As a symbol of family unity and harmony, tang yuan is traditionally served around Winter Solstice, right around the time when families get together for the holidays.
The little round dumplings are made of glutinous rice flour and can be white or colored, sweet or savory. They don’t really taste like much, except for what it’s cooked with. The texture is smooth and a little chewy.
It’s funny to look back at my first post about yuan, when I first started up the blog. Last year, I had cut the daikon and tried my hand at making yuan. This year, I got demoted to just peeling the daikon and cleaning the mushrooms. But I don’t mind as no one can cook like Mom can.
And this year, I finally managed to get down my Mom’s recipe, adjusted to be vegan of course.
Savory Tang Yuan
5 cups vegetable stock or water
3 cloves garlic, smashed
Garlic salt to taste
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium sized daikon, peeled and julienned
In a large pot, add the first four ingredients and bring to a boil, then add the daikon. Bring to a boil again and reduce the heat to low and let it simmer while you prepare the rest of the soup.
To make the yuan
1 16 ounce bag glutinous rice flour
1 1/2 cups water
Pour the bag of rice flour onto a clean smooth surface. Make a well in the center and add the water a little bit at a time to the center, mixing the flour with the water. Save a little bit of the flour to use for dusting.
Knead the dough mixture until soft and smooth and the dough is well-mixed. Flour the work surface and hands. Twirl the dough between the hand into a log shape, break off about an 1/2″ size chunk and roll between the palms to make it into a ball shape.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the yuans, a few at a time, do not overcrowd the pot. Bring to a boil, when the yuans float to the top about 4-5 minutes, take the yuans out.
Finishing the soup
2 cups napa cabbage, julienned
3-4 dried chinese mushrooms, soaked until soft and sliced
3 1/2 ounces veggie meat
1 green onion, chopped
1 sprig cilantro, chopped
To the stock, add the napa cabbage and mushrooms, cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the veggie meat. Add the yuan and bring to boil. Serve, garnish with greens onions and cilantro.