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Homemade Tang Yuan

Uncooked Tang Yuan (Glutinous Rice Balls)

Uncooked tang yuan in various colours

Tang Yuan (Glutinous Rice Balls) Recipe

Tang Yuan are popularly eaten during "yuan xiao" (last day of CNY), "dong zhi" (winter solistic) and auspicious family celebrations.
Tip when kneading the dough: If the dough is too dry, add a bit more water. If the dough is too wet, add a bit more flour. If the dough feels dry when shaping the balls, dip your fingers in water before continuing.

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 25 mins

Cook Time: 10 mins


  • 1 cup glutinous rice flour
  • 1/2 cup water for making dough
  • 1/2 tbsp caster or super fine sugar
  • food colourings

(A) Sweet Soup (糖水)

  • 80 grams ginger bruised
  • 1 litre water
  • 80 grams gula melaka (or rock sugar/brown sugar) to taste
  • 2 pandan (screw pine) leaves tied in a knot


  1. In a large mixing bowl, add flour and sugar. Gradually add water (you don't have to use all of it) and knead the dough until soft, smooth, easily kneadable yet not sticky to the fingers (too wet), nor crumbling (too dry).
  2. Divide the dough depending on the number of different colours you intend to make. Add food colouring, one drop at a time, to each portion and knead until the colour is well distributed. Shape the dough to even-sized balls.
  3. Bring a pot of water (enough water to submerge the dumplings completely) to boil. Add the tang yuan into the boiling water and cook until they float to the surface. Transfer them immediately to a bowl of room temperature water until cooled or ready to serve.
  4. To cook the sweet soup, add (A) to a pot. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer until the sugar is fully melted.
  5. To serve, add tang yuen to a serving bowl and ladle the sweet soup over.

Leave a Comment

14 Responses to “Homemade Tang Yuan”

  1. Baking Scientist — February 24, 2013 @ 10:08 pm

    This brings back fond memories of my childhood, when my ah gong (grandfather) used to allow us (me and my sisters) to help him make the tang yuan.. Happy yuan xiao jie!


  2. Little Corner of Mine — February 24, 2013 @ 10:36 pm

    Love the multi-colors, very pretty!


  3. Ker-Yng — February 25, 2013 @ 9:04 am

    I made this, it’s good! Thanks for your step-by-step instructions. :) I made some with Gula Melaka filling too.


    • wiffy replied: — February 25th, 2013 @ 12:48 pm

      glad to hear that it was a success :)


  4. B — March 4, 2013 @ 9:12 pm

    Fun to make and eat together as a family! :)


  5. Margot @ Coffee & Vanilla — April 11, 2013 @ 9:29 pm

    After seeing this my daughter bothers me to make bubble tea from scratch ;)


  6. Adeline — July 13, 2013 @ 10:55 pm

    Hi wiffy, what does it mean by bruised ginger ?


    • wiffy replied: — July 19th, 2013 @ 11:05 am

      it means the ginger is “crushed” by the flat blade of the knife (but be careful!) to release its flavour. You can also use sliced ginger if you are not familiar with doing so :)


  7. Tiffany Goh — September 27, 2013 @ 10:49 am

    I am researching CNY Reunion Dinner now. Is it too early? hahaha.. btw, came across this post and you might be interested.


  8. Tiffany Goh — September 27, 2013 @ 11:13 am

    Dear Wiffy

    I do have a question. Is Sweet Rice Flour to Ang Moh equivalent to Glutinous Rice Flour to us?


    • wiffy replied: — October 1st, 2013 @ 5:26 pm

      it should be the same thing (I think).


  9. Magie — October 21, 2013 @ 9:10 pm

    I just cooked this and it tasted marvelous. One thing I encountered is the tong yuen is not round enough after cooking. Don’t think it’s the rounding method. Any advise?



    • wiffy replied: — October 24th, 2013 @ 2:39 pm

      I’m not very sure why is that so. Did u see the photo of the dumplings before cooked? It should be shaped to that.


  10. Nigel Ang — March 28, 2014 @ 10:11 pm

    I love this recipe.I tried cooking it and it tastes so good.