Savoury Tang Yuan, Chicken and Mushroom Filling
Tangyuan or rice dumpling is a Chinese food made with glutinous rice flour as the wrap and usually with sweet fillings. Some Chinese would have them on Winter Solstice, or in Chinese wedding banqutte. My family don’t have them on Winter Solstice, but on the 7th day of Chinese New Year which is called the Day of Human. But most Chinese would definitely have them on the 15th day of Chinese New Year, which is named the Lantern Festival, also considered the Chinese Valentine’s Day. It will be on February the 8th this year. The character “yuan” means reunion. Thus Chinese tend to have tangyuan in most of family gathering occasions.
Usually tangyuan is stuffed with sweet fillings, such as mashed peanut, sesame paste or red bean paste. However there are savoury versions, ground pork is the most commonly seen one. It’s particularly popular in east China regions. I would like to share with you my savoury tangyuan recipe.
More choices of my tangyuan recipes –
Sweet tangyuan – Marled Tangyuan with black sesame filling, Black sesame sweet soup with small tangyuan, Taro and mini tangyuan in Ginger infused syrup
Savoury tangyuan – Hakka savoury tangyuan soup
Tips of wrap making –
Unlike sweet tangyuan, savoury tangyuan is usually big balls with meat filling, which is raw before cooking. So savoury tangyuan takes more time poaching in water and the glutinous rice wrap might turn a little soggy after cooking for too long in water. In case of that, there are some methods you could do –
1. Mix a small portion of all-purpose flour with the glutinous rice flour, about 1 portion with 10 portions of glutinous rice flour;
2. Chicken can be cooked thoroughly faster than pork. So use ingredients that can be cooked faster when you make savoury tangyuan.
Ingredients – for 3 to 5 serving
Tangyuan wrap – for making 10 big tangyuan
- Glutinous rice flour, 220g
- Wheat starch/all-purpose flour, 30g, if you have made my previous jujube date ricecake, you might have some of wheat starch leftover, but if not, just use all-purpose flour.
- Hot water, about 200ml
- Chicken thigh, boned and skinned, 250g. chicken breast is good but I prefer the texture of chicken thigh
- Dry shiitake mushroom, a big one, or 2 in regular shape, soak in water till soft enough to cut;
- Ginger, 10g, ground
- Spring onion, 1 stalk, finely chopped;
- Salt and sugar, half tsp each
- Cornstarch, 1tsp
- Seaweed, half sheet
- Dry mini shrimp, 2tbsp
- Egg, 1
- Spring onion, 1
- Salt and sugar
(there are a lot choices of soup base, such as Chinese cabbage and mushroom, chicken stock, or even water would just do)
How to do –
1. Chicken finely chopped or ground with a food processer, but if you have a Chinese chopper. That makes the texture different; dried shiitake mushroom soak in clean water till it’s soft enough to cut, you could do it the night before. Stem cut off. Also finely chopped;
2. In a mixing bowl, put in chicken, mushroom, ginger, spring onion, 1tsp of cornstarch, 1/2tsp of salt and sugar, mix and stir in one direction till all ingredients blended well, if the mixture is too dry to move around, add a little water or oil; then roll to meatball. Savoury tangyuan is usually big so I would have 1tbsp of the mixture for one filling. Keep them in freezer and let them set. This makes the wrapping more easily;
3. Now you could prepare the soup base. Seaweed, dry mini shrimp, egg sheet, Chinese cabbage, white radish, etc. Or just clear chicken soup, or simply water;
4. Prepare the glutinous rice dough. In a big mixing bowl, put in 220g of glutinous rice flour and 30g of wheat starch (or all-purpose flour), a nip of salt and sugar, mix well; 200ml of hot water, not need to be boiling water but not warm water, slowly pour hot water on the flour and mix with a pair of chopsticks or mixing spoon till lumpy; knead to a dough, the dough should be moist but not stick to your hand, you may need to adjust, a little more flour if it’s too moist or more water if too dry; covered the dough with wet cloth or cling film till the fillings are firm in freezer;
5. Divide the dough into 10 small doughs, roll to balls, press and flat with your thumbs, then wrap the filling in;
6. Bring a big pot of water to boil, carefully put in the tangyuan, then cook in high heat till they float on the water top; add a cup of cold water in and bring to boil again; do it once more, a cup of cold water in and bring to boil. Cook the tangyuan thoroughly in this way;
7. This tangyuan is huge so for one serving, serve 2 or 3 with a bowl of soup. My family usually have them for breakfast. Make the tangyuan the day before, no need to cook, dust a thin layer of flour in case they stick together, then keep in freezer. In the other morning, you bring a big pot of water to boil, no need to defrost the tangyuan, put them straight away from freezer on the boiling water.
(Note – Never defrost frozen tangyuan or dumpling before cooking, just poach them in boiling water; Make sure you add extra cold water in and bring to boil when poaching big tangyuan and dumpling, no matter frozen or not.)