Want a deliciously, warm and sweet treat for the cold weather? These Chinese dumplings or Tang Yuan are perfect for a cold day. The ginger sugar syrup has a lovely subtle ginger flavour, not too overpowering and the oozy black sesame is always a winner in my book. These dumplings can be made with fillings or without, and that’s really the fun of it all. Well, apart from eating it!
Black Sesame Dumplings (Tang Yuan) (Adapted from Rasa Malaysia)
Serves: 4-6 people
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Black Sesame Dough
230g glutinous rice flour
1-2tsp black sesame powder (optional)
200g glutinous rice flour
1/2 tbsp sugar
Black Sesame Filling
60g black sesame seeds
45g caster sugar
45g unsalted butter
1200ml water (reduced to 4 cups after boiling)
180g rock sugar
4 slices ginger
2 pandan leaves (tied in a knot)
Black Sesame Filling
1. Lightly toast the black sesame seeds over medium heat until it’s aromatic. Take off the heat and let it cool.
2. Use a mini food processor to grind the black sesame seeds until it becomes a fine powder.
3. Place the cooled ground black sesame into a saucepan and heat over low-medium heat, and add sugar and butter and stir well to form a thick paste. If it’s too dry, add more butter. Place the paste into a bowl and let cool in the fridge so it’s easier to fill the dumplings later on.
Black Sesame Dough
4. In a big bowl, mix the glutinous rice flour with water (adding the optional black sesame powder too) until it forms a smooth paste and no longer sticks to your hands. Divide it equally into 16-20 balls (the bigger the balls, the easier it is to fill) Note: The coloured dumplings follow similar steps, just add the sugar when adding the water.
5. Flatten each ball in your palm, and then spoon in the black sesame paste and lay it in the middle of the flatten ball. Fold the edge to seal the dumpling. Lightly roll it into a ball shape using both palms, very gently and delicately. Set aside.
6. Boil the water on medium-high heat.
7. Add the ginger, pandan leaves and rock sugar into the water and boil for 10-15 minutes with medium heat. Lower heat to simmer and reduce to about 4 cups of water. Add more sugar if it’s not sweet enough.
8. Heat up another pot of boiling water. Drop the dumplings into the hot boiling water. As soon as they float to the top, transfer them out and into a bowl of the ginger syrup. Turn off heat and serve the black sesame dumplings immediately.
On Masterchef, I watched Poh make this Pandan crepe lattice but she made it into a savoury dish that looked amazing. Inspired by this, I thought about combining my love of the steamed glutinous rice in Seri Muka and the Pandan and Coconut flavours of Kuih Dadar. It turned out quite well actually. The slight saltiness of the coconut glutinous rice with the sticky sweet coconut filling creates a nice texture and bite to it. The unsweetened thin crepe provides that lovely pandan aroma. I’d love to hear your thoughts in this combination!
Pandan Crepes with Coconut & Sticky Rice (Kuih Dadar)
Makes: 25 small crepes
Cooking Time: 50 minutes
Passive Time: 60 minutes
Coconut Glutinous Rice (Rasa Malaysia)
200g glutinous rice
140ml coconut milk
1/2 tsp salt
Coconut Filling (Poh’s recipe)
180g shredded coconut (fresh or desiccated)
100g gula melaka/palm sugar
125ml coconut cream
1/4 tsp salt
240g plain flour
1/8 tsp salt
600ml coconut milk
1/2 tsp pandan paste
Coconut Glutinous Rice
1. Soak the glutinous rice for at least 30 minutes in a bowl of water.
2. Combine the glutinous rice, coconut milk and salt until well mixed.
3. Steam on high heat for around 30 minutes or until cooked through and the rice still has a bit of bite to it.
4. Once it’s finished, remove from the heat and take a spoon to flatten the glutinous rice slightly. Allow to cool.
1. Combine coconut cream, palm sugar and salt in a small saucepan and cook on medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.
2. Add fresh or desiccated coconut and cook until the mixture is moist and sticky but not runny. Remove from heat and spread out on a plate to cool before using.
