Dongzhi Tang Yuan (Sweet Dumplings)


In China, this is a must-have dish at the Winter Solstice Festival. You can do it yourself at home!

As one of China’s most significant festivals, the Dongzhi or Winter Solstice festival is significant for Chinese people.

This year, it falls on December 22, which is today.

Concerning my aunt, who recently died away, I’ve decided to post about the Dongzhi holiday on Rasa Malaysia and share my family’s tang yuan recipe.

I visited my family in Penang in December of last year. We spent three months there to celebrate Dongzhi (and afterward Chinese New Year) with my family.

I had no idea that the three months I spent with my aunt would be my last.

My aunt, who passed away in October, was the one in charge of all of our family’s festivals and rituals for as long as I can remember.

She was our gatekeeper with her continual reminders and reminders to honor our culture’s key celebrations.

In my childhood, Dongzhi was a celebration that I eagerly anticipated.

Simply because I adore the sweet dumplings served with pandan leaf and ginger syrup known as tang yuan.

Tangyuan is called “nyee” in my native Hokkien dialect, which translates to “circle.”

It was a tradition for me as a child to assist my aunt in kneading the dough into small round balls in the kitchen. This was one of my favorite childhood games when I was a youngster.

One batch of dough would be made by my aunt and divided into pink, yellow, and a third that would be left plain. She would begin with a white dough by adding the red color powder, followed by the yellow color powder.

Next, my cousins and I would work together to cut off dough rounds and shape them into lovely discs.

My aunt was so good at making tang yuan that she could roll several at once, and each one was perfectly round and lovely.

In addition to Tang Yuan, she would enjoy a variety of specially prepared foods on the morning of Dongzhi.

All of the food would be offered to our forefathers in ceremonial bowls and spoons like those depicted above.

When the prayers were through, my whole family would gather around the table to feast on the wonderful Tangyuan and the fantastic selection of cuisine served by her.

She faithfully observed our customs year after year, at various points throughout the year, and did so to preserve our long family history…

Perhaps you’ll like my other sweet dumpling recipes, such as the black sesame and peanut varieties.

Dongzhi Festival is upon us!

What is the average number of calories in one serving?

  • Each serving of this recipe contains only 218 calories.



  • 3 pandan leaves or screwpine leaves, tie into a knot
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 piece peeled ginger, slightly pounded with a cleaver 2-inch


  • 7 oz. (200 ml) water
  • red and yellow food coloring
  • 2 cups glutinous rice, sticky rice flour


  1. To make syrup, bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. On medium heat, add the screwpine leaves and ginger and cook until the aroma of ginger and pandan leaves is detectable. Add the screwpine leaves and ginger. Sugar should be added now and allowed to cook for 15 minutes. To taste, add more or less sugar. Set aside for later.
  2. Glutinous flour and water should be combined in a large bowl and then kneaded by hand to make a dough. You know it’s done when the dough doesn’t stick to your hands anymore.
  3. Make three equal portions of the dough, the largest of which should be the simple dough. Mix in about 2-3 drops of food coloring from each hue family to prepare the pink and yellow dough.
  4. Using your hands, form small, round balls out of the dough by pinching it and rolling it between your palms. Place on a level surface lined with paper or a moist cloth.
  5. Put another saucepan of water to boil, and then add the dumplings. Put them in the syrup water as soon as they float. Prepare the food and serve it right away.


  • Set the flour’s moisture level appropriately. Make sure the dough is not too dry by adding water. It may be necessary to add more flour if the batter is too wet.

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