the water comes to a boil, add the amount of tang yuan you'd like. I generally make three for each serving since four is a bad luck number for Chinese.

3. When the tang yuan start to float to the top, start ladling the soup to the individual bowls, then take the tang yuan out and add them to the soup. Serve right away while hot. Enjoy!

*I generally make just the portion I want, since tang yuan are best when freshly cooked. They're not the same when reheated, so I really recommend freezing them and refrigerating your soup.

                                                                                               - Yvonne




紅豆湯圓與紅豆紫米湯 (8-10人份)


紫米   1 杯

紅豆   2/3 杯

昆布   1 片 (約4 cm長) *

薑片   8 片

紅糖   3/4

1. 將洗淨的紅豆與紫米分別放入兩個容器內泡水8小時。

2. 將泡紅豆與紫米的水分別瀝掉並沖洗後。將紅豆與6杯水和昆布放入鍋子裡面煮。

3. 水滾開之後煮1分鐘,加入紫米攪拌ㄧ下後熄火並蓋上鍋蓋悶30分鐘。

4. 30分鐘後加入薑片,將紅豆與紫米煮滾,然後以小火煮至熟軟。煮20分鐘後將昆布片取出,並且在煮的其間攪拌一下。*煮好後如果太濃,再加ㄧ點水調至自己喜歡的濃度。

5. 煮完後將薑片取出,然後加入糖拌勻。*喜歡吃甜的朋友們可以再加更多的糖調至自已喜歡的甜度。



糯米粉 180 g

水      140 g


1. 將ㄧ鍋水煮滾,在煮水的同時,將糯米粉與水用手攪拌成團。*加水的時候不要ㄧ次全部倒入糯米粉內,慢慢倒入至水份夠了,就不需要再加剩下的。 

2. 將糯米團取出ㄧ小部分(約40g),用手壓成圓型扁狀後放入燒開的水煮幾分至熟,然後取出瀝乾並加入其餘的糯米團。 

3. 將兩種糯米團ㄧ起揉至光滑不沾手,若有需要可撒上ㄧ點糯米粉,揉好後以保鮮膜包好放置ㄧ旁。 

4. 將做好的紅豆餡從冰箱取出,並揉成15g大小的圓狀。 

5. 將揉好的糯米團揉成長條,切成15g大小的塊狀,並將它們以保鮮膜包好以免乾掉。 

6. 取ㄧ塊用手壓扁呈圓狀,但不要壓太薄,將之前揉好的紅豆餡放在中心後將它包起來,然後以手搓成表面光滑的圓狀。重覆這個部驟至全部的糯米團都用完為止。*若覺得糯米團太乾,可抹ㄧ點水。

*湯圓可以事先做好放冷凍保存, 最好的方式是先將搓好的湯圓放在放有ㄧ層保鮮膜的盤上,但不要讓湯圓黏在ㄧ起。放進冷凍庫冰30分鐘左右後至有點硬,再將它們全部放入ㄧ個乾淨的袋子或容器內放回冷凍庫保存。保存時間約三個月。


1. 將ㄧ鍋水煮滾,在另ㄧ個鍋子內倒入煮好的紅豆紫米湯加熱。

2. 當水煮開後,放入湯圓煮至滾並浮至水面。這時可以開始將熱好的紅豆紫米湯倒入個人的碗中,將湯圓撈出放入紅豆紫米湯中,趁熱馬上食用!


                                                                                               - Yvonne

© recipe and photos by My Chouchoux

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