May 18, 2022

Peanut Tang Yuan Dumplings 花生湯圓

Peanut,chinese,tang yuan,tong yuan,from scratch,recipe,Dumplings,rice,花生湯圓,

Time for more of those sexy tang yuan dumplings!  These lovely little sweet morsels of lusciously soft and tender rice dough hide hearts of ooey gooey delicious fillings like sesame, red bean paste or peanut.  We're making the nuttily delicious Peanut Tang Yuan dumplings 花生湯圓 today, a general favorite among tang yuan fans.  

While we noted that most recipes for peanut tang yuan used store bought peanut butter we decided to make it the traditional way, from scratch!  Our made from scratch Peanut Tang Yuan Dumplings 花生湯圓 are not only easy to make but also super yummilicous, with a tender yet chewy skin concealing a luscious heart of gooey aromatic roasted peanut filling highlighted with hints of caramel and vanilla.  

Peanut,chinese,tang yuan,tong yuan,from scratch,recipe,Dumplings,rice,花生湯圓,

One starts at the beginning, with that most humble yet gorgeously unctuous of nuts, the peanut.  We're lucky here in HK in that the Chinese love their peanuts and thus there are an amazing choice of roasted peanut snacks on offer.  (Next time might try this using the peanuts fried with sichuan peppercorn... doesn't that just sound delish?!)  We used some really nice roasted peanuts here.  In order to extra boost the flavor we gave them an extra roast by tossing the peanuts on to our good 'ol cast iron pan over a low heat, stirring occasionally until the peanuts got some toasty spots and the kitchen was filled with peanut-y aroma.

Peanut,chinese,tang yuan,tong yuan,from scratch,recipe,Dumplings,rice,花生湯圓,

This next part is actually the exact same process as making homemade peanut butter.  It turns out that homemade peanut butter is actually super easy to make!  (Guess what I'm gonna try making after this ;)  Whiz your roasted peanuts in a food processor or even the chop attachment of a hand blender like we used.  It's gonna take a couple of minutes, and you'll see the peanut go from chunky to dry mashed to wet oily mashed, etc.  You can take it to whatever stage you like but I recommend not to go too soft,  a bit of texture is good.

Peanut,chinese,tang yuan,tong yuan,from scratch,recipe,Dumplings,rice,花生湯圓,

To take these peanut tang yuan to the next peanut-y plateau we added dark brown sugar to sweeten and add a hint of intense caramel flavor and condensed milk for a jolt of milky smoothness with a hint of vanilla.  Add a bit of really good salt (like maldon salt...yummy) to bring out all the flavors.  Lastly add just enough oil that everything comes together in thick gloop.  We used peanut oil here but lard is traditionally used for a gloss of extra richness.

The next step is vital: stick the filling in the freezer.  Chill 10 mins or so until the peanut-y gloop is firm enough to handle.  Scoop out and roll into balls.  Once you've got the filling all rolled into balls it goes back to the freezer to firm up even more as you make the dough.  Once properly hardened the filling will be a breeze to wrap up in the soft dough.  

Peanut,chinese,tang yuan,tong yuan,from scratch,recipe,Dumplings,rice,花生湯圓,

Next on to the tang yuan dough!  First things first, be sure that you use 'glutinous rice flour' and not 'rice flour'.  These are two different things and they cannot substitute for each other.  Glutinous rice flour is why tang yuans are chewy.

Now to get the most tender and chewy dough (and the most tender and chewy tang yuan) there's a bit of a trick to the making of the dough.  Part of the dough is cooked and then added to the rest of the dough.  Kinda of like making a roux for bread.  The cooking gelantizes the starch in the flour allowing the dough to absorb more liquid overall, thus making your tang yuan more tender and more chewy.  

Some folks boil a part of the dough and then add it back into the rest of the dough.  I took a lazy way around and just used boiling water first to stir into the flour, then add in room temp water bit by bit until the dough was just come together, soft and tender.  Perfect...

Weigh out the dough and roll into little balls.  Cover the dough with a towel to keep moist (important!).  Press one dough ball into a cup like shape as the photo above.

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Add one frozen peanut packed filling into the cup shaped dough.

Peanut,chinese,tang yuan,tong yuan,from scratch,recipe,Dumplings,rice,花生湯圓,
Peanut,chinese,tang yuan,tong yuan,from scratch,recipe,Dumplings,rice,花生湯圓,

Close the dough around the filling and gently roll between your hands to shape into a ball.  With the frozen filling it's actually pretty easy.  

