Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dongzhi Festival & Tong Yuen (Glutinous Rice Ball)

Dongzhi Festival, also known as the Winter Solstice Festival is one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Chinese and East Asians. Traditionally, this is the time for the family to get together and make tong yuen or tangyuen (glutinous rice balls). For the Chinese, tong yuen symbolises reunion.

As a child, I enjoyed making tong yuen with my brother. It was like playing with Play-Doh, so sometimes we would make funny shapes out of the dough. Nowadays, we no longer make our own tong yuen but instead we would buy frozen ready-made ones from the supermarket for convenience sake. A few years down the line when Baby C is a little older, I would definitely make tong yuen together with her as I personally feel that the process of making tong yuen will encourage family bonding. I have a feeling that she would love it, just like I did when I was younger.

The brand of tong yuen we usually buy is KG Pastry, which happens to be Halal. Some come with peanut, red bean or black sesame paste filling. We bought 2 types of tong yuen this year, one with peanut filling and one plain. My personal favourite is the tong yuen with peanut filling. KG Pastry also do a giant sized one, but I feel the proportion of filling to dough is not balanced. Baby C liked the plain ones as they are colourful.

KG Pastry mini glutinous rice ball with peanut filling

KG Pastry Mini Rainbow Rice Ball (plain)

We made a sweet soup with pandan leaves, and gula melaka (palm sugar). You can also add some old ginger slices for a more fiery and spicy soup. When the soup comes to a boil, pop the tong yuen in and once they float to the top, they're ready for consumption. Baby C certainly enjoyed helping us pop the tong yuen into the pot.

Pop in the pot, not in the mouth

So easy, so yummy...

If you would like to try your hand in making your own tong yuen, you can try the recipe from this site.


  1. Happy Winter Solstice!!! =)

  2. so far havent ate those packet ones before. Normally home made one. son just made funny shaped Tong Yuen too. shocked me

  3. Melissa: Happy Winter Solstice to you too :)

    SmallKucing: Yeah I saw the "unique" tong yuen your son made on yr blog.. it made me laugh!

  4. I love tong yuen with black sesame filling although I had tong yuen with pretty strange fillings before, such as chocolate.

  5. I love tong yun with black sesame filling but it's difficult to DIY at home :(

  6. Totally agree with you. Making tong yuen together can definitely encourage bonding between family :) I remember helping my mum when I was a kid too.


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