Black Sesame TangYuan for Winter Solstice Day 冬至食湯圓

L1040613The Chinese say “Winter Solstice Day is bigger than the New Year”, all over the country it’s a time for families to get together for dinner. In some southern places the dessert TangYuan (glutinous rice balls) is a must have, representing “together” and the combination of Yin and Yang. As a child store bought frozen TangYuans were enough to excite me, this is my first time making them from scratch and I’m surprised how easy they are. The traditional Black Sesame TangYuans are made with lard, and dough is only flour and water. I’ve adapted it to add a bit of western touch through adding milk and vanilla extract.

Black Sesame TangYuan (glutinous Rice Balls) (serves 2)



  • ½cup Black Sesame or Black Sesame powder
  • 1½tbsp Butter
  • 2tbsp Black Sugar (or more if you like it sweet)


  • 150g Glutinous Rice Flour
  • ½cup Milk
  • 1tsp Vanilla Extract


  • 2cup Water
  • 3tbsp Black Sugar (or more if you like it sweet)
  • 3or4 slices Ginger


  1. Mix filling ingredients over low heat until a thick paste forms, let cool to manageable texture then either shape into little balls or just separate into little chunks with a teaspoon. (If using Black Sesame it needs to be grind into powder first: gently heat sesame in a dry pan until fragrant then put through food processor.)
  2. Mix dough ingredients in a bowl until dough forms, not sticky to the touch, separate and roll into tablespoon sized balls (sprinkle extra flour on hands and surface to prevent sticking).
  3. Take one dough ball in floured hand, squash flat and make a dent in the middle, drop a filling ball (chunk) on top and wrap with dough. Shape and roll back into ball shape. Srpinkle more flour to prevent sticking. TangYuans are done.
  4. Drop TangYuans into boiling water and cook until a couple of minutes after they float, stirring to prevent sticking. Discard water.
  5. At the same time in another pot bring syrup ingredients to a boil and simmer for 5-10mins, ladle into serving bowls and serve with the TangYuans.


This dessert freezes very well, just put in freezer at the end of Step3 and at any time you feel like it Step 4&5 can be done in 10mins.

Black sesame powder, black sugar and butter 黑芝麻粉,黑糖,牛油
Filling and dough 餡料與麵團
Making Tangyuan 揉湯圓
Finished Tangyuan before cooking 下鍋前的湯圓





  • ½杯 黑芝麻或黑芝麻粉
  • 1½湯匙 牛油
  • 2湯匙 黑糖(喜歡甜的可以增加)


  • 150g 糯米粉
  • ½杯 牛奶
  • 1茶匙 雲呢拿精華


  • 2杯 水
  • 3湯匙 黑糖(喜歡甜的可以增加)
  • 3或4片 薑


  1. 在鍋裡混合加熱餡料食材至膏狀,冷卻至可搓揉的質感後搓成小球或用茶匙分成小塊狀。(如果用黑芝麻的話要先磨成粉:在幹鍋裡小火加熱至香味飄出轉入食物加工機打碎)
  2. 在碗裡混合麵團食材至不粘手的麵團形成,分成湯匙大小並揉成球。(撒糯米粉防止黏手)
  3. 在手上撒上糯米粉防止粘連,拿起麵團球壓扁並中間壓出小坑,放上餡料球包起來,揉成球狀。湯圓完成。
  4. 水滾後放入湯圓煮至浮起後兩分鐘,攪拌防止粘連。撈出湯圓。
  5. 同時在分開的小鍋裡煮糖水,水滾後小火5-10分鐘即可與湯圓一起裝盤。



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