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Tang yuans look so cute when they're done, don't cha think?  Be sure to cover the tang yuans with a cloth to keep them moist.

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Once all your tang yuans are wrapped, separate out what you want to cook right away and put the rest into the freezer.  Let em freeze on a tray until hard, then you can transfer and store them all in a zip lock bag.  



To cook your lovely little tang yuans just boil up a pot of water and drop 'em in.  I like to give a little swirl with my wooden spoon as they go in cuz sometimes they like to stick to the bottom of the pot.  They're ready to fish out once they float to the surface of the water.  Cooking from frozen tang yuan is the same method just add a minute more of cooking once they've floated to the surface before scooping them out.

Serve these unctuous balls of deliciousness in a bit of cooking hot water, or even better, with a simple sweet and spicy ginger soup.  It's a perfect little spot of warm gooey nutty sweetness.  Make some for yourself and your loved ones!

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Peanut Tong Yuan Recipe 花生湯圓
(makes approx 28 nos)  Prep time: 20 mins   Cook time: 5 mins

Filling
3/4 cup roasted peanuts
4 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tbsp condensed milk
1/2 tsp salt
2-3 tbsp peanut oil

Dough 
1 1/2 cup glutinous rice flour 150g
1 tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 cup room temp water


Roast your peanuts in a pan (cast iron works best) over low heat until aromatic and golden brown in spots.  Remove and let cool.  Add to a food processor and blitz for a couple of minutes until the peanuts release their oil and becomes smooth but still with tiny bits of peanut in it.  Scrape into a mixing bowl and add in dark brown sugar and the condensed milk and mix together.  Add in oil, 1 tbsp at a time, until the oil is throughly mixed in and the mixture is thick and gloopy.

Place in freezer for 10 mins to firm up.  Once firm enough to handle, scoop out approx. 1/2 tsp at a time and roll into 28 balls.  Return to freezer to let them firm up even more while making the dough.

To make the dough, mix the rice flour and sugar in a bowl.  Add the boiling water and stir til combined as much as possible.  Add the room temp water, one tbsp at a time, stirring and then kneading as soon as the dough is cool enough to handle.  Stop adding water when the dough comes together away from the sides of the bowl and is soft and only slightly sticky.  

Separate the dough in two equal halves and roll each half into a log.  Slice each log into 14 equal pieces and roll into balls then cover dough with a moist towel or cling film to keep from drying out.  

To wrap the tang yuan, take one dough ball and form into a cup like shape that will fit the filling.  Add in the frozen filling and close the dough over the filling.  Roll gently between palms into a ball shape.  Place onto a tray and cover with a towel.  Repeat until all the tang yuan are wrapped.

Put aside the number of tang yuan that will be cooked immediately.  Place the tray with the remaining tang yuan in the freezer and freeze until hard.  When hard transfer tang yuan to a ziplock bag and store in the freezer.

To cook the tang yuan, boil 3 inches of water in a pot.  When the water is boiling, turn down heat to medium and add in the tang yuan, remembering not the overcrowd the pot.  Immediately use a spatula to give the water a swirl so that the tang yuans don't stick to the pot bottom.  When the tang yuan have risen up and are floating on top of water they are cooked.  If cooking from frozen drop frozen tang yuan straight into boiling water and let it cook for a minute more after they float to surface.  Turn off heat.  Scoop into individual serving bowls along with a scoop of the cooking water to keep them moist. 

If you want to go a step further, a traditional way to serve tong yuan is with a deliciously edible sweet ginger soup, the perfect sweet and spicy complement to the tender tang yuans.  Recipe below if you'd like to try it.  Enjoy your sexy tang yuans!

Sweet Ginger Soup Recipe 薑糖水
(makes enough for around 6 servings)  Prep time: 1 min  Cook time: 5 mins

Ingredients:

10-15 slices ginger (the more the spicier)
6 tbsp brown sugar or 3/4 slab of chinese slab sugar
3 cups water

Directions:

Boil water in small pot.  Add ginger and sugar and cook at a simmer for 5 minutes.  Soup should taste spicy and sweet.  Adjust by adding ginger or sugar to taste.

Pour into individual serving bowls, add tang yuan and serve hot.  Enjoy!

More Delectable Dumplings at The Hong Kong Cookery:




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