1. Sift the flour into a medium sized bowl.
2. Add half the coconut milk, all the eggs and the pandan paste, then whisk until smooth. Add the remaining milk and mix until combined.
3. On medium heat, place a large spoonful of the batter into a pan and spread around so that it forms a thin crepe.
4. Flip the crepe when it starts to bubble and brown slightly. Once the other side is also slightly toasted, take of the heat and set aside.
1. Cut the sticky rice into little soldiers.
2. Take one crepe and place the glutinous rice in the middle (or the side if you want to roll them).
3. Place a few spoons full of the coconut filling on top of the sticky rice.
4. Fold in the sides, and then fold in the third edge and then the last one.
Pineapple Tarts are one of my favourite Chinese New Year treats. That’s not to say you can’t have it any other time of year but these bite sized pieces are even more joyous in times of celebration. I’ve always loved the sweet and slightly sour pineapple filling with the buttery dough that melts in your mouth. Also these tarts come it various sizes or shapes that always makes it more appealing.
Probably every year we try those home made Pineapple Tarts sold in your typical local Asian Grocer and it’s always a tad too sweet and the tart isn’t as soft as I would have liked. So I have wanted to try to make my own tarts for ages but the thought of making the filling just seemed like too much effort.
However, It just so happened we ended up having large, old pineapples sitting around so what else could we use it for but pineapple jam? My mother was the one wh actually made the jam, just from adding pineapples into a pot and letting it dry up and adding sugar so I don’t know the exact quantities she used, I think just tasting as she went along and added sugar when needed. However, I’ve provided a recipe from one of my favourite Asian/Malaysian Food websites, Rasa Malaysia for the filling and pastry. We did use the pastry recipe from there and I think it worked out quite well, you can read my impressions further down.
4 large pineapples
300 g sugar
1 inch cinnamon stick
1/2 star anise
250 g liquid glucose
2 Tbsp wheat flour or wheat starch (Tung Mein Fun)
1. Slice and grate pineapples till fine. You can use a food processor do grate it.
2. Strain the grated pineapple till dry.
3. Let it simmer in a wok toll the juice has dry up. Add sugar and, star anise, cinnamon stick and clove.
4. Stir till the pineapple has thickened and dry. Add maltose or liquid glucose.
5. Stir till the pineapple filling is thick, sticky and dry.
6. Add wheat flour. Continue to stir for about 10 minutes or until filling is dry.
7. Leave to cool and shape into small balls.
Note : You can make the filling in advance and refrigerate it.
500 g butter
140 g powdered sugar
4 egg yolks
650 g all purpose flour
1 Tbsp cornflour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 egg yolk plus 1Tbsp water
- Preheat oven at 150° C.
- Cream butter and sugar till white.
- Add in egg yolks and beat at low speed for 1 minute.
- Fold in flour gradually.
- Insert pastry into cookie press and press into strip of about 3 inch each. (Or just take a small spoonful of the pastry, flatten it and take another spoonful of the jam and use your hands to shape it into a ball)
- Put the rolled pineapple filling onto the pastry and roll it up.
- Brush with egg brush.
- Bake for 30 minutes or when tarts is light golden brown in color.
You can shape these tarts any way you want, and as mentioned in the Rasa Malaysia recipe, they roll it up like a sausage roll of sorts. We stuck to the ball method and just used a fork or a toothpick to engrave the lines on to make it look more like a pineapple.
You can also use a mold designed for these tarts and they come in various shapes like a flower or hearts. I’ve purchase one from Brown Cookie but for since this particular dough is quite soft it gets quite difficult to remove from the mold.
The pastry recipe is surprisingly very good as just how I like it! It’s soft and simply melts in your mouth as you take a bite. I’ve actually made this a number of times since my mother had made an enormous quantity of pineapple jam.
It really does depend on how you like your pineapple tarts, some like the shortbread style tarts that are slightly harder and crisper but I’m a big fan of these softer tarts. If you’re like me and prefer these ones, this is a great recipe to try.