Winter Solstice Festival - Enjoy Tang Yuan With Natural Coloring 汤圆

Natural Coloring Tang Yuan 汤圆

Chinese had long been determining the winter solstice festival, or dong zhi, by observing the movement of the sun. Being a day with shortest day and longest night of the year, this is a day well celebrated, not only by the Chinese but also in other cultures. On this day, the daylight is at its shortest and it will give way to more light and warmth for the days to come. For the Chinese, this is being viewed as a good sign, as day is a symbol of yang, a musculine and positive energy. With the days grows longer, the positive energy is believed to increase.

On this day, it is common for a family to gather together and pay homage for a good year. A bowl of tangyuan - glutinous rice balls, is usually served alongside. Tangyuan symbolise reunion and wholeness, often time colorful and brightly colored. Perhaps, that is how our life should be! My mom always tells me that,' After eat tang yuan, you are now one year older and you should be more well behaved from now on!'. This festive food is always a reminder that the celebrators are now 'one year older', and should be more mature in the year to come.

Natural Coloring Tang Yuan
Makes 1 small bowl of tang yuan


Tang Yuan
  • 60g glutinous rice flour
  • 51g water / juice*
  • 1 cup water
  • 20g sugar
  • 1 pandan leaf
  • 2 slices ginger
Cooking Directions
  1. Mix glutinous rice flour with water / juice.
  2. Knead well and set aside for 1 hour.
  3. Divide the glutinous rice to small portion and roll round like balls.
  4. In a pot, boil 1 cup water. Add ginger, pandan leaf and sugar. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. In another pot, boil enough water and throw in glutinous rice balls.
  6. The glutinous rice ball is cooked when it float on the water.
  7. Serve tang yuan hot with the broth.
* I used plain water for white color balls, pandan juice for green color balls, and berries juice for red color balls.

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  1. Just asked my husband when is dongzhi... Then, I saw your post! :D

    Nice that you made your tang yuen with natural colours :D


    1. I almost missed that too, until my mom called and reminded me to make some tang yuan, haha!

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