Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dec 22 ~ Happy Dongzhi - Tongyuen (Winter Solstice) to my kids, family, & chinese friends all around the world •*¨*•.¸¸♥¸¸.

Happy Dongzhi - Tong Yuen (Winter Solstice) •*¨*•.¸¸♥¸¸.•*¨*•*¨*•.¸¸♥

December 22 is a big occasion for many Chinese homes. Today is our Chinese people most important day. It is celebrated with the making of tongyuen (cantonese), tangyuen (Mandarin) or kueh ee (Hokkien dialect - my dialect). In the olden days, the grandmothers are very strict with the making of tongyuen.

The white tongyuen has to be bigger and the pink ones smaller and dont ask me why so hehehe .. Grandma or Mom would supervise us/the children closely to see that the balls are standard sizes and very, very round hehehe .. It was a lot of fun time making it together with my sisters that i remembered ..

I remembered my Mom once told me that if you ate this tongyuen mean you are one (1) year older. And she did tell me that as we age the tongyuen multiply and we will need to eat the number of tongyuen according to our age (eg. 7 years old eats 7 tongyuen). She compelled that we need to be home no matter what or how busy we are at work or personal and just for this day, all are instructed to be home on time and it is 'a must' family gathering and we girls will do our part to make the 'tong yuen' (as in picture shown) together and yes the colour is pink and white then but now you see so many colourful tongyuen in the market ..

Winter solstice is not exactly a religious festival related to Taoism or Buddhism. However, my mother would offer bowls and bowls of the tongyuen to the altar of our ancestors and gods. The cutest thing is mom would serve it with black coffee too (again dont ask me why hehee) ..

And this year, today, I got to celebrate with my buddy Winnie and family (yes many years i did not celebrate tongyuen since my parents passed away). I am truly blessed and it is indeed very wonderful dinner and gathering @ SS2 and the dishes are deliciously served with yummilicious roasted pork hehehe .. Oops sorry, we are so happy chatting and eating and forgotten to take some photos hehehe and later we both adjourned to Mid-Valley Mall

♥ Happy Dong Zhi and Cheers to All ♥

PS: How to make Tongyuen ~ Recipe below:

Ingredients – 300 grams glutinous rice flour mix with 2 tablespoon of sugar
1/2 cup of boiling water
1 cup of room temperature water


1) Buy a packet of glutinous rice flour. It is call 'tepung pulut' in bahasa Melayu. Make sure you get the right one as there are two types of rice flour.

2) Use about 300 grams (a packet is normally 500 grams but that will yield too much tangyuen) of flour.

3) Take 1/3 of the flour and put in a big bowl. Boil some hot water till boiling hot. Slowly pour some of the water to the flour to ‘cook’ it. You dont want a messy ball of dough so add just enough.

4) Using a wooden spoon, mix the dough till smooth. Slowly add the 2/3 of the flour and keep adding some water till you get a dough that doesn’t stick to your hands. Remember that there is no firm and fast rule on the quantity of flour versus water. Just add flour or water to get the right consistency.

Optional Fillings:

In Penang, our tangyuen is plain rice balls as most of us follow the traditional Hokkien/Nyonya style. However, some folks will use the dough and add some ground peanuts with sugar or red bean paste as fillings.

Boiling the Rice Balls:

Boil a large pot of water, drop in the balls. Once they float, they are cooked. Prepare a big bowl of room temperature water that has been boiled. Scoop the tangyuen from the pot and put them in the bowl of water. You must use boiled water to avoid contamination.

For the Syrup:

You can use any kind of syrup. Traditionally, we use only screwpine leaves (pandan) and rock sugar, making a clear, sweet soup. The coloured balls look beautiful in this clear, sugar syrup. Add enough water to get the sweetness you like.For taste, we also use brown sugar with a piece of bruised ginger and pandan leaves. Add enough water to get a sweet syrup.

The Secret to Getting Soft Rice Balls:

One of my brother in law is a chinese chef and learned from a Hong Kong chef-master and he shared this: Normally, if you store the rice balls in the fridge, it will become hardened. But if you use the 1/3 flour with boiling water as mentioned above, the rice balls remain soft. This way, you can store the rice balls soaking in syrup in the fridge overnight.

♥ Happy Making Tongyuen ♥